Tag Archives: Sharing God

Reaching the World Without Leaving Home

27 Apr

On the Porch 

Onisha Ellis

 

 

Many people know of Kennedy Space Center, world-famous as the heart of America’s space launches to explore the heavens. On Thursday the Legacy adults (old folks) of our church, traveled  45 minutes south to the small town of Cape Canaveral, Florida. It is located adjacent to the space center and Port Canaveral a popular cruise ship terminal. We were on a mission to share some food and spread some love at the Space Coast Seafarers Ministry, where they share the good news of the eternal heaven. The teasing aroma from 100 pieces of Publix fried chicken greeted us as we boarded the church van. Along with the chicken, the van was loaded with 97 packages of cookies that church members donated during the months of March and April.

 

 

 

I wish I had taken a photo of the exterior. It is a converted Post Office!  When we arrived we were met by the director Rev Mark Wodka, and this delightful crew member. I believe he said he is from Bali. He had a mile wide smile and has a reputation as a jokester.

 

The kitchen staff had  prepared several dishes and deserts for lunch before we arrived. At this time they have a tiny kitchen and rely on electric skillets and pots. On some days this tiny kitchen is used to feed lunch  over 300 people! They are all excited at the prospect of a new kitchen being installed that would include a huge gas range, stainless steel work spaces and built-in refrigeration and freezer. It has taken a long time but the renovation will be completed debt free!

 

 

 

The director walked us through the facility and his passion for the ministry was evident. He shared stories of interactions between volunteers and crew members who spend time talking with them and especially asking if they need prayer for anything.

 

 

 

Walking through the rooms I was touched to see crew members video chatting with friends and family. Some were speaking languages I could not identify. Most work 6 month contracts with no time away so being able to keep in touch using the free wi-fi provided there is a blessing. According to the director, they often have over 200 devices logged onto the internet.

Not only does the center provide food and wi-fi, they have buses that make trips to the shopping areas three times a day. And if shopping at the mall isn’t their thing, or they can’t find what they want, online shopping is an option. Online shopping for crew members was a time-consuming affair before Space Coast Seafarers came up with a solution. Previously, the packages were sent to the location of the cruise line office, then they were sorted and sent to the ship. It could take as long as three weeks to receive a package! Now packages for crew are delivered to the Seafarers where they are sorted and ready for pickup. The program was so successful, a part-time person was hired to manage it. To my amazement, the packages are sorted by ship name and placed in this small room. What a job! The cool part is that the salary is paid for by volunteer donations of those getting packages. On a normal day they receive over 100 packages and don’t even think  about the onslaught after Black Friday!

 

 

One of the things we take for granted is being able to see outside. But for some crew members, their long days are spent in parts of the ship with no view. As part of the renovation from Post Office to the center, an enclosed porch with wide sliding doors was added, along with an outside porch. Colorful flower baskets hang from the porch rails, providing splashes of color. So much heart and creativity is put into sharing God’s love with our visitors from across the globe. The center hangs a flag from each country that visits. At this time I think they have 130! In an effort to stay connected, they even have an app.

 

 

Since I was a child, I have had a tender heart for missions and I enjoyed the time we spent there. I hope that next winter, I can be a volunteer a few times per month. I have a weird fascination for commercial quality kitchens and I think it would be fun to be a part of the food preparation.

This video of crew members telling what the center means to them is from the Space Coast Seafarers Ministry website. I hope you will take a look. If you live near a port, check to see if there is a Seafarer Ministry. Their work is not limited to cruise ships, but cargo ship crews as well. Volunteer or donate and be blessed!

 

 

Three truths to keep you from giving up.

4 Feb

Walking by Faith, Not by Sight

Janet Perez Eckles

 

(January 20, 2017)

I can’t help it, I’m just nosy as can be. During one of the events in my trip to Cuba, I sat beside one of the ministry leaders.

“What part of Cuba do you come from?” I asked.

“Santiago de Cuba,” she said with joy in her voice.

As I shooed flies and fanned myself to create a bit of breeze in that intense humid heat, I bombarded her with questions. In the typical passion-filled Cuban style, she answered them all. Here is the summary:

She traveled 33 hours with an 11-month-old son in her arms. The trip began in a dilapidated car, springs protruding from the seat. No luxuries such as air conditioning, thus, the opened windows let all the dust in from the dirt roads. The roof was metal making the blistering heat more intense.

“How long was the trip in that car?” I said.

“Twelve hours to our first stop.”

She and the family and other families had to sleep on the cement floor of the terminal so as not to miss the first morning’s chance for transportation to the next stop. This time it was in an old truck in same conditions as the car.

Thirty-three hours later the families arrived accompanied by dozens of others who came from remote parts of Cuba to attend the event.

I was stunned. Not only at the hardship that no one in the States would even consider enduring. But I was amazed at the joy she exuded. Not a word of complaint. No words of “poor-me.” No tone of frustration. Only joy in her laughter. A sweet spirit in her willingness to serve us visitors. Imagine that. Us, who arrived in Cuba seated comfortably in a jet.

“I’m amazed at your perseverance,” I said.

She chuckled. “We love to do what God calls us to do. And the way to serve Him is to travel where we can minister to more people. That’s our reward.”

Her reward? That’s what keeps them going. The end result that keeps them energized. And the final accomplishment that gives them the strength to endure it all.

Shame on me. While on the rough road of life, the reward is often the last thing I think of. How about you?  When we find ourselves riding in a dilapidated car of heartache, we want to give up. When we’re melting in the heat of broken relationships, we want the comfort of reassurance. Or when we find ourselves sleeping in the cement floor of pain, we cry out to be freed from the torment.

Thank you God! For He has three steps to keep us moving forward in the vehicle of perseverance:

  1. No matter what you’re facing, give it all you got—the faith to believe, the commitment to endure and the strength not to give up because God said: “Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men…”
  2. Although you may not see the results, the changes or the solutions yet, joy still bubbles inside… “since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward.”
  3. Your efforts are not for the benefit of the other person or to change the circumstance; rather, “It is the Lord Christ you are serving.” Colossians 3:23

If we do it all for Him, freedom comes. If we focus on His reward, the journey is doable. And if we know God is with us, no matter how rough the journey, confidence increases, and peace comes back once again.

What will happen if you focus on God’s reward during your journey today?

Janet

 

Source: Three truths to keep you from giving up. | Janet Perez Eckles

%d bloggers like this: