It’s Sunday so the zodiacs were taken out and everyone piled in to go to church. It’s one of the most interesting Sunday commutes I’ve seen. I decided to hang back. I had planned to help clean dishes after breakfast and a morning of rest and quiet time was to enticing to skip even for the church adventure.
As I meandered around the ship, I found our microbiologist sitting on the lifejacket storage. I sat down next to her and she asked me what God has been teaching me. I told her about my pride and the frustration in waiting. I had briefly mentioned it to her a couple days ago as well and she had made it a point to make sure we sat down for a chat. “When you told me you felt called to missions but you are having to wait, I felt God telling me to share a piece of my testimony with you” She said. She had felt called to missions when she was five years old because she had seen a movie about Mother Teresa. She went home from the film and packed her little suitcase ready to trek to India. She wasn’t a christian at that point she just knew she wanted to help people. At the age of nineteen she gave her life to christ and got involved in church. She went on a short mission trip to Mexico, which served as an incentive to get back out in the mission field as soon as possible. A year or two later in the summer of ’94 she had the opportunity to do a summer long mission. She got really energized for it and started trying to raise support and get things in order. However, things were not going according to the plans. She recalled one of her pastors pulling into his office and telling her, ‘You are called to missions. I believe you are called to missions, but not yet. Wait and mature by serving and really learning the Bible.’ So she took his advice and served at the church whole heartedly. A year later in the summer of ’95 she got the opportunity to go to Mexico on missions. Everything fell into place and of she went. That trip wasn’t just the run of the mill mission. During the trip she experienced having a gun held to her head by the police for smuggling, and she had her apartment ransacked, along with many other things that went amiss. “If I had gone a year earlier, I would have died, if not physically then spiritually for sure.” She needed that time of waiting, hard as it was. Since that trip, she has served in Russia, the Ukraine, a University, and now the Pacific Islands. God has taken her into adventures she never dreamed of and it has been hard, but worth it. “As a missionary I am constantly breaking ground behind enemy lines,” she said. “And the enemy will throw whatever he can in your way. God won’t send you in unprepared, He will train you.” Her encouragement was much needed. I feel so refreshed being reminded that I am not alone in the challenge of the wait. I love her story and how God has used her.
As we were finishing our conversation, the zodiacs returned from church. Everyone piled onto the deck with huge grins and jewelry adorning every neck. The welcome at the village had been spectacular. The team is ramped up to start working here. The excitement spilled over to lunch, which was five bean salad, a special treat to mark the middle Sunday of outreach.
After lunch the dental, ophthalmology, housekeeping, and galley teams got a special bay cruise. We laughed and played chase with one another in the two zodiacs. When we had rounded the bend and couldn’t see the ship anymore, our driver shut off the motor and we all sat still. The silence was perfect, unlike any silence I’ve ever heard before. This place is the most untouched place I’ve ever had the opportunity to visit. We puttered around, exploring the bay for another thirty minutes before returning.
They rotated the general volunteers to different teams for the second week of outreach. I got moved to primary health care. I’m really quite excited because this means I will be exposed to the clinic and full fledged nursing of this ministry. I will go to the villages everyday with the doctors and nurses to help with triage and, possibly, give immunizations for the kiddos. We had short training session before dinner. I can’t wait.
The day has been relaxing. Everyone has had time to clean up and get reorganized for the new week. Tonight we will have a time of worship and teaching on the top deck again, if it doesn’t rain. I am thankful for time to sit and be encouraged by those around me, by worship, and by teaching.