Sunday, September 28, 2008

Our Week

We had a really fabulous week and are so thrilled to tell you all about it! We’ve been wanting to blog all week, but the IT Department has been testing the internet all week, so the internet has been so slow that we haven’t even been able to open up our blog. So this may be a bit of a long posting!

Work has been getting better and better each day. The first few days of work were very physical draining for us both. For you Californians, you’ll understand this comparison. For the first several days, when we finished work at 5pm, we seriously felt like we had climbed half dome throughout the day. We were that physically exhausted. It’s amazing how exhausting vacuuming, cleaning bathrooms, washing windows, polishing stainless steel, and stubbing the floor for eight hours can be!! God is already teaching us so much in this job placement.

In other news, we took a class in the evenings this week called “The Father Heart of God.” The class was lead by a South African OM missionary. We learned so much about God’s “father” heart. We were challenged to examine our relationship with our earthly father in order to understand how this innately affects our relationship with our heavenly father. We are so thrilled about all the opportunities we’ll have over the next two years to take classes and seminars in order to grow in our relationship with Christ.

Another highlight of the week was that John took a class last Monday on “open air evangelism.” He learned the techniques of sharing the message of salvation clearly through art. He’s going to be joining a team next Saturday to go to Copenhagen to share God’s love through open air evangelism and art. Please be praying for him next Saturday!

We had a very special opportunity last Wednesday to attend an evening service at a nearby church. Over the course of our time here in Koge, the ship has been able to build a great relationship with this little church. A few of the ship’s crew were asked to lead praise and worship and share their testimonies. The church’s pastor briefly spoke and told us that there are less than 300 Christians in all of Koge (the town’s population is about 56k). Wow. God definitely has our ship here for specific reason and purpose – to be a light to this town. May God use us to be a light to the people around us. At the end of the church service, we had a chance to connect with some of the church members. I (Jennifer) had a great conversation with the pastor’s daughter (a teenager) and she said there isn’t a youth group at her church or any church in Koge for that matter! Hard to believe. She and her family were actually onboard today (Sunday) and I had a chance to connect with her again. Pray for our new friendship.

I (Jennifer) have one quick prayer request to end this posting. As many of you know, I’ve suffered from knee problems since my freshman year of college. Because of the many, many stairs I have to climb each day (the ship has nine decks and our cabin is on deck two!) my knees have been really aggravating me. Please pray for strength and healing.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Koge, Denmark

I (Jennifer) have set many goals for myself throughout our time on board and one of the goals that I'm really excited about is to thoroughly research and study each port city we visit. In order to best serve each city, I feel it necessary to become acquainted with the history and culture of the city. So here some of the interesting facts I've discovered about Koge ~

-Koge is situated south of Copenhagen on Koge Bay, on the east coast of the island Zealand.
-The town was most likely founded as a result of the profitable catches of herring.
-Koge received its municipal charter in 1288.
-The oldest half timbered house in Denmark can be found in Koge (built in 1527). Near this house, a church was built called Sankt Nicolai. A lighthouse was built in the tower of the church and it became the first lighthouse in all of Denmark.
-Koge's town hall is the oldest still in use as such: it dates from 1552.
-Koge is one of the best preserved medieval towns in Denmark.
-The city covers an area of 98 square miles and has a total population of 56,637.
-The mayor of Koge, Marie Stærke, is 27 years of age and is currently Denmark's youngest mayor.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Monthly E-Mail Newsletter

We'll be e-mailing out a monthly newsletter and would love for each of you to receive it. We've sent out two already, so if you haven't received them, it means that we don't have your email address! If you would like to receive our monthly email newsletter, please leave a comment on this posting with your email address. Thanks!

Friday, September 19, 2008

Indian Cultural Event

We are LOVING living in an international community! The community is even more diverse than we had imagined. Last night, the Indians on board threw an Indian Cultural Event. We had such a fabulous time! They served homemade Indian appetizers and desserts and even Chai Tea. They gave us Indian names for the evening. John was named Surinder and I was named Neha (which means beautiful eyes!). The Indians lead us in several Indian dances, so as you can imagine I (Jennifer) LOVED it. We both really like Indian food and music, so we absolutely enjoyed ourselves! What fun! We feel so blessed to being living in such a dynamic, diverse and AMAZING community.

Exciting Lunch Today

We had a very exciting lunch today! While walking to lunch, the captain passed by John and asked if he (and me too!) wanted to have lunch with him, his wife and their baby girl. We were so honored! The captain and his wife are our age, so it was really awesome to connect with them. The captain is full of life and has a great sense of humor, his wife is very sweet, and their daughter is adorable, so it was quite a delightful lunch! After lunch, the captain told us to join them anytime. What a blessing! I think we'll definitely be taking them up on their offer! :)

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Our First Day of Work!

Yesterday was our last official day of training, so now it's on to working full time! We can't believe how fast the month of training went. We're definitely feeling ready and prepared! Today we started our ship jobs. We both got assigned to "accommodations," which means we'll be doing laundry and cleaning! This type of work will be dramatically different than the type of work we're used to, but please pray for us! We know God has quite a bit to teach us in this job assignment (namely humbleness!).

All new ship crew are assigned to "entry-level" jobs for their first ship job assignment. Usually new crew members stay in that department for 6 - 12 months and then get reassigned to a job that better fits their interests and skills. All new crew were either assigned to accommodations, the galley (kitchen), the deck or the engine room. The work was really quite labor intensive today, so we're both exhausted from a full days work. Manual labor is no joke!! Please pray for us as we begin this next chapter of ship life.

The exciting part is that our direct supervisor is really great; she's from Spain and she's really fun! The team seems very close knit, so we look forward to the community. The accommodations team's nickname is the "angels," so everyone has been calling John "Gabriel"!

Mexican Independence Day!

We're really enjoying the opportunity to live in a community with so many different cultures! Today is Mexico's Independence Day, so the whole ship was decorated in red, green and white and we had a WONDERFUL Mexican dinner! All of the Mexican's living on board were dressed in traditional Mexican costumes and Mexican music was playing all day. What fun it will be to celebrate so many nation's holidays!

Monday, September 15, 2008

Pictures of Our Ship Welcome Party and Copenhagen

We wanted to include a few photos of our welcome party on the ship and of our cabin! The current crew gave us a truly AWESOME welcome on board. When our bus arrived at the dock, the entire crew was on the outside decks waving flags and cheering! I told John that I felt like an Olympic athlete entering the opening ceremony! It was so cool to see all the different flags and people from all over the world ushering us on the ship. Our first day on the ship was truly one of the happiest days off my life. We have longed to be a part of the Logos Hope for so long and it almost seemed like a dream that we were finally on board. God is so good.

On Sunday, we had the afternoon off, so we decided to board a train for Copenhagen! Our ship is docked in Koge, Denmark, which is just about 45 minutes by train to Copenhagen. We loved the city. We had a fabulous time exploring the city. Enjoy a few of John's photos! The highlight for me (Jennifer) was seeing the statue of The Little Mermaid, which sits on a rock in the Copehagen harbor. This small statue is a Copenhagen icon and a major tourist attraction.
For those of you who don't know, the original "Little Mermaid" is a fairy tale by the Danish poet and author Hans Christian Andersen.

Our First Week on the Ship

Our first week aboard the Logos Hope has been fantastic! Everyone has been so friendly, open and encouraging. Our training group added about 70 people to the already 300+ people living on board, so there are almost 400 people living aboard the ship now! We have good news and bad news. We'll start with the bad first. The plan was for the ship to set sail for the UK on September 30, but we were informed this week that the ship isn't going to be quite ready to sail. To make a very long story short, when OM purchased the ship a few years back, the ship was classified as a "cargo ship." Before we can set sail, we need to complete many requirements in order to become a "passenger ship." The ship leadership had really hoped the we would have completed all the specifications by the end of this month, but it seems that we might be docked in Denmark for a few more months as the last few projects are completed. At first we were a bit disappointed by the news as we're so excited to set sail, but we know God's timing is perfect and we are trusting in that.

The good news is that we're not just sitting idle in Denmark waiting for the ship to be done and ready to sail. The ship is in full ministry which means locals can come aboard the ship to visit our book fair and for ship tours. And there are also countless opportunities for ministry such as visiting local homeless shelters, troubled youth centers, etc. So all in all, even with the news, we still had a terrific first week aboard the ship. We know this is what God has for us and we are so thrilled to be in His will. Today is our last official day of training, so very soon we'll be off and running! Tomorrow we'll be doing lifeboat and safety drills all day and then we start our full time jobs on Wednesday!!

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Pictures from our training in Koge

Enjoy pictures of our training in Koge! The first photo was taken on the car ferry we took over to Denmark. What a cool experience to take a ferry across the North Sea! The training was held at a youth hostel on the North Sea, so the next photo is a view of the Sea from our hostel. The third photo is a really common plant in both Holland and Denmark that we thought was quite funny looking! During breaks, we played lots of ping pong, so I had to include a photo. I (Jennifer) was surprisingly pretty good! All those tennis lessons finally paid off! :) The last three photos are from a walk we took from our hostel. Every home has gorgeous flowers! One of the houses that we went by was giving away apples from their tree, so John tried one! Yummy!!

More Pictures from Holland

We wanted to show you a few more pictures from our training in Holland. The first one is to show you a thatched roof! Most of the buildings and homes in Holland have thatched roofs ~ really neat! The second photo is to show you how popular bikes really are in Holland! The last photo is a campfire at our last night of training.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Our pre-ship training

Following our 10-day mission training in the Netherlands, we took a bus to Koge, Denmark on Saturday, August 30 for another 10-day training. This training consisted of missionaries all headed to the Logos Hope. The training was held at a very rustic youth hostel about 40 minutes from where the ship is docked. The hostel was set on the North Sea (in the shadow of a Viking Memorial!), so it was quite a gorgeous and peaceful site for the training.

We had a very full 10 days in Koge! We spent the majority of the time going through a Basic Safety Training (BST) course. We learned about fire safety (we each took turns putting a fire out!), crowd management, ship terminology, personal survival, and what to do in many emergency situations. We also completed a basic first aid course. The highlight was spending one afternoon at the pool! We had to flip life rafts and learn all sorts of cool techniques to survive in the case of an emergency. Throughout our time in Koge, we also received training on public speaking, writing and delivering our testimonies, storytelling, relationship building, living and working with other cultures, and more!

There were 70 people at this training from 30 nations!! We’ve started to build friendships with people from France, Mexico, Whales, England, the Netherlands, Japan, Chili, Canada, Germany, Malaysia, South Africa and Singapore… just to name a few! There was just one other married couple at the training, so we spent quite a bit of time with them. The wife is from the USA and the husband is from France, so I've been practicing my French! :)

Wednesday, September 10, 2008


We arrived at the ship last night!! We are sooooo thrilled!! I'll blog again very soon with all the details!