“A whole new world, every turn a surprise with new horizons to persue” says a song from the movie Aladdin. And in many ways North Africa is a wonderous place with a hundred thousand things to see. The country is beautiful and the people are warm and friendly. There are many cultural differences but we have been well prepared and each crew member is careful to dress and act appropriately so that we can make friends and build bridges between cultures here. I really hope to be a light that shines brightly, for people here to see that we don’t live like the western people that they see on TV in movies and the media. We are here to promote understanding between cultures and to make good friends. Please be thinking of me in this time.
Catching a bus into the city on a Friday night I felt a little old. I was surrounded by young people from Malta and from abroad out for a good time in the city. We visited a party district where the streets are empty by day but packed with party goers by night. We were there to talk with people and to hand out flyers that had an anti-drugs message as well as a story of a life transformed by our father. We went with some local brothers, one of whom frequented the area as a younger man. As we walked the street our father led us to people who stopped to talk with us and some told us about their experiences with drugs and how they longed to escape the cycle. We were able to spend time with people and answer questions about him.
This week I have had the privilege of exploring the island of Malta, the very same island that Paul was shipwrecked on. It is a beautiful island full of amazing architecture that reflects a rich history in the centuries that followed. I have really enjoyed wandering around trying local food and taking in the sights. It seems that Paul’s visit had a big effect on the people, but since then life has become more about rules and traditions than about a real relationship with the heavenly father.
I had the opportunity to visit with a local fellowship and sing with them and pray for the people of Malta. It was great to experience their hospitality and their love for others. I also got to meet two really nice gentlemen from Malta who told me all about the country and it’s history – seriously look it up on wikipedia – and I was able to take them for a tour of the ship and tell them all about the help projects that we do in some poor countries and explain why we do what we do. They really enjoyed their time on board and I enjoyed talking with them.