About a year ago, looking outside his airplane window as they climbed altitude, Dave Laney gazed over the turquoise ocean and the emerald green island of Jamaica, and declared he would never go back. It was too painful. The people and the island were beautiful, but what happened at their first global work assignment and how it ended was disappointing and traumatic. He never wanted to experience that again. And now, he had no idea what he was going to do or where he and his wife, Robin, would go from here.

Looking back on that day, both Dave and Robin acknowledged that even though it was painful and difficult, it was purposeful and a part of God’s bigger plan. It had to happen. Their relationship with the children’s home they grew to love and the people there they called family, played a part in a much bigger plan. The next six months God came alongside them, like He always does, and began to heal, restore, and grow in them gifts and strengths and knowledge that they didn’t even know they needed.

“God was working on us,” Dave shared. “In those months after leaving Jamaica, we were going through counseling for how the mission project ended, for our marriage, for how things make us tick. I began to ask, “Why am I so defensive about things, at 60 years old, that dated back to my childhood?” We learned a lot about ourselves in that window of time and we are still benefitting from counseling. We were not prepared for anything to come or to serve anywhere. We prayed to see what God had next and we were not at all in any mind or head space. We were hurting.”

Over the six months God healed the Laneys. He provided closure with the loss of a passion that was on their hearts for five years.

“Those children and staff at the City of Refuge Children’s Home meant the world to us,” Robin described, “We had to process that but also process the failure we felt, the question of “did we miss-read what God was leading us to, or did we step out of God’s will?” We had to get straight with the past. We believe God took us there, on that path over fifteen years, and those relationships because He had something else in mind. We could not have accepted that if we were still in the place of sadness and bitterness and despair. It was a great six months. At the end, we were saying ‘what’s next?’ And that’s when God intervened and showed us.”

Last August, Dave heard a story from a staff member at Citylight about a different children’s home in Jamaica. He didn’t have the name of the home so he googled ‘children’s homes near Montego Bay’ on his phone, right there at church, and the first one that popped was the Robin’s Nest.

“Immediately I am thinking I can’t ignore this, but I don’t necessarily want to see it,” Dave said with a grin. “Robin and I were both nervous. To even consider thinking about something else, it still brought up nervousness. We were asking God “could you write it on the wall and make us sure?” and He literally did that.”

Robin replied,

“We were not seeking this. We were not sure what to do. We presented it to our counselor and thought it would be, at the very least, closure if we visited the Robin’s Nest and served them.”

After reaching out to the Robin’s Nest and meeting online with members of their team, Robin and Dave decided to visit this past November along with two Citylight pastors, Joe and Gavin. The visit helped heal, provide closure, and gave them direction.

“That first trip helped us to step into this and be obedient,” Dave explained. “While we were there, we felt closure. It was a year to the month that we left the first children’s home. I had a lot of fear. I felt kind of in that flight mode with some anxiety. Before we went, we asked ourselves “what do we need to see while we are here?” The major fear was what if we go back and the same thing happens to us and between us.”

At the Robin’s Nest, comfort was poured over them from the start. The Directors, Staff and children were welcoming and kind. Chris, one of the Directors, spent time with the Laneys and gave them a tour, answering their questions. Robin said,

“While we were walking around it was as if God was showing us what we needed and wanted to see. All that we saw and heard was taking the fear away and relieving the burden.“

God turned the Laneys’ hearts on that trip. Dave and Robin determined that if God had showed them this partnership with the Robin’s Nest a couple of years ago, they wouldn’t have accepted it because of their love for the other children’ home. However, still used those experiences to equip the Laneys in ways they never would have been equipped.

“I sat on the beach the last night we were there in November,” Dave reminisced, “and all of us were talking about the day, and Gavin just said to me “If I had seventy year old Dave on one side of me who had stayed in Omaha and sold real estate for the past ten years, and another seventy year old Dave on the other side of me who spent a few years serving at this children’s home, which one would be more fulfilled?” That made me think and it stuck with me.”

The next few months were full with the holidays and family. The Laneys determined that another visit, just one more, was needed. Both of them wanted to go down there and serve alongside everyone and to see what it was like to ‘do life’ with the Robin’s Nest team.

“Why wouldn’t we do this?” Dave shared. “So we did, in January, and from the moment we got there, it was obvious. When we went, we were looking for reasons not to go and for any red flags. We wanted to do due diligence but everything just came back as a confirmation that we were a good fit for them and they were a good fit for us. It seemed like a good partnership and that we could work well together as a team. What we saw was where our skills could fit in specifically. They had well-defined roles and there was a humility with the leadership there, a transparency, and it just showed us there are no secrets here and nothing was being hidden. We wanted to see all the warts. It is a hard place. The kids there don’t deserve to be there and would not choose to be there. But even in those hard realities, the staff is well cared for and very capable, everyone is well respected, and there’s good leadership. The property is well maintained. The ministry and board fund it well. Everything that we feared and all the questions of “why wouldn’t we do this?” were erased.”

This March, the Laneys will begin their two-year assignment at the Robin’s Nest as Co-directors. At the children’s home, there are 27 kids and a small team of Directors and staff. They will help with projects, help host teams that come to serve, assist in conducting the business and administration of running a children’s home, and of course, with much joy, minister to and care for the children and staff.

“There are of course, many other little things to do,” Robin said with a big smile, “like taking children to appointments, getting them to church, and taking them on outings. Whatever is needed, we will help.”

As they look ahead and reflect, the Laneys are excited and grateful. Dave offered this,

“With all my heart, I never lost any faith last year. I just questioned God a lot and it was like God was saying “You must trust me. I am sovereign and have everything under control.” And we do trust Him.”

Robin said,

“We got to see God work. We get to join Him in what He is already doing and being in that place is such a sweet spot. You get to see Him so clearly. When you step in obedience into what God is calling you into, He reveals a whole other thing. I look back to the vision that we had at the last children’s home that may still be a true vision of what’s to come. It just didn’t play out like Dave and I thought it would. I see that now. We get to see how God will work this out when we go in the Robin’s Nest and to be involved with what He is already doing and has planned there.”

Dave agreed and said,

“It feels like God has equipped us so much better to do what He has created us to do. Ephesians 2:10 says “For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.” His story is so cool and He invites us in and allows us to be a part of the story.”

Robin and Dave encourage our church with this:

“Don’t be afraid to step into what you sense God is leading you to just because it might be hard. It’s in the hard that you really connect the deepest with Him and you learn so much about yourself and you grow. It’s the stress and pressure that cause us to strengthen and grow. It might be hard, but He won’t leave you alone in it. God uses all things for the good of those who love Him and serve Him. Knowing that even if you feel hopeless, you still can trust God. On the other side of the pain, He will use it for good. So step in.”

Dave and Robin look forward to being sent back to the nations. To hop on a plane back to the emerald green island of Jamaica surrounded by the turquoise ocean and filled with its beautiful people. Instead of hurting and pain, this time it will be with great thankfulness and contentment. God is faithful in the journey He invited them into years ago and remains faithful as He reveals to them His greater plan and Kingdom work.

As Dave and Robin GO, would you consider being part of sending them by joining their financial support team? https://laneysinjamaica.com/support


  • Laney’s, I will pray for you as you embark on this new journey, a journey God is clearly sending you on! Your act of trusting Him in obedience is encouraging to say the least! Thank you for sharing your story!

  • So happy for you Dave and miss Robin, as you embark on another journey, just continue to trust God, my heart was deeply broken but am so excited to know God had better plans for you, love and miss you soooo much!!

    • Miss Christine!! Our hearts were broken as well, but we are family for life! Jamaica can’t shake the shatta driva!!

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