Monday, December 29, 2008

New Job for Jennifer!

Great news! I (Jennifer) started in a new department today! After 3 1/2 months in the cleaning team, I have been transferred to the Guest Relations department. Our ship has 80+ beds available for guests, so we have a department on board that handles the booking, hospitality, etc. of guests. Over the course of the next month or so, I will be training to become the manager of the department. I am thrilled to say the least! Praise God for this awesome opportunity.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Christmas Photos!

Christmas Eve dinner with our good friends the Stahl's (Switzerland)

Looking good for Christmas!

Our ship family enjoying Christmas Eve dinner together

Christmas morning!

My best friend Amy sent me a little furry friend for Christmas!

John enjoying his new drum sticks and shirt!

We opened our cabin on Christmas Day to visitors. John made his famous Christmas mint brownies!

Our cabin decorated for Christmas!

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Thursday, December 25, 2008

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas! We hope each of you had a wonderful day celebrating Christ's birth. We have had an AMAZING Christmas Eve and Christmas on board the Logos Hope. Last evening, we had a incredible dinner served by all the leadership on board. What a treat! We then had a beautiful Christmas Eve service followed by an all-ship Christmas gift exchange. What fun to have a gift exchange with 350+ people! We finished Christmas Eve off by an Ashford family tradition of reading "Twas the Night Before Christmas."

This morning, the chef and his staff prepared a fantastic brunch. We had a wonderful Christmas service followed by "open cabins" all afternoon. Everyone opened their cabin for visitors all day long. We had 100+ guests visit our cabin this afternoon. What a joy. We'll put pictures up soon. We pray that you had a fabulous day with friends and family! Love to all of you.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Christmas Advent Service

Today was the fourth Sunday of the Christmas Advent season. Over the course of these four Sunday on board, the ship's crew has been responsible for planning and organizing the Sunday advent services. Many weeks ago, John and I were approached about leading one of the four services. Of course, we said "yes!" Our advent service was this morning and thanks to God, it was AWESOME! We were so honored to be asked to organize one of the four services. Neither of us had ever put together a church service before, so it was a great learning experience for us both. Thanks to God, everything went smoothly this morning. The praise and worship music was lively and full of energy and the sermon was deep and meaningful. We asked a few girls to perform a dance to "Breath of Heaven" and it was so beautiful. John and I MC'd the service and had so much fun doing it! Praise God for giving us this amazing opportunity to continue building our skill sets and being able to serve the ship's company and God while doing it!

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Leadership Course

We just completed a four-week course on leadership, specially on leading an outreach team. We work five days a week, have one day off and then have one day to do ministry and/ or outreach in the community. We were selected to participate in this course in order to begin leading outreach teams. On board, we call the ministry/ outreach day an "e-day," short for "experience day." Experience days can be anything from visiting a nursing home, speaking at a local church, leading tours on board the ship, or helping with an on board event. We are so incredibly thankful for all the tremendous training we've received so far on board the ship. What a time for us.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Fabulous 29th Birthday!

I (Jennifer) had a FABULOUS birthday yesterday! Thanks to so many of you for your cards and emails. On board, there is a birthday calendar, so everyone knows when it's your birthday. I've never been wished "Happy Birthday" by so many people on my birthday. I bet over 100 people wished me a "Happy Birthday" and in many, many languages! The funniest is the Netherlands greeting. Instead of saying "Happy Birthday," they say "Congratulations." And not only do they congratulate the birthday person, they are congratulate the family and good friends too! So several of our Dutch friends were congratulating John all throughout the day! ha ha! What fun!

I had a wonderful, fun filled day. In the morning, I had the awesome opportunity to help out with a school visit. We have several school visits each month from local schools that are interested in taking their students to see our ship. The 50+ students were 8th graders (13/ 14 years old) from a local Christian school. We put on a great program informing them all about OM and our ship and I was the MC! What a fantastic time! After the program, we took the students in small groups on tours throughout the ship. I was able to connect with many of the students. They had a GREAT time!

For lunch, my ship family threw me a party (see pictures below). What fun to be able to celebrate them. They made me feel so loved and appreciated. I worked in the afternoon and then in the evening, John took me out for a night on the town. What a treat! Never would I have imagined that I would be spending my 29th birthday in Koge, Denmark! :)

My sweet little friend Kara giving me a big birthday hug!

My lunch party with ship family. They decorated the table so nicely in red, white and blue! :)

John made me a WONDERFUL red velvet cake with peppermint candy cane frosting. Delicious!

Cheers! Don't worry.... it's just grape juice. No wine allowed in the ship's dining room! ;)

One of my ship children made all these cute flowers out of napkins for the table decor! Amazing how resourceful we are on this ship!

Our little friends are very eager to try the cake!

Oh yeah baby! My husband is such an AMAZING baker!

My cleaning team surprised me with my name in cookies! So cute!

Opening cards and gifts back in the cabin.

My best friend Amy mailed these cute gloves for my birthday! They matched my shirt perfectly! She's trying to keep this ol' missionary lady savvy! ;)

Sunday, December 14, 2008

More Pictures from "Christmas Around the World"

Enjoy a few pictures from our 3rd weekend of "Christmas Around the World."

This weekend, John played the part of the wise man in the live nativity!

Following the star in the East....

I'm so proud of my actor husband! ;)

Posing with El Capitano, our ship's mascot!

The inside of our American display booth!

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Christmas Cookie Making

We had a blast this week making Christmas cookies with our ship family. We wanted to teach them how to make a traditional "American" Christmas cookie, so we made those fun twisted candy cane cookies! What fun!

John giving a cookie making demonstration to the fam.

Mom and son. ;)

Our beautiful daughter Lydia.


Proud parents. :)
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Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Our Story

The ship's journalist wrote a short piece on us and we wanted to share it with you. She is in the process of creating a brochure for our ship that will be used when we go to the UK and our story will be featured!

John and Jennifer Ashford (28) (USA)

When John and Jennifer Ashford (USA) met, John had a dream of sailing around the world to bring help and hope to the people he met. Jennifer told him of OM Ships and years later, after they'd been married for a year, they left successful lives in California to volunteer on Logos Hope. John was a swimming coach and had just finished his studies in kinesthesiology and Jennifer worked in non-profit organisations. On the ship, they were assigned to the cleaning team, affectionately referred to as the "Angels." Jennifer said, "Both of us have learned a lot about servanthood being Angels. We really came to serve. In my head, we came to serve with the work experience and knowledge that we had; but no, we came physically to serve the people on the ship. I think God has been teaching us a lot about what being a servant means."

Monday, December 8, 2008

Christmas Around the World

We're two weekends into the "Christmas Around the World" event on board the Logos Hope. I wrote a posting about this event mid-November while we were still in the preparation period, so I wanted to give you an update on how it's going. The event is taking place over three weekends leading up to Christmas. The first weekend was November 29th and 30th, followed by December 6th and 7th and then again this coming weekend, December 13th and 14th.

During these three weekends, the ship is open to everyone in Koge and surrounding areas to enjoy a taste of how people from many different nations celebrate the meaning and wonder of Christmas. Visitors have the chance to visit Christmas displays from around the world, take a tour of the ship, browse through our extensive book fair, enjoy live Christmas music, and meet crew members from around the world.

John and I, along with a few others, coordinated the USA booth for the event (see pictures below). The country booth making was actually a competition between the countries and the good ol' USA took first place! We were THRILLED to say the least! I'm (Jennifer) not usually a very competitive person, but since we spent SOO much time on the booth, I was extremely pleased to take first prize. :)

The first two weekends of the event have been a HUGE success. We have had hundreds of people come on board each day for the event. Besides helping man the USA booth, we've also helped in the cafe and greeted guests as they arrive on board. We also have a live nativity (including a goat and a sheep!) and last weekend John played the part of the angel Gabriel! We've had such a wonderful time meeting hundreds of Danes and sharing with them the true meaning of Christmas.

Our USA booth!

Hello from Frosty the Snowman!

John and a fellow American painted this awesome mural of a "typical American street" during Christmas.

The "Oriental" booth

Dutch booth complete with a windmill, wooden shoes and tulips!

South Korean booth

Posing with the sheep from the live nativity!

These little bread men are a Swiss Christmas tradition. Yummy!

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Saturday, December 6, 2008

Walk Thru the Bible

We had the AWESOME opportunity to have a Walk Thru the Bible representative on board this week from Bermuda. Over the course of four morning sessions, we went through the Walk Thru the Old Testament Seminar. More than 1.5 million people throughout the world have taken this seminar, making it one of the most attended seminars of all time! Through the course of the week, we memorized the 77 major events and people of the Old Testament through fun hand motions and we can say them all in less than three minutes! We also learned the major themes and purposes of the Old Testament. What a fabulous seminar. The teaching was a GREAT review for both of us. If you ever have the chance to take the seminar, we'd highly recommnend it!

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Connecting with local teens

John and I had the awesome opportunity to connect with a group of local Danish teens last night. A small group of teens came on board yesterday from a local boarding school to learn more about our ship and the work we're doing in the community. John and I were asked to give a short presentation to them last night about OM ships, the Logos Hope and and to share our stories. We had a GREAT time. What fun to be able to meet, interact and share with them. We both have such big heart for youth, so we were so thankful for this opportunity.

Friday, November 28, 2008

Some Photos

Here are some of the more artistic photos I have been taking.

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