Friends and Family

This week God has directed my attention away from the things I usually think about – tasks, deadlines, responsibilities – and towards the object of his affection and attention – people. People are the reason that he led me to leave my home and join this ship. People are the reason this ship sails from port to port. People, nay each Person should be at the center of our focus wherever we go and whatever we do. Here in North Africa, we each prayed that He would give us a good friendship with one person in each port. This week I had the pleasure of making friends with a young man we’ll call Steve. We met in the international cafe when he invited me to sit at a table with him, and for a long time we talked about language. He spoke very fluent English and enjoyed practicing his English with the ship’s crew. He was kind enough to teach me many Arabic words and write them down for me so I can practice them. I may never be able to speak Arabic properly, but at least I can say hello, how are you, nice to meet you, how old are you and say some things about myself. On other days I saw him again and spent time with him and his friends and my friends talking about language and culture. When Steve shared with me a difficulty he was going through, I was able to share with him that I had gone through a similar difficulty and that his feelings were quite normal. I enjoyed coming alongside someone and encouraging them.
This week the crew of our ship have been encouraged that ‘we are not just a community of like minded people, but rather a family’. If we are all children of God then we are all one family together, brothers and sisters with each other and with Him – and we should love each other accordingly. As a ship’s crew we are all in close contact and we learn to live together not just tolerating each other, but loving each other – and the same is true for local fellowships. We are not just a gathering of people in a building one day a week – we are indeed a family.