Watchin' God Book One - Listed Alphabetically


Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Home again, home again, jiggity jig

November 30, 2006  (unedited from the email I sent to several of my friends.)

What an amazing trip!  This will be long! 

Some of you are aware that I was quite nervous about going on a last second cruise by myself.  Like God couldn't take care of me, or something!!  Really, the concern was finding someone to talk to (a necessary thing, don't you know!) and hang out with for 4 days.  God is good.

Let me start with getting sick the first night.  Well, several people actually got SICK, I just felt like it.  The sea was a little rough.  Come morning, things were much better.  There is a pressure point in the crease of the wrist, which, when pressed hard enough and long enough, will relieve motion sickness.  Works fairly well.

Dinner the first night was nearly uneventful compared to the last 3.  There were 3 men, 2 women, all traveling alone.  Then Joan arrived.  She took over the table, requiring all of us to introduce ourselves.  She ended up running the conversation (can you imagine, it wasn't me!) for most of the rest of the trip, which wasn't so bad.  Cheryl and Greg, both in their 30's and partyers, spent a lot of time together.  Bob, Joan and I kept up our end of the chatter.  The other gentleman was an eldery very soft-spoken Peurto Rican who didn't really have much to say, or not that we could tell.  Of course, with 3 chatty women, who would have been able to hear him, anyway!

Monday night the waitstaff sang "O Solo Mio", none of them being Italian.  Tuesday night they danced around the dining room, along with several of the guests.  Gerry, the head waiter for our section, dressed up like Batman.  He was a hoot!  Wednesday night Gerry ala Michael Jackson showed up while the rest of the staff was doing something equally noisy and fun - seems they sang and choreographed "Pretty Woman".  Perhaps Greg, the 30 something gentleman, will send pictures of Michael Jackson.

The first day, Sunday, was at sea.  Can't remember what on earth I did that day.  Nothing memorable.  Monday we stopped in Freeport Bahamas.  The port isn't very close to 'downtown', which looked more residential than business.  There were several government buildings of more than one story, but everything else was low, old, very colorful (my favorite part about the islands).  Then the tour took us to the beach and resort area.  Night and day.  On the way we saw lots of houses that would have fit in just about any coastal town subdivision in the south.  Again, the colors were wonderful!  Mostly warm medium shades of green, coral, pink, yellow.  A few smurf blue shades.  Most had various colored tile roofs, with a few metal ones that replaced the hurricane-damaged tile.  Lots of fruit trees.  Several damaged houses that appear to have been abandoned.

The resort was - a resort.  The standard complement of Gucci, Cartier, etc, shops.  On the way back from the beach, having a few minutes to spend before Charlene and I (lawyer from Regina, SK, Canada who said several times to my comments "I was just thinking that!")  headed back to the bus, we stopped in a jewelry store.  There was a beautiful blue topaz/peridot necklace and matching earrings for $500.  I'm sure the price was decent, as the stones weren't small.  However, the thought crossed through my mind "how many Bible could you buy with that much money?"  I didn't buy the jewelry.

Ah, Nassau!!  This could take a while. 

My tour wasn't one that was operated or contracted by Celebrity Cruise Lines.  I was the only one from the boat to take that particular tour.  There was an 84-year old taxi driver waiting to pick me up.  His baseball cap said "Jesus is my Boss".  Of course we got to talking about salvation and other good conversation along that line.  I told him about the John/Romans I planned to deliver after returning from the tour.  He said he knew the church and would take me there. 

The taxi stand is no longer beside the boat.  Since 9-11 there is now a coast guard cutter with 50 cal. in the pier area, and the passengers must walk about 1/4 mile to the shopping area that is behind a fence.  It's accessible to the local public on foot, but not by vehicle. 

From the taxi stand Leroy (the old taxi driver) took me through very narrow and congested streets to the tour bus - a van.  There were 5 of us in all.  The driver was a preacher.  Reminded me somewhat of James Earl Jones.  As we were running late, there wasn't much sightseeing until we got to Paradise Island.  A wrap-around aquarium was very nice.  There were the standard yachts, brightly colored condos, and the Atlantis resort.  There is a walkway connecting two buildings, which look like a castle.  Above the walkway is a suite that rents for a paltry $25,000 a night - with a 4 night minimum!!!!  Now, let me ask you, "How many Bibles could you buy with THAT much money"!!??

Upon returning to the taxi stand, James Earl Jones made sure I found Leroy, who then took me to Calvary Hatian Baptist Church.  He made sure that Marcelyn (the church secretary) was a respectable fellow, and was willing to make sure I was taken care of.  Marcelyn called the preacher, who had just gone somewhere, knowing only that I was to arrive that day, but not when or how I would get there.  While we were waiting for the preacher to arrive, we had a tour of the building. 

They have recently more than doubled the size of their buiding.  It's a very nice addition.  Pastor Henri Cher-Aime said they have about 400-450 people attending services of a Sunday morning, including about 100 kids.  It's beyond my imagination to figure out how all those people would have fit in the original two-story building!  God has blessed them with a very nice place now.  Pastor Henri did mention a need for parking and a place for homeless people.  There is a building next door, but the price is $300K!!  A daunting number for a healthy American church with that many attendees, let alone one in the Bahamas! 

After Pastor Henri arrived, we went to the pier so I could retrieve the Bibles.  On the way back to the church, it was beyond me not to comment on the driving skills of the locals, not to mention that he was turning the wrong side of the street!  Well, according to our custom in the US.  You see, they drive on the left side of the road in the Bahamas.  So when he turned right from the left side of the road and stayed in the left-hand lane, it was for all the world like we should get run into any second!  He thought my reaction quite funny!  Even volunteered to let me drive 'when I come back'.  He and Marcelyn were certain that I should have stayed, and, failing that, I must return at my first opportunity.  To which I told them that I can come back anytime.  Just pray me down there!  They have need of many more bibles and tracts, which I would be happy to deliver any time God allows such a trip.

Pastor Henri had quite a time.  I took pictures of the building (that may or may not turn out, as the flash didn't appear to be working too well) and especially of the churchfolk with the J/R, to take back to church here.  That was easy.  The fun part came when he went to take his wife home before taking me back to the pier.  First his wife left her keys at home, since he had his.  But he didn't.  So we went to school to get the key from their son.  His key was home also.  Then the preacher discovered in the excitement of Bibles, picture taking and leave-taking he had left his cell phone at church.  Eventually, we left his wife at their tenants' and he called a relative who has a spare key.  Last I knew, they still hadn't gotten into the house.  It's been 2 days.  By now, one would hope!

God worked so many miracles in the arranging of that trip, it's a wonder to me!   Shirleen Godfrey (the widow of the founder of the work) tried to arrange things in her absence, but alas, that is not always possible.  (Sorry, Shirleen, I didn't get to call your daughter...)  My idea of how it would/could work was completely without knowledge, but God!  He worked things out to perfection!

Yesterday, I discovered my dinner companion Bob is a PK, and was interested in taking J/R with him on his travels to deliver to missionaries in the States once he knows where they are, and who needs what.  And there is a nice young lady from South Africa who works in the jewlery shop on the ship who expressed an interest in receiving them to distribute amongst the crew, who are almost all foreign - from India, Tunisia, Romania, Moldova, Italy, etc. (Yes, I did buy some jewlry - tanzanite necklace and earrings at a price that was amazingly cheap, considering.  Had I not, I wouldn't have met Ardi.   How many ways can one can justify spending money?)

So, all in all, the trip was a huge success!!!  Not only did God take care of my fears of going on my first vacation alone, he provided me with good Christian companionship, arranged transportation to deliver the Bibles, and set up 11 more contacts to spread the Gospel!  (Pastor Henri's church supports 7 Hatian churches and another one in Nassau.)

Missionary Mike Kelly said to me once when I commented that I'd be a missionary in a heartbeat if God would call me, but failing that love to take a missions trip, "You are already a missionary, and every trip can be a missions trip!"  How true!

When can I go again, Lord??!!