Sunday, August 23, 2009

A Deep Breath: Sunday, August 23rd 2009

The last you guys may have known of me, I was on my way to Detroit to spend some time back home with friends and family. Now, my time in Port Huron has come to an end, so I’d like to tell of some of my many blessings while I visited. The blessing that hits home most is my family as a whole. I was fortunate enough to see almost all of my extended family, and to spend a lot of time with my immediate family. I have the best parents in the world. They made this trip a blessing, almost too much as I may have gotten spoiled. I missed them a lot, so seeing them and going to a Tigers game and just spending time with them for two weeks was awesome. It felt like no time was lost, even though so much has changed. I love my parents with all my heart, and I can only hope I can be a good parent too. My brother and sister –in-law were also in town to visit for a week, and it was really cool to be able to spend time with them as well. My nephew is such an awesome kid, and seeing him and my sister and brother-in-law was a great time. Kids can teach us so much if we just listen and watch. I had a blast with my family.
So on Wednesday the 19th at 4:30 in the morning I once again left home after a blessed visit. The eyes weren’t as teary, nor the hearts as anxious this time around, but I could feel the looming sadness upon my parents, and it broke my heart to let them go, but God has much in store for all of us, not just me. My course took me through a 7 hour layover in Miami where I connected with a friend from the ship again as he was heading on the same flight back. When we arrived in St. George’s and got through customs we had about 9 people waiting to welcome us, and hugs were in plenty. Then we headed back to the ship swapping stories like no time was lost, and hung out for a while.
The next two days were marked by weariness from trying to adjust back to an early schedule, and from work being rather difficult. My first day back we had a mooring line snap, and were forced to go out to anchor for the night to run from a large swell coming in. The meant 2 mooring stations in one day, which is typical, except on Saturday when we had to move berths all together because of the swell, which meant mooring stations and gangways back to back. I was pretty tired when everything when all was said and done, and my hands rather sore.
So today was a good day thus far. When I got back I was told I was on a church team this Sunday (which is today) and I was a bit nervous. I had never been on a church team, nor have I ever given my testimony, which I already think is a bit lame. But regardless of all of the crap in my head, I was able to go to this church that had a reggae song for worship, and the worship lasted a good hour and a half, and deliver my testimony. The two girls gave a small presentation intended to get people interested in missions, and I came after and shared about how I felt called into missions. After the service, we had a chance to sit down with the pastors and their families for a lunch of some peculiar foods and a chat with them. Beyond the small talk they started to ask questions about the ship and missions, and our lives. Then they started to tell tales of hiking in Grenada and snakes. They were hilarious. Two of the kids of the pastors were trying to figure out if they could handle life on the ship, and while we walked out she told me that my testimony was just like how her life is, and it was really encouraging to hear me talk about it, and be real. God works, even through little ol’ me.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Lost in This World: Update on August 6th, 2009

Well, we finally made it to the Caribbean, and God has richly blessed us (namely me) in my short stay there. We arrived in St. Vincent’s (Kingstown) on Monday the 27th of July, at around 7:00 in the morning, and I was on watch. I was absolutely shattered for sleep, ad my watch was from 4-8 and then we had to be at mooring stations at 6 am, and stayed until 8 am. I was shattered that whole day, but what a blessing! We arrived to a sunny sky and a steel drum band. Before long, rain had started to put on us as we pulled fast alongside the quay, but it was the type of rain you don’t mind. That might have been because of the high temperature and crazy amounts of humidity that none of us were used to after a long stay in northern Europe. After we were made fast, I went to bed.
As I awoke, I had to go down to the gangway for the last watch I’d do for a while, and it was amazing! I stepped out into a paradise as I got off the Ship; the quay we are on is something like a pier for cruise ships, surrounded by a high, dark cliff with green taking control of the flat ledges. The water is something out of a dream, and you can see nearly to the bottom. Rolling waves gently glided into the dark cliffs as clown fish swam under foot, and Ship’s Company enjoyed the sea, while we still could. I thought I had stepped into a fairy tale.
But that’s not why I was there. No, I was there to grow and to plant; to sow, water, and reap. I was there to follow God, and to let him cultivate in me whomever it is I need to be in this world. This process took me into a blossoming sports ministry in which we have been blessed with abundant opportunities to reach out and get to know the people of the communities we visit. God has also put in the middle of a funny time for swing dance, where the transition from project to ministry on the ship has made it somewhat hard to attract a good number of men. God has put me in a couple of leadership positions, and I mean to do the best I can, which is nothing without Him.
As I had mentioned on that little aside, I have been involved with basketball ministry (which is a part of sports ministry) since I’ve come. Now in ports where people actually like Basketball, I have seen already two opportunities to partake in the community. One was almost accidental as three of us stumbled our way to a court to play and met a guy who played with us shortly, before a real game between two of the Caribbean Islands. We watched for a bit, then headed back where I held a swing dance practice, that had a larger than usual turnout. A couple of days later, we went out again to a different court to meet a couple locals who we played with for a good two hours (which was enough considering the climate). They were both going to the ship on the weekend, which is a shame because I’ll be in Port Huron.
On Tuesday, as well as playing basketball and swing dancing, I was lucky enough to get yet more peace of heart as God led me into a place so beautiful I can’t adequately describe it, but I’ll try anyways. I know you’ve seen the movies about the beaches here, well, times that by ten. The sand was as smooth as butter, and the water like glass. The beach was busy, but on the other side was the private resort, which had tiki huts all around and was just a big hill in the middle of the water. We (a group of about 15- mostly deckies) spent all day there, getting sunburned, and swimming, and even playing with a few of the local kids. That was such a blessing.
So where I am now is yet another crazy adventure God has sent me on. I am currently on an airplane to Miami, where I’ll meet my long-lost friend to spend some time with before I fly back to Detroit. But how I got here is a story. I’m not sure if this is a new thing or not, but apparently airports here have a tax charged for leaving the airport. I had no clue. So as I stumbled up to the customs desk in St. Vincent’s, and they asked me to pay my fee, I was at an end. I had 3 ECD with me, and they didn’t take credit cards, and on top of all of that I have no idea what my PIN number is any more. I was shattered, thinking all of it was gone, but God provided for me to be able to go through anyways, without paying. Similar story in Grenada, except I had to pay, luckily there was a store who could give me cash back with a purchase. God’s provision is endless, and he just wanted to keep me on my toes.