Friday, May 29, 2009

First few days in Cardiff!

We are LOVING Cardiff! On the day of our arrival, we had cold, rainy weather, but it's been gorgeous since then! This is the first time we are experiencing temperatures in the 70's since we left home last August. We are thrilled to say the least. It was definitely a long, cold winter. Thank God for summer coming! Our ship is berthed in Cardiff Bay which is an upscale area with lots of great restaurants, shops and museums. We're receiving lots of foot traffic, so that's wonderful! The first night of our arrival, we went out with a local to a quick tour of the town. Cardiff has a population of 310,000, so it's quite a bit smaller than the other capital cities we've been to recently but very beautiful.

My first name "Jennifer" is a Welsh name (meaning "fair one"), so I've always been quite interested in Wales! :) Jennifer is a form of the Welsh name "Guinevere." My maiden name "Rice" also has a Welsh origin, meaning "to rush, a rushing; figuratively, a hero, a brave, impetuous man." So I'm feeling very at home here in Wales. :)

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Photos from Dublin

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Goodbye Dublin, Hello Cardiff

We left Dublin yesterday afternoon and arrived in Cardiff this morning. Thank God for a relatively smooth sail! Unfortunately, it was raining cats and dogs when we arrived in Wales this morning, but we still had a big crowd on the quayside welcoming us back to the UK!

We had a GREAT few weeks in Dublin. It was a bit of a slower port for us in comparison to other recent ports, but we still had over 9,000 visitors, gave tours to over 2,600 people, put on 18 on board events and sold 14,000 books! One in ten people that came on board bought a Bible, so that's awesome! We'll post Dublin pictures soon!

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Hosting the Sunday service on the Logos Hope

Today I (John) M.C.'d the Sunday service here on the Logos Hope. I had a great time stepping out of my comfort zone and onto the stage. It was a neat opportunity to connect with the people of Dublin.

Girl's Youth Club

On Thursday, I (Jennifer) had the awesome privilege to help put on a fun program for an after-school girl's club. What a blast! Two other girls(an Australian and a Duthie) from the ship and I prepared a fun, interactive program for the girls to share the message of Christ with them. There were 10 girls ages 7 - 12. They were so fun and energetic and so thrilled for us to be there. They got a kick out of the fact that we were from three different counties and kept saying to me, "You're from AMERICA??" So funny! Thanks to God for this fun opportunity to share the love of Jesus with these young girls.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Interesting Facts about Ireland!

-According to some historians, over 40% of all American presidents have had some Irish ancestry.

-In 1800, the population of Ireland was almost twice as large as that of the United States. By 2000, America’s population was about 60 times that of Ireland.

-The "Oscar" statuette handed out at the Academy Awards was designed by Cedric Gibbons, who was born in Dublin in 1823. Gibbons emigrated to the US, and was considered MGM’s top set designer from the twenties right on through the fifties, working on over 1,500 films. Besides designing the coveted prize, Mr. Gibbons managed to win a dozen of them himself.

-Bram Stoker was working as a civil servant in Dublin when he wrote “Dracula” in 1897.

-The Vikings founded Dublin in 988.

-“Gulliver’s Travels” writer Jonathan Swift is buried in St. Patrick's Cathedral in Dublin.

-The national symbol of Ireland is the Celtic harp, not the shamrock.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

US Ambassador to Ireland

This morning, we had our official opening ceremony to open the ship in Dublin. In each port, we have an open ceremony, but usually just the leaders on board are invited to attend, so haven't been to one yet. Well, this morning we had our chance! For each official ceremony, many Ambassadors are invited to attend the event. Usually just a handful will attend. The US Ambassador to Ireland RSVP'd "yes" for this event, so John and I were asked to host him for the morning! What an INCREDIBLE honor! He was so friendly and asked us lots of great questions. After the event, we had the chance to show him around the ship and connect with him a bit. Thanks to God for this amazing opportunity! What a way to start our port in Dublin!

We're in Dubliln!

We arrived in Dublin late last evening!! We are SOOO thrilled to be in Dublin! More to come soon....

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Goodbye Belfast, Hello Dublin

We left Belfast yesterday and are sailing to Dublin as I write this posting. What an amazing time we had in Belfast! We had over 18,000 visitors in Belfast and gave over 5,600 tours of the ship! And we had over 25 on board events for locals! In our book fair, we sold one Bible every 4 1/2 minutes. This was definitely our busiest port thus far. Praise God for so many N. Irish having the desire to visit our ship. We pray that each and every visitor took one step closer in their relationship with Jesus Christ.

Monday, May 11, 2009

A Few Pictures in Belfast

Overlooking the city of Belfast.

California Cafe in the middle of downtown Belfast! :)

St. Patrick's Cathedral
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Sunday, May 10, 2009

Women's Coffee

Yesterday morning, I (Jennifer) was the Master of Ceremonies (MC) for a Women's Coffee Event for local Belfast ladies. If every port we go to, we have many on board events and programs for locals to attend (for women, youth, college students, pastors, etc.) Since we've begun sailing, we've had a Women's Coffee in each port for local ladies to attend and be encouraged. I feel so blessed that I've had the great privilege in being involved in each of them! In most of the past Coffee's, my role has been to host a table of ladies during the program, but this time I was asking to MC the program! I was so honored and thrilled for this opportunity. The program was wonderful and the 120+ ladies in attendance really seemed to enjoy themselves and were encouraged in their faith. I am so thankful to have had this AWESOME opportunity!

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Belfast, Northern Ireland

Belfast is the capital city of Northern Ireland and has a population of approximately 480,000. Belfast was granted city status in 1888. Historically, Belfast has been a center for the Irish linen industry, tobacco production, rope-making and shipbuilding. The city's main shipbuilders, Harland and Wolff, built the Titanic! What a claim to fame! :) Today, Belfast remains a center for industry, as well as the arts, higher education and business. The city suffered greatly during the period of disruption, conflict, and destruction called "the Troubles," but lately has undergone a sustained period of calmness and economic and commercial growth. Belfast's city center has undergone considerable expansion and regeneration in recent years. Just a bit about Belfast!

Saturday, May 2, 2009

On Board Events

We've had the great privilege of participating in two on board events so far in Belfast. Last night, our events team put on an excellent event for homeless people from several different homeless shelters in the area. What a neat night! This was the first time we've had an event like this on the Logos Hope. Several different social workers brought their clients to our ship for dinner and a great program. John and I were so happy to be able to help out with the event. I think many of the people that attended were very touched and had a truly wonderful time.

This afternoon we helped host an alumni event on board. In every port, we have an event for locals that served with OM in the past. We love having the opportunity to meet people from all over the world and connect. We feel so privileged that God has called us to this awesome work!