Monday, February 22, 2010

Good Things: Update on February 22, 2010

Tourists are pretty stupid sometimes. Since leaving Montego Bay (and all the shifting) behind, we came to Kingston last Tuesday, and into a whole new world. The day we got in, we had to go to one berth and unload containers of books and food, and then had to shift to our actual berth at night. The berth we are in is a cement factory, but apparently they run on coal. Everywhere is filthy black. The moment you go outside you are basically dirty. The first opening day in port was on Ash Wednesday, which is a national holiday, so we had over 5000 visitors. I went around and sold popsicles to those who waited (sometimes 2-3 hours!) just to get on the ship. This will be a crazy port.
Back to the beginning, and why I claim that tourist don’t think sometimes. As a deck team we had a day to just enjoy our department and go to a waterfall about 2 hours from Kingston. This was a tourist place, though, as one could easily scale the waterfall. The place was beautiful, as a fresh water river flowed coldly into a warm sea. You could tell they had modified the original fall as it was ascended, but it was still a blast. Us deckies (not having money) refused to buy a tour guide and the special shoes they sell you. That was one of the smartest things we’ve ever done! The tour guides would take the simplest way, making everyone file into a line, holding hands, and holler a lot. They were really annoying and a complete rip off. The rock was also very smooth, and those shoes were not needed as well. We probably saved $40 each by being cheap.
One of the coolest things I have done in my time here was this weekend. I was sent on a team that went to a village about 2 hours away by car, and in the middle of nowhere, Jamaica. We were to stay overnight in the local “gun club” (which was just a place for rich foreigners to come and shoot stuff 6 weekends a year). We were greeted with a dinner of shrimp backed in a seriously spicy fashion. It beat all of us down, but was so good! The woman responsible to look after us was named Cherry, and was an absolute delight. We spent our fist hours there playing with a few of the kids from the village, then planning for the next day.
The next day, we were charged with helping the church. We really had no idea of what was expected of us, but we prepared plenty of things to do. After a breakfast of freshly caught fish, we headed to church, and it was far from what we expected. There was a congregation of about 15 people, mostly old ladies and their grandchildren. Everyone in the church held a position of leadership, and the “president” was a 14 year old kid. The worship team consisted of 2 girls, and one guy on an old keyboard. The sound system was archaic, stone age even. I think I saw one like it in the movie “The Pirates of the Silicon Valley”. The band was pretty terrible, mainly because the female pastor would take over, and it seemed like she thought loud was better than good, or even decent. I think the whole village was awoken by her singing. The service was all strictly ordered, and they announced the order as they went along the whole time. From the outside, it must have looked very legalistic and shallow.
It’s a good thing God searches the heart, and can see past all these. It is a good thing that these people were more genuine than anyone I have met in the Caribbean. It’s a good thing that God came for the poor and broken as well as us who live in luxury. It’s a good thing that love and money are very often inversely proportional. It’s a good thing God sent me to this traditional, strange church, to show me more faults within me.
I can say that we were loved. After the service we hung out with Cherry and her family for about 6 more hours, playing cricket, eating lunch, and playing with a bunch of the kids. I can only hope that we blessed them as much as they blessed us, even though they did things very strange.

Thursday, February 11, 2010


Awake! O Heart, Arise!
I declare your slumber
Is cut short! Arise!
May Breath find its’ way
Into your hardened lungs
I command thee
Dust thou shall no more be

Beat with the fire
Of celestial passion
A flame not of
Terrestrial birth

I beseech thee, my son,
Take thine throne
Embrace the unknown
I declare it is time!
From your long slumber, Arise!

Arise to do precisely
What you were made to do
Do you see them, my son?
The shades,
The ghosts?
Pale, bitter, cold
Unmoving, and unceasing; no end
With no means to justify

Their existence is an insult
Do you see, my beloved?
See! I declare all shall see!
See their anguish, and approach
But not with craven fear
For fear is not in your function
Fear shall not hold you
Down into their sorrow depart
Deeper and deeper yet
All the way
To where they beget
The toil of endless pain
But you, my beautiful son,
Hold the key.

Awake! I declare, Arise!
For the time of slumber
Has burnt into embers!
You must behold Apollo’s light
You must do as I have made
The entire world is hinged upon it
It is not the strength of Atlas,
Nor the science behind the Axis
No, the bricks of this world,
And of glorious heav’n above,
Is naught but love!
Awake! My son, Arise!

Friday, February 5, 2010

Goodbye, Hello! An update on February 5th, 2010

Goodbye struck again as another close friend rode away in an airplane. Aaron joined with me a year and a half ago, and has now gone home to start on his college career. He left on the same day that about 20 others left. They left to make room for the new PST, which arrived on Wednesday. They arrived in the same exciting fashion that all PST’s arrive in. They were entered in the world of Ship’s life with a line of screaming crew members showing them which way to go. This is probably the last time I will bear witness to this exciting sight again, as my term ends before the next PST arrives in 6 months. My time has flown by!

My time in Montego Bay Jamaica has honestly been rather forgettable, except the groups of school kids I have witnessed coming to the ship that sometimes number up to 4000 in a day. I have not been involved much there, but the ship presents a program for the kids which has a clearly biblical calling to it. It is called “The Greatest Treasure” and it involves a drama about pirates, which I may still get involved in, some games and some more information about our ship. It must be an awesome field trip for these kids to go on, since I hear them yelling every so often while I try to sleep.

Sleeping has marked my time in Jamaica as well; and not necessarily by choice. We are in a port that harbors both cruise liners and cargo ships. On top of that, I am sure we received a discount on our berthing fees, which puts us on the bottom of the priority list. We have had to move berths almost every other day, and it has proved to be a lot of work. We can’t start until the ship is closed to public (around 10) and we finish up usually around 1 or 2 AM. The Deckies handle all the moving, and it has been a really taxing port on all of us.

On a good note, we met some local people that are a part of YWAM, and they invited us back “anytime” to go and play basketball with them, and on Sunday to watch the Super Bowl. I am very excited about that! I hope they are okay with me being really loud…