‘As I walk around I don’t recognise any of you until I look closely’. Such was the transformation of the ship’s community for our Christmas celebration. Everyone was dressed elegantly for our Chrismas Eve dinner. What made this dinner really special wasn’t the suits and ties and dresses, and it wasn’t even the meal itself – though it was delicious. It was that the regular galley staff were seated with the rest of the crew in our ship-family groups and the 3 course meal was served to us by the ship’s leadership team. Yes, our wonderful leaders served us hand and foot for the evening as a show of love.
After dinner we enjoyed a fantastic carols service and then we all exchanged small gifts.
On the 25th we had another amazing meal, a full brunch. This time buffet style without the formalities and sitting with friends. Then we had a fantastic musical play performed by the kids from the Logos Hope School. Their performance was amazing and there was much applause at the end. Finally we took a photo with all of the ship’s crew on the bow of the ship.
Truely this was an amazing celebration filled with meaning and joy.
“You and your team are very professional”. The man who said this to me works with the band Stronghold in his spare time, whilst working as a systems administrator, producer and studying. Stronghold is quite famous in Lebanon and tickets to the event were sold out long before the ship arrived in port. Of course this event was more than just a concert – our drama group performed a drama about a lost son and a crew member from Australia shared his testimony of why he was on the ship and how he had chosen to follow God. Many youth decided to make this same commitment to seek God’s will in their lives.
We also had the pleasure of hosting Bill Drake for a concert only a week before. Having listened to his CDs that we sell in our bookstore it was great to meet him in person and experience a live performance. Just like Stronghold, Bills band didn’t perform a show for the audience, but rather led them into a place of worship.
The AV team on Logos Hope has been really glad to have some professional bands to work with and create a great sound. Personally I had the pleasure of doing the lights for both these bands and I was pleased that many people commented that the lights were really good for the drama and the bands. I enjoy putting my best effort into these events and using my creative abilities to add depth to the atmosphere.
As in many other countries, here in Beirut, Lebanon the Logos Hope is happy to receive visits from many local schools. Thousands of students visit the ship each day to browse the book fair and to experience a drama. Since it is Christmas time we have put aside our regular program and have made space for a local production company called Just For Kids to present a Christmas musical.
Without giving too much away, the musical centers around two pirates who put Christmas in a box and try to hide it from the world, and three silly characters who find the box and discover Christmas. What they discover inside the box at first is only superficial but as they look deeper they find something more meaningful.
The strangest thing happened to me last night – and it all has to do with the amazing culture of Egyptian people. You see a friend and I went for a walk after work to get some fresh air. Along the way we met one of our collegues and her 4 year old daughter. So we decided to go for a walk on the beach and enjoy the sea breaze (I don’t ever really crave the sea breaze since I live on a ship, but it’s still nice). And as we were strolling on the beach we met a local man and his daugher, who was also 4 years old. And then the two parents talked together and the kids from different countries (neither speaking each other’s language) played together. Then another man invited us to sit down with his family who were having a picnic. So there I sat with my friends from Germany and China and an Egyptian family on the beach watching the sun set and listening to the waves break on the beach, enjoying His creation. We talked about the countries that we had been to so far, our faviourite places and people, and our experiences. We talked about what we do on board and that we work for two years as volunteers, in fact our families and friends pay for us to be here – How blessed we are. We talked about the things we like about Egypt and our experiences so far and they told us about their resteraunt businesses and their experience of Egypt. I’ve never experienced this in Australia, and my friend said this would never happen in Germany, but how nice it is to be welcomed by friendly local people when you are a guest in a country. I hope I would do the same if I had a picnic and met some random strangers. Thankyou to all my friends and family who enable me to meet such wonderful people.