1 I will praise you, Lord, with all my heart; I will tell of all the marvelous things you have done. 2 I will be filled with joy because of you. I will sing praises to your name, O Most High.
During breakfast the first morning of our vacation, Doug and I smiled in amazement as we watched a spunky, tiny little woman sing and dance through the restaurant. She greeted guests as if they were long lost friends- and some she gave great big bear hugs to after pouring them their first cup of hot coffee. A few days into our trip we realized that she was the “Mama” of the staff and her job was to make all the guests of the resort and spa feel like they were right at home.
While flipping through one of the many magazines in our room, I stumbled upon an article about Jean Kelly that put all the missing pieces of this exuberant woman together….except one.
Jean and her husband have worked on Peter Island for more than 25 years. Every morning they catch the 5:30 am ferry boat from Tortolla to begin their duties for the day. Jean’s husband serves in landscaping and Jean has become the spokeswoman/figurehead/mascot of Tradewind’s Restaurant and their famous french toast. Management has even made t-shirts in her honor!
After days of watching Mama Jean serve dish after dish of the fabulous looking entrée, & having read raving reviews about the breakfast item online before our trip- Doug decided he’d skip the buffet and order the coconut encrusted french toast. Just like every other morning, Mama Jean came dancing out of the kitchen with the dish- but this time she sat the golden brown fried bread in front of my husband. She then spent the next few minutes getting to know this happy couple from a distant land….
A few days later, we were chatting with her again when she rather casually mentioned Jesus Christ. We winked at one another and then smiled back at her- realizing that we had discovered the missing piece of the puzzle; the joy of the Lord. Later that day, while eating lunch at Deadman’s Grill, Mama Jean came floating through the restaurant and stopped to give us a quick hug. Doug reminded her of our conversation earlier in the day and said “hey- Mrs. Jean…I just wanted you to know that I really appreciate your boldness in saying the name of Jesus Christ….we’re believers too!” Mama Jean squealed with excitement, did a little jig right there in the middle of everyone and proclaimed “I love you even more now—you are my brutha and sista! (in her Brittish/Jamaiccan/Caribbean accent)” More hugs were exchanged and then we all began sharing about the goodness of God.
Jeans joy was a direct reflection of a heart filled with love for her Creator- and His created. Each day, her soul overflowed with gratefulness towards her Master who chose to wake her up and allow her to sing, dance and serve His children from all over the world on a tiny piece of land in the middle of the British Virgin Islands. Mama Jean wasn’t just serving delicious french toast, she was dishing out plates and plates of life!