I hope you’ve had a great summer, from all the instas I saw from G&P, Romania, New Horizon and more it certainly looked, class!
I have now spent a whole year away from home and I thought (well Bun thought) that coming to the end of year one would be a brilliant time for a little reflection. For once Bun was correct.
In this blog, I wanted to be able to explain my year in a way that you guys can understand. I realised when Stephen came to visit me (a wonderful two weeks in Buenos Aires) the ship can be a very confusing place. It has its own, unique culture, craziness and even language as so many people from all over the world come together to serve.
The ship is compared to many things, a time machine, a tin can, I even heard it compared to a pencil the other day, but what I’ve realised is that life on the ship for me is a lot like school was. And the more I think about it the more similarities I can see, some top quality banter, dodgy food, early starts... it’s even falling apart a little like PC.
The first big similarity that I realised is that you don’t always get want you want - a big shocker for me. In school you don’t always get the teacher you want, you may end up sitting beside someone you’ve never even talked to for a year or maybe you don’t get the grades that you worked so hard for. For me, whenever I arrived on the ship I wanted to be in the bookfair department on board (those who work on one half of our public deck, helping and serving our visitors). Instead of this, I was put into the ship’s international cafe, where although I would be working on the public deck I was disappointed not to be in the bigger and better-known department. But God didn’t give me what I wanted because He knew His plan was so much better. I wish I had known this during my actual time in school.
The second similarity I found was that sometimes I really want to be here but sometimes I’d rather be anywhere else. Times in school - usually involving something SU related - I loved it (#PCLoyal) but other times - usually double maths-related - I would try to avoid it at all costs. The ship has had those moments too. I’ve loved the times I’ve got to have fellowship with friendships; driving up volcanoes, exploring cities and more. I’ve also loved some of the amazing ministry opportunities that have come my way; visiting prisons, schools and giving out free hugs on the street. At other times though, when we were visiting yet another church, I wanted to go to my cabin and hide for a day. I’ve realised that this is a spiritual battle, often serving God (even on a missionary ship) can be the toughest thing imaginable. But I’ve also learnt from this that you are exactly where God wants you to be, every second of the day. So even if it isn’t making you particularly happy, still find a way to get up and seize each opportunity and try to be joyful in it.
Ultimately the ship is a training ground just like school - I thought I was just giving God a year or two of my life and then it would all go back to “normal”. Oh, how wrong I was. All that the ship has taught me is not just for these two years of my life but I hope and pray that this is the beginning of a life devoted solely to God with all my heart, with all my soul and with all my mind (Matthew 22:37), whatever that may look like in the future.
Coming to the one year mark I can truly say that I have felt blessed beyond all measure, yes it’s not always been sunny (literally or figuratively) but God has been constant through it all and been drawing me closer to Him.
I also just want to thank you all for your regular thoughts and prayers, it is such an encouragement especially when times are tough! Some prayer points at this stage are:
For a blessed time at home for my sister’s wedding and to be able to reconnect well with everyone (and also miraculously have enough time for that)
For ship’s company as they come to another time of changeover where a lot of friends are leaving, that God will bring peace
The ship is also about to sail into Brazil so we are facing our first language change in nearly two years. Please pray for wisdom as we try to learn enough Portuguese to get by
Please finally pray for me as I return to the ship mid-September for a second year. Please pray I would adjust quickly to my new job and that ultimately God would continue to draw me close and use me for His glory
If gap years, missions or anything else is on your mind at the moment I would love to hear from you!!
The best way to get in contact is via my WhatsApp as our internet isn’t the best: +447850768772
Or you can also use this email: firstname.lastname@example.org
God bless & see you soon,