Saturday, December 31, 2005

New Year 2006

So here am I. Protagonist of the ending and beggining of a new year. Mixed emotions when thinking of different things. When thinking of my home country, family and friends I get a bit sad, not that much though, perhaps because I am getting used. However I know we are togueter in the spirit of God. This is my third year in a row I spend my b-day, christmas and new year out, and only God knows how many more will come to pass. However, even though it might sound horrible, I get to keep the joy of God in my heart as I know that I am not alone at all. He fills my heart with the joy, love and tenderness only He can give and He makes me complete. The Word of God assures me that He will be with me until the last of my breaths or until He comes for his church, and in the time being, He's sent his Spirit to work wonders through my life. So that compensates the fact that I can't be with my family during these times. When thinking about the way the world celebrate the upcoming of a new year, that get me mad. It's incredible how millions of people turn out to the streets to celebrate in such a pagan way a simple pass over of a year(when they should be celebrating the victory of Jesus Christ above the death for our sake). Millions and millions of people thinking that drinking and partying and doing all kind of evil things to satisfy themselves is gonna make them feel good. And the truth is that they are wasting their lives and the time is ticking away. Yeah, the time is passing by and their opportunities to repent and get saved by the blood of the Lamb (Jesus Christ) is about to come to a halt. Very soon, all these useless celebration will mean nothing for them, cuz that's not gonna help them when the moment of truth comes. So I am standing at the uppest part of the ship watching the people dancing, getting drunk and celebrating and I could just think about the sacrifice of God toward these humanity and how it has been turned down for so long by so many. They've heard about Him, they have no excuse. They simply don't want to change. It's a matter of will rather than a matter of knowledge. But the time of truth is coming soon. I pray that us christians who have been saved by his grace stand up firmly and open our mouths and keep speaking out loud about his love and mercy and chance of repentance for all the people. And I pray that I let myself be used by God every single day of this new year, I pray that His perfect will and purpose for my life keeps running and that the sin that lives in me be decreased every day more and that the Holy Spirit that lives in me grows more and more. I have many expectatives for this new year and I pray that God bless me in an overflowing sort of way. Amen

Thursday, December 29, 2005

The Spiritual Battle is Won Already

The glory and the honor be to God my Lord Jesus whose love for me is as big as the inmensity of the universe. These last days has been of furious battle in the spiritual sphere around my life. I am even more convinced that I am walking in the right direction. Somewhere, sometime I read or heard that when the devil attacks you the more fierce and brutal is because you are doing something or you are living in such a way that affects him directly in the spiritual sphere. It's not easy, though, to be under constant heavy attack but at the end of the day even those situations makes you tougher and makes you mature emotionally and spiritually. praise the Lord for it. So one day after I started my training as an Assit. Mgr. I was informed that I had to report in the crew bar with the rest of team of supervisors and a couple of high ranking officers of the dept. It was my celebration for my promotion. I had to go, because I had to, there was no other way and when they asked me what I was going to drink, I simply said, "redbull" They said "are you nuts" and they ordered for me a vodka and mixed with the redbull and handled it over to me. I knew that it was gonna get tense as I said that I wasn't gonna accept it and only a redbull I would drink. One thing is to describe the face the high ranking officer put and another very different is to having seen it. They were totally offended by me firmly negative that they just turned their back to me and completely ignored me for the rest of the night. I managed to say thanks to the dept. manager for giving me the opportunity in this new position (but what I really meant was that I was thankful to God for having used him to grant me the position) and tried to present the gospel to him, but he just said, he didn't want to hear about it. So after that day things got real nasty for me, cuz as a trainee I am supposed to rotate in every single sub-department of the huge F&B dept. Nobody wanted me, nobody wanted to teach me and tutor me. The first day I started as a cook, I got myself all dressed up as a cook and started to learn with some of the cooks, and then suddenly one of the chefs, practically kicked me out of that kitchen and sent me to some other place. The next day then, I was assigned to work as a server in the exclusive restaurant of the ship and then another chef came over and practically kicked me out of there. Then in the afternoon of that day I was assigned to work in the bars and the bar manager didn't want but this time he was pressed and he accepted in a bad way. So while all this was happening I was feeling real bad emotionally and devastated but then I reminded that God put me here and he was gonna take me through in complete victory. So I had to spend a lot of time talking to him and listening in order to keep myself there and I think God hasn't abandoned me, not a second. Now, the bars. I've never drank beers, smoked cigars and liquors, so my knowledge of these thing is as much as is my knowledge of the chemical and physical properties of the sun. So in a few days, I have had to learn tons of things regarding the bar service and how to prepare cocktails and drinks and the names of all the liquors and all their differences and all the crap. Due to the fact that the manager pass every day at the bar where I am at and come over and ask me all kind of question about liquors and cigars and stuff and he expects me to know. So I have been doing a lot of memorizing lately. As I was thinking about this particular situation, I thought that many people that know me would think that it's not right for me to be selling beers and liquors and preparing drinks and stuffs. But I think that even in this kind of apparent contradiction in the christian values God has a purpose for and the question would rather be "what is it God, show it to me"
I thank God for my family support in prayers. I am so happy for I saw them today in Colon for a few hours and we shared togueter a good worthy time.

Friday, December 23, 2005

Promoted to Asst. F&B Manager

Where to start? I am so overwhelmed at this point of my life to see what's going on with it. When people find out that I have a degree in PT in college they usually ask me in huge disbelief the reason why I am spending or wasting (as per them) my time on a ship away from home and friends when I could be making good money doing what I studied in college. Well, ever since the beginning of my story on the ships, I knew it was God's plan for my life. Every single step I took in order to get in here my family and I prayed for it asking for God's direction and approval. My dad used to pray "God, if it's not yours, destroy it and close the window and give peace of mind to us about it" and yet everything went smooth and I got everything I needed (which was a lot of requirements) including the money I needed to travel the first time to the ship in based in New York. So I conclude that even when it appears to the normal mind that there is something wrong with my life I know that I am in the right place at the right time, which is the time of God. Every second I am more convinced of that truth and when I tell this to people who ask I feel myself more and more confident about it. So thinking about all this, the question in my mind for the last year was, "now where?" I've been in this position for the last 2 years and I was feeling that there was nothing else for me there, but I didn't know which way to go. There were basically two main direction. On the one side there was the position of waiter. Now, in terms of money, they make good amount of it, and since I am here one of my purpose is to save as much as I can. However, I never saw myself doing that job and it's not that I have anything against waiters, but I always felt that that was not for me. On the other side there was the position of Food and Beverage Manager Asst. and even though it's sort of glamorous to be in that managment position with all the priviliges and stuff, the amount of responsabilities and stress surpasses by all the present ones I had as a lower level supervisor. And yet I wanted so bad to go forward, but had no idea where. Although everything pointed to me that my next step was F&B Magr.Asst. but I resisted the idea for so long and finally got to the conclusion that I was not gonna pursue it. If it was gonna come and be offered to me, then I would gladly accept it, perhaps in a coward way to be able to say if it went wrong that I didn't ask for it. I spoke to my dad about it couple of weeks ago and he said, well keep that in prayers and see what God has to say. So I have been doing. Almost two months ago I was having a conversation with my boss (current F&B Magr.Asst.) and I told him about my intentions to ask for it as soon as we were done with the US public health audit. He said, yeah you should. And that was it. Never talked about that with anyone else. Couple of days before he signed off for vacation he sent an email to our Dept. Manager telling him that I was up to the position and he salt and peppered it a little bit with my skills and stuffs. That same day he left we were hit by USPH and we passed and everyone was happy afterwards. Couple of days ago my other boss told me, get ready you have an interview with the manager. So I prayed about it and asked God that above all things, his will for my life was done. And I suited my best short sleeve shirt and got myself ready for it. I presented to his office and from there on God took control over my mind and mouth. I said what I was supposed to say in a very confident and wise way. The interview didn't last more than 6 minutes. He said, ok, I am recommending you to the head office to get promoted based on your supervisors strong recommendations and on your good performance. Praise the Lord, I thought and I said thanks. Few hours ago, as I started to get ready for work my roomie came in and handled me a piece of paper with an email from the manager saying that I was promoted starting inmediately from the next day (today). So there are no words to express how happy I feel today and how grateful I feel toward God who hasn't given upon me and continuesly gives me from his grace and mercy. Recently I have discovered the power of the knees. When you kneel down to pray you basically are telling God, you know what, I humble myself to the dirt and ask for your way and blessings over my life. All the Glory and Honor to the King of Kings, Lord of Lords and my Saviour who is in control of my life. Amen.

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

God is in Control

My only concern I had when I was told I was being transferred to M/S Liberty was that I knew it was gonna be very hard to get in my hands the guitar I bought on ebay a week before the news; specially because when I asked to the ship's office personel they told me that they would not mail anything to europe. So it's being almost 3 months since I purchased my guitar and finally after a lot of emails and struggle they sent it to me. I kind of lost hope to get it and if it was to come I thought it might be broken or something. So when the office personel of this ship told me that my guitar had arrived I was anxious and it's not that I hadn't pray that God send it safely, but still I was still doubtful. Big box. I thought, well, at least it's still protected. I took it, came into my cabin, looked at it for a while, still in some kind of disbelief and then thanked God for it. I took a couple of pictures of the unopened box for the record and then started ripping apart the box and everything until I got in my hand my so awaited guitar. Took some more pictures and a small video clip and then started playing it. It is the very first guitar I've ever bought myself with my own money and I can't help but to think that God is good. It has a great sound plus I can plug it into a speaker system. So this last couple of days, I've been practicing, playing and singing a lot. It's really good. I thought I was gonna get it as my b-day present, but instead I got it as my own christmas present. Blessed be the Lord for He had it all sort it out since the beginning.
On the good note of the day, couple of hours ago, God gave me the opportunity to share my faith with a friend. I had been praying for it for a while now, and today God crossed our ways and so I talked to him and presented to him the gospel. I recently read a book of apologetic by Josh MacDowell and I learned a lot about all the legal and historic evidence of Jesus' resurrection from the death and these powerful tools I got to use today with my friend. I think that we christians have to be prepared at all time as the apostol Paul said to present defense of our faith, not like if we were believing blindly but with a strong conviction of our faith in Christ. I believe strongly that it is by faith in Christ and not by deeds that we come to be saved, but I believe that such faith has to be knowleadable and full of wisdom in order to be able to present our testimony in a way that people get out of their confusion and world of lies. I've been reading the book of Acts these last days and to me, it is quite amazing to read how Paul had always a word of wisdom to tell. He was crystal clear about the message he was delivering plus he was wired constantly with God so the Spirit of God was putting in him what he had to say. Thanks God for the blessings upon my life.

Monday, December 19, 2005

They Came Finally

After finally a long period of time the so promised and so waited visit of US public health department came to pass. And it was a huge headache for everyone in the department, cuz we were almost 100% sure that they would come as soon as we landed in America after our european season. But they didn't. The sense of urgency from the team had decreased seriously and people were getting really psicologically tired about the whole thing. It was an hectic morning, right after the announcement over the PA system voicing that they were onboard, everyone started running up and down and around, panic everywhere, yelling and screaming and cursing and a general stress filling the air. I think that over the time I have come to handle better the stress under this particular circumstance. The first 3 or 4 times it was a very shocking experience to me and it would make me feel down and overwhelmed. However this time, I think I did a better job. I don't feel myself emotionally, psicologically and spiritualy drained and exhausted to the point where I would not give a sock about everything the following days. I think I am maturing in this particular area of my life. Finally after the good inspector came and inspected my areas and he left I was allowed to finish my shift and I went for a good well-deserved rest. I was physically exhausted though, but happy and satisfied. Later on I found out that we passed with 99%. The dept. manager was dissapointed cuz he would've wanted us to score the perfect score, specially because this is a brand new ship, but didn't happen. Honestly, I don't care a bit how much the score was, as long as we pass, scores don't make me sleepless.
On the other note of the week, these days I've been struggling seriously with the well-doing of my spiritual life. It hasn't gone as smooth as I would like and to me it seems like I am loosing more than winning my daily spiritual battles. I can't help but to feel terrible and disappointed toward myself. I think it is not even more about the fact that makes me feel vulnerable to the enemy attacks or sad and unhappy but the fact that I am not complying with the mission God has given to me and nothing else fills me with such terror as to know that I am failing to comply with the purpose assigned to me since before of the creation of the world, when God chose me and designed his perfect plan for my life. To realized that the time is passing or flying and I am not sharing and praying enough to the people that surrounds me about his sacrifice in the cross for them to be saved just make me feel as unhappy as a man can get. I keep praying that God helps me find a way to change all this.

Friday, December 02, 2005

Visit to Colon, Panama

Have you ever wondered why is it that the best days ever in your life, you get only to live from time to time? While my wondering is not far from the reality that when you have Christ in your heart and you walk in obedience and in victory, everyday would be "the best day ever". However my line of thinking here refers to the God-given emotional feelings when you enjoy something in particular so much that drive you to the conclusion that certain day was just great, yet not a ordinary day.
I am really happy and joyful for I got to meet part of my family yesterday. As I wrote before, part of the wondeful itinerary of this ship, includes Panama. So my parents came over to visit the ship and to spend some nice time together after a little more than 6 months of me being out of town. So I went off the ship at 8:00 am and called mom, and she said they were delayed, but they were on their way. While waiting out there in the pier, I ran into my friend who used to work in the ships also but not anymore, and we talked about the old times. Finally my parents and my sister arrived and we started our way into the ship. We went to my cabin and talked about everything and then we started to walk around the ship, trying to show them as much as I could, in our limited period of time. My sister shooting pictures everywhere she turned, guess she is gonna do some bragging about them with her friends at college. And so we spent a nice end-of-the morning and beggining of the afternoon on the ship and then we went out for lunch. It was so much good to see them and be seen. They loved so much the ship and its interior. One remarkable thing was that most of the crew members, some of them which I don't even know, went out of their way to politely welcome and show a huge smile toward my family. That I loved it and am thanked to them. Well, I guess it'll be till next month when we come to Panama again, that I will be seeing them again.

Wednesday, November 30, 2005

White River Rafting Experience in Costa Rica

It was such an awesome experience I had with the rafting thing. These last weeks, I've been feeling myself like wanting to do some xtreme sports. So my boss (Shaun) and my friend Alexander planned on going to this tour that was being offered for a nice price to the crew. As soon as I finished my shift at 10 am I changed clothes and met met my friends on the bus. We were so excited about it, and the tourist guy said we were lucky for the last 2 or 3 weeks it had been raining cats and dogs non-stop, but the last 2 days it had been a wonderful sunny day. So with this in mind, we set our mind to get some great fun. The bus trip from the ship to the starting point was boring, probably an hour and half, but as soon as we got a glimpse of the rough river from the bridge we got into the mood. So we were given the basic instructions of how to handle and paddle and stuff, and into the water we went. It was probably 50 of us crew members in groups of 5 to 8 in a raft. It wasn't really that rough, but it was so much fun. We spinned around on the toughest parts and we did a lot of water splashing to the other fellows, to the point we got to be known as the annoying team, as we harrased so much the other guys, splashing them and pulling them down from the raft into the river. My first time, and I think I want to do it again, but next time in a toughest river. By the way, the name of this famous river for the fans of rafting is "Reventazon River", which meanns, "violently tear apart", and that because this river change its course very frequently dragging whatever it finds on its way. So right after we finished up, we were driven to the restaurant of the owner of this small touristic company and we had some real nice caribbean food. So much alike what I eat in my own home country, if not the same. So I felt like at home. And in a joke manner, I tolk my friends...."I can smell it", and they asked, what?, I said, I can smell already my country. We were 2 hours drive from the frontier to Panama. So at this moment we are sailing to Colon, Panama, and I will be so glad to see my family who are coming onboard. Looking forward so much to it.

Alfa Team, Alfa Team

One of the main or I would rather say, the biggest source of disaster on any ship is called "fire", and because that is a constant reality, there have been developed international safety regulations that all the major and not so major companies that owns ships have to follow, or otherwise they are not allowed to set sail. Anyway, all these things and more we have to hear over and over again and we do all sort of drills like for example, fire drills, man overboard drills, bomb search drills, medical disaster drills among others. However one thing is to know about them in theory, and another very different is to deal with it in reality. Yesterday in the morning, there was a major fire in one of my areas of supervision in one of the many kitchens. By the time I learned about it, it was already controlled. My eyes didn't give credit to what I saw and how the pantry was afterwards the fire was extinguished. How did it happened? was my first question. I was very nervous, because had it been a human mistake then many heads would roll over and mine could be among those. Almost nobody realized about the whole event, although it is located in a very busy section where all the guest pass, the area was blocked by security and so there was no panic at all. Right after all the ship top deck officers, and engine officers left the area we started the cleaning of the area and then that was it for me as I left cuz my shift was long pass over. I went to my cabin and I was stressed out and worry, because in this kind of situation, always, someone have to pay even if it's not the responsible of the incident. So I prayed and I put all the investigation process in the hands of God and asked for protection against any injustice and wrong doing from the investigators. And to my surprise I slept peaceful. After all, God heard my prayers and answered me. Apparently, someone left a plastic item on top of the bread toaster and when the cook came in the morning, he turned it on to start toasting bread, but didn't remove the plastic glass rack, and left the area for some time, and when he came back the whole area was on fire. Now, he said he didn't see that rack there when he switched on the toaster, and the bar cleaner who also works there, said he saw it since the day before lying on top of it. And to be as honest as possible with myself and God, I am not completely sure if I saw the rack lying on top of the toaster. And there is my concern, cuz as one of the supervisors on duty of that area, the logic is that I should've removed it had I saw it. But then again, I can't remember clearly if I saw it or not. Anyway, the two guys on the spot at the moment are the cook and the bar cleaner who work there. And after all, it was a shocking experience to pass through the event of a fire onboard.

Monday, November 28, 2005

Day at the Beach

What a weird thing, I realized that the reason to this heavy headache I got early in the morning today was due to the fact that I hadn't drink coffee during the night. What I monster of headache was it. I had to go to bed for an hour just to learn that it didn't help. So I think I finally got addicted to it. During my days of college I used to drink a lot of coffee along with coke to keep myself awake during the nights of study, but right after those nights, I wouldn't drink any and nothing would happen. Many years have passed since my college days are over and now I find myself drinking coffee again to keep myself awake during my PM shift. Around 8:00 in the morning it hit me, that it could have been the lack of coffee drinking that caused this annoying feeling. I got upset, cuz I couldn't believe this was happening, lol, so I went for a cup of cappuchino and the headache began to decrease.
Anyway, on the good note of the day, today I went to the beach (Costa Maya, Mexico) and it was so relaxing to lay down under a big umbrella and feel the tropical wind blow from one place to another. I went with my friend from Brazil and we met there 5 more brazilian gals. So after forcing myself to pay close attention to their conversatinon, I think I got to understand portugese a bit. What really puzzle me is the fact that portuguese, italian, and romanian parlant people can easily understand spanish and yet I can't understand none of their languages. I wonder why. Anyway, we spend couple of hour there chatting about everything and then we went for lunch to this popular mexican restaurant. Nothing fancy of course, located by the beach side, more of a hut than a proper brick building. We had fry fish a la onion style. It was delicious. By the time I came back to the ship I had only 5 hours left to sleep, so know I feel very sleepy, but I don't complain. It was a good relaxing day.

Saturday, November 26, 2005

To my Friend, Alexis.

Today, I am kind of sad. My good friend Alexis is leaving the ship. He is being transferred to Carnival Conquest. Although, I think he is saddest than me, cuz he won't get to see his wife this week. This ship is going to our beautiful, beloved and so missed country this coming thursday, and he was so looking forward to see his wife and some friends. But, then again, this is the way things work in this company. One day you are here, the next day, you are told you are leaving in a few days, and that's final. We were talking about it, and we agreed that we couldn't understand the reason and we concluded that God has a purpose for everything that we go through. So I reassured to him, that God is taking care of his life and is leading him through the right path. God's plan for our lives is perfect, free of error. So whatever it is, he will show it to us and it'd be the right thing to do.

Saturday, November 19, 2005

To My Beloved Dad

So I have these team members peruvians guys under my supervision and I have to fight with them every single day, to make them work the way they should be working. And every day I have to tell them the very same thing that I've been telling them since over a month. And everyday they complain and give me all sort of attitude. And everyday I am getting tire and tire of having to deal with them. And everyday I am reminded by my superiors that we can not change them to other section until we pass USPH. So I am so tire, that I don't even want to ask them to do anything, cuz I know forehand what's gonna be the result. So a while ago, I was thinking seriously about my sad condition, and suddenly a thought hit my memory. Years ago, many years ago in fact, when I was still in elementary and high school, my Dad had to wake us up (me and Daniel, my brother) and it was such a struggle. Every single day, my dad used to come at 4:45 AM to give us a wake up call. He would come first time, and would lay his hands over my head and pray out loud for God blessings for my life, and then he would talk to me in a sweet way, the way a loving dad would do to his beloved son. He would say, "porotito" it's time to wake up and he would tease me and tickle me until I got upset and ask him not very politely to leave me alone. So he would leave the room and come back 10 min. later kind of upset to find me still under my covers. So he'd tell me, hey wake up, it's late already. To come back 5 min. later with the well remembered belt to beat me when finding that I was still lying asleep. So this story was so familiar to my dad, not only with me, but with Daniel, and Ana (my sister). There would be times that my dad would get so hopeless that he would just not wake us up at all for days, cuz he felt that it was useless and he was wicked tired of having to go through this annoying ritual everysingle day for 12 years. And as I was remembering this, I got emotioned, cuz first of all, I felt guilty for giving my dear dad a hard time, and at the same time I felt joy in my heart, cuz from these small things early in your lifetime, you learn from and you get to use it in the future as a efective tool. My Dad was so patient and is still a patient man of God, and that I am still in the process to learn it. While all these thoughts came to me, I thanked God for allowing me to have a wonderful dad who never gave up on me. He is still a very powerful source of inspiration for my spiritual life and though he is very far away from be perfect he hasn't stop trying to set in his own life the example he wants for his children to follow.
I love you so much Dad.

Friday, November 18, 2005

Tortola, British Virgin Islands

So yesterday we went to the port or call of Tortola, in the caribbean. And the day before we went to Antigua also a colony of England. Out of those two places I'd never been before, I liked the most Tortola, maybe because I went on a tour, so I got to see more than I did of Antigua. Anyway, a friend that had been there before, told me that the view from the distance when the ship is still approaching is amazing. So early in the morning like around at 5:30 AM I went to the uppest part of the ship with my camara and waited for the sunrise to illuminate the whole conglomerate of islands that conforms Tortola. It was awesome. Right after the sunrise ended up and the rays of sunlight were on their fullest, I appreciated the different mountains all surrounded by dark green thick jungle. So many wealthy houses emerged here and there in the different altitudes of the mountains. The coral reefs all around the islands gave the sea a lightly green-skyblue color to the sea, making the whole scenery the classical enjoyable tropical island. To my surprise, all that was nothing compared to the beauty of the view seen from the top of the mountains. No wonder why they call these islands, Virgin Islands. It's so natural, barely you see the touch of humans, namely, big buildings and contamination. I has this strong feeling of undiscovered land. I took this all four wheels truck touristic bus that took us through the place, all the way up to the top of the mountains and then down to the other side of the main island to the beautiful Cape Beach. From up there, you could see dozens of small islands, some of them close, some other in the far distance. The blue sky and the funny color of the sea plus the strong wind blowing all over, just made me wish I could stay there a weekend and enjoy myself. And then...back to reality, back to the ship, back to work.

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

My First Photo Camara

Well, it is not a secret to my friends and family that among the things I love, photography is on the top 5. If there is something that brings joy to my life is to see an image of something (a friend's face expression, a landscape of a place I visited in the past, a cityscape, a sunrise or sunset, etc) I saw in the past that impressed me and I got it recorded for me and anyone else to see in the near or far future. And I've always felt that way ever since I was a little kid. The other day I was checking my camara equipment (which is really nothing that fancy and pro as yet) and I felt blessed, because just 3 years ago all my equipment used to be a 5.25 dollars disposable camera. And it was that way for the last 7 years. My parents couldn't afford not even a cheap camara for me to learn properly and develope what I consider a gift from God. And yet, I remember that the first camera I holded that was mine was when I was probably 9 years old. It was this real economic, almost a toy camera my parents bought to me as a b-day present. It was a 110 mm or so format of camara, the one with the horizontal type of film (real old stuff, I haven't seen that kind of model anymore). Anyway it was a bright yellow camera that I remember I enjoyed it for a good while and for some reason I can't remember what happened to it. My dad used to use a Pentax pro camara (I call it brontosaurius), when he was in high school, which he still have somewhere in the house, but ever since I have memory it is broken. So basically, this has been my story concerning my interest in photography. God first, I am planning to aquire soon a semi-pro digital SLR and a medium format film SLR camera. It's not like a feel that I want to dedicate my life to do photography as a way of a living, it's rather something personal in which I feel a deep joy in my heart when doing it and ultimately it glorifies God for the joy of all people. And that I believe is part of the particular purpose God has for my life and I want to be part of it fully.

Sunday, November 13, 2005

Carnival Liberty Trasatlantic Crossing

Well after finishing the season of Carnival Liberty in europe, the travel to America for the first time began. It was gonna be a 16 days crossing to finally arrive into mainland US Florida. So we departed from Civitevechia, Rome with the passangers of the trasatlantic trip and arrived two days later into Barcelona for the last time among other things to pick up the food supplies and all sort of supplies needed for the long crossing. What nobody expected was that there was a strike by the fishermen in Barcelona because of the high prices of oil, so they blocked the way to the different ports with their small boats and didn't allowed any cruise ship and cargo ship to dock into Barcelona. So we went instead to "La Palma de Mallorca", a beautiful tropical island of Spain and spent the day there. Me and some of my panamenian friends went out and visited this fortress that belongs to perhaps 700 years ago and among the main things to see, there was this cathedral that took 600 years to build. It was huge and georgous. So we walked and watched the stores for couple of hours and then I went inside the cathedral with Nuris. Definitely I walked way back in the time, the moment I stepped inside that building. It was a shame I didn't had with me my tripod for my camara, so almost all the pictures I managed to take are blurred because of the very dimmed light there. Almost everything inside was pure, real aged gold. After some more walking and photography session we went back to the ship and said good-bye to Mallorca. So next day finally we arrived and we were allowed to dock in Barcelona late in that afternoon, so we could load up all our supplies. It was a bummer for the guests who couldn't enjoy of Barcelona, as all the touristics trips were cancelled due to the late time we were allowed out of the ship. Couple of days later we arrived into the excellent place of Malaga, Spain. I went out with my old friend from Peru and some others who dissapeard after we hit downtown. Malaga is a very old place. It has probably more than two thousands years. As a matter of fact, it was conquered first by the Muslims after a long battle and was inhabited by the arabs for a long while. And the evidence that proves it, you can see it on the castle and fortress that is on the top of the highest hill of Malaga. There on the top there is a magestic Castle built by the muslim arabs probably more than 1500 years ago. It is made of stone above stone. Huge is not enough to describe how big it is. There are coconut palm trees inside and outside and sand everywhere. It was just like if you were walking suddenly into the middle east, where sand, palm trees and stone castles are common of their past history. So once again me and my friends walked way back into the time of the human history while walking inside the walls of that Castle. The funny thing about it was that, in order to get there, either you walked or you took a 90 euro cent bus. So my friend who was tired of spending money during the european season, decided for us to walk up the hill (we didnt know it was only 90 cents until we reached the top of the hill). My friend, you have no idea, how high was that hill. It was really high. It was a real steep upway. By the time we reached the top I was steping on my draging tongue. But it worthed. It was a must-to-see place. Right after we spent some time in the museum upthere and some pictures we started our way down which in turn was pleasent and nice. (I wonder why) Anyway, after so much physical stress we went back to the ship, of course right after we made a few buyings and then right to take a shower and bed. It was an exhaustive day. So then one more day at sea and then we reached the excellent beautiful and colorful island of Funchal, Madeira that belongs to Portugal. I was amazed to know that such island is real far away from mainland continent. It is practically in the middle of nowhere. But the people there is amazing. Portuguese people and a bunch of other european citizens living in that so away from mainland island, where probably potable water is more expensive than a beer. I went out with my friend Alexis and we took this touristic sightseeing bus that took us all over the interesting and historic places of the island and then took us to a very high point of the mountain where we were delighted to see such an amazing view of that side of the island plus the 3 cruise ship docked on the port that at such altitude rather looked like toys. Of course I didn's spare the memory of my camera. After the 2 hours tour we went to get some souvenirs and then tried an apple pie from mac donald which in turn was real good. Now you could feel that you were not in europe zone anymore, as the hot temperatures were typical of the caribbean. And then 5 days at sea on our way to the caribbean island of St. Marteen. Each of those 5 sea days some got to sleep an hour extra and some of us got to work an hour extra, as we had to put our watches an hour back to adjust to the international zone time. I didnt got off in St. Marteen, cuz I had already been there in the past plus the heat is real intense there. So instead I decided to take a good rest. And finally after 2 more days we arrived to Miami. Continental american territory. There was a party on the ship with celebrities and the big boys of the company and all that crap and then next day we sailed to our new home port, Ft. Lauderdele, Florida from which we are sailing to San Juan, Puerto Rico and then other caribbean countries. I am really looking forward to go in San Juan, cuz there is a friend of mine from Panama, that is living there now. So I am excited about it.

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

No more of It

Once I read the statement of a famous pianist who said "when I don't practice for a day at the end of it I'll feel it; when I don't practice for three days my family and closer friends will notice it; when I don't practice for a week my audience on the concert will be dissappointed". I guess this can apply easily in the spiritual sphere. I've to recognize that for the last 5 days or so, I haven't got enough time to spend with Dad and of course the reasons is that I weas so tired, after work going outside, my strenght got drained. I've barely touched my Bible and my prayer time hasn't been of the best quality. So now I feel like unprotected and vulnerable to the devil attactks, I get depressed easily and closed in myself. It's been quite a while since last time I fell into this situation and I ask myself, why would I got into it knowing that the feeling is really no good. But I guess that it is a good time to ask for forgiveness and get the Lord to help me out. In the past I remember that when this happened I used to say "you know what, it is useless for I'll fall down again, so why to bother and try again?" That was a lie satan used very good on me, however today, I decided that I am not going to be down and depressed and guilty one more day. I take God's promises that whenever I fall He will lift me up and take me by my right hand and lead me back to the righteous path, I decide to put my tribulation and stress on his able hands, and let him guide me. It is really interesting to notice that when you are walking in God's will and righteousness, problems seem like nothing compared to Him and your holy attitude makes you pass through withouh fear, sadness or angriness but rather with happiness and joy. However, when walking out of God's perfect will even the smallest of the problems overwhelms me and make me doubt big time. But now I take the decision of no more of it. I am children of God, He loves me and He is willing to bring me back into his joy and peace for his glory and blessing of all the people. AMEN.
...Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit of life set me free from the law of sin. Romans 8:1
...Who will bring any charge against those whom God has chosen? It is God who justify. Who is he that condems? Christ Jesus who died - more than that, who was raised to life, is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us. Romans 9:33

Saturday, October 22, 2005

Monaco, France.

It took us a 70 euro dollar-one hour-ride to get to this beatiful city. During the way there, I was wondering if it would worth the money I had pay for the ride, but the answer is, it worthed it. The city itself is built on the side of a steep rocky mountain, which is interesting to me cuz it must have taken dozens of years to built it on such hard rocky formations. There you get to see the castles and imperial palaces of former kings and princess and they are just amazing and different from the ones I saw in Italy and Spain.
It was a good trip, with the exception of the 9 dollars I would have to pay for a bottle of coke that is worthed 25 cents in my country. I mean, I expected to be expensive, specially because it was a restaurant next to MonteCarlo casino, but that....that blowed my mind. It was funny cuz my friends bought a coke, and expresso and a chocolate and when the bill came, they were in shock cuz it was 27 dollars. Apparently they have not learned the lesson after all this months being in europe.
On our way back we stopped by the famous MonteCarlo casino where only rich people get to go in and play. Then we ran the Formula I pathway that we see on was really thin streets where those extremely high-speed racing cars goes through.

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Messina, Sicily Italy

Who haven't heard of Sicily? I guess we all have heard of it because in the early-last century italo-american movies, many of the gangster claimed to had come from Sicily. Anyway, Messina is at the farest northern corner of the island which faces mainland Italy. It is really close from mainland, in the night you can actually see both lands from the middle of the sea, you see the citylights at both sides.
I went out with Nuris and Alexis both from my beautiful country and so we were ready to do some serious hiking. Messina is located to the falling side of a huge hill. This city caught my attention particularly because there was as in any other italian and spaniard city lots of catholic cathedral and churches, but there in Messina there was one in each block. Most of them built centuries ago, which tells me about how religious were and still are these people. So we walked to this one which is almost at the top of the hill and on the way we saw so much history written on the stone walls of the aging buildings. Everywhere you looked around told a story about the past and their inhabitants. Finally we reached the top and the view was great, it worthed the long hiking. We took more pictures, talked about trivialities and then started our way down t he hill. We walked through many streets, checking the stores for souvenirs and watching the locals carrying their normal lives, who were very used to the presence of foreigns like us. Then we went to this famous ice cream shop and we delighted ourselves with a nice cold ice cream after a lot of physical excersice.

Monday, October 17, 2005

Venice, Italy

So once again God gave me the opportunity to visit this amazing italian city. This time I went with Milkana my friend from Bulgaria. We decided to go early in the morning, because she had to work afternoon. It was extremely cold of course, so we were under heavy coats. We took this ridiculous 10 euro dollars water taxi to Saint Marcus Square, a must-to-go place in Venice. We got there and the first thing you see when you get off the small water taxi is over a hundred black gondolas parked because it is too early for them to be crowding the venetians water-ways. Anyway, you'd think that most of the tourists come to see the centuries-old-cathedral of Saint Marcus and admire the panorama and do some shopping in the area, but make no mistake, most of them come to see the thousands and thousands of pigeosn that make their living out there. If you have something to offer to them like corn or bread crumbles they will fearless come to you by the dozens and step on your head, arms, shoulders even your back, all over your body. It was totally a new sensation for anyone to have all these birds revolving their wings around your face and everywhere. But it was extremely cool. Right after that, Milkana and I walked some streets and admired some shopping stores on the tiny streets surrounded by tall brick buildings. Took some more pictures and went for a nice hot cappuccino. Most expensive cappuccino I've ever drank, more than 6 us $, it was a robbery, but in any case, what will you do? it's not like you are drinking cappuccino in any other common city. So it worthed it. And it came really good because we were freezing. Anyway, we chatted there for a while and I shared with my friend a little about my life and what is God doing in it. I am praying for her that she one day accepts Jesus as her saviour and be saved. It was a very pleasent early in the morning trip.

Saturday, October 15, 2005

Duvrovnik, Croatia

The first glimpse I caught of it, left me in awe (it was lighted by a very dim light). It was one of the most stunning views I've ever seen. The ship docked right at the end of a huge river that ran in the middle of two magestic massive mountains. There was a small quited colorful town at the distance lying at the middle section of the left mountain. It was quite and small smoke columns rose from the foof to some of the small houses in the distance as the temperature was really cold and the cold breeze ran from the east. And then one of my favorite God's gift came over; "the sunrise" came through the peak of the far end of the mountains illuminating first the clouds and giving to them a soft reddish color and then the light becoming greater and greater. Suddenly all I felt was joy in my hear so I worshipped my God for allowing my eyes to see once again such a beautiful scenery. His creation is so perfect and to think that we forfeited the right to rule over it because Adam disobeyed God back in the very beginning giving away the right to Satan. However our hope for those of us who believe in Jesus Christ is that one day, not to far we will rule over the new Earth and there will be no more iniquity, sin, sadness, selfishness, poverty, sickness, wickedness, etc...
Anyway, I went out with my friend Alexis. We walked all the way to the main touristic attraction and on the way we saw some amazing views, mostly buildings that belongs to the end of 1800. It's exquisit architectonic added to the feeling of walking, back in the time was just to much. I must have snapped hundreds of pictures on this trip. So finally we got into a really old castle. It was a city itself and really big in fact. We walked inside the city surrounded by huge walls and got to see a lots of endless small streets that ran up and down the hills. It was all full of small business and shops and restaurants. It was not expensive as we though it could be probably because they are not using euro dollars yet, so my euro dollars worth a lot compared to their national currency "kunas". Alexis and I even tried a local fruit which its name we never got to understand. There was this nice senior lady in the middle of the main square selling these fruits we were curious about, so we got closer to her only to find that she didn't speak any english at all, and she wouldn't stop explaining in her croatian to us about the fruit, even though we were signaling to her that we couldn't understand none, so she finally gave up and gave to us one of the fruits that we tried and it was real good. I gave to her some euro coins and using body language we politely said good-bye to the lady. Afterwards, we went to this bakery shop because from the distance we could smell an exquisite aroma of fresh baked bread, so we went in and tried some of the local bread, it was good also. It was such a nice day at Duvrovnik, Croatia. Real wonderful people, very friendly and open. I am looking forward to come back someday.

Friday, October 14, 2005

Naples, Italy

I didn't get to see this place as I'd liked, cuz I didn't found anyone to go with to the city of Pompey. It was like an hour and half away in train, in bus and walking, and if I got lost, for sure I would've missed the ship. Anyway, I made my research and found that Pompey is or was a city real old way before Christ time, so we are talking of at least 2,500 years ago. My friends who went there, said it was atonishing to see the ruins of such an old city. The story tells that that city got destroyed by the eruption of a vulcano, which its name just escaped from my mind. The whole city and its inhabitants were covered by the flaming and raging fire and ashes of that vulcano. And honestly I think it was a punish from God to that people, cuz history tells and the encriptions in the walls of those ruins show so much perversion and sin.

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

Cannes, France.

There is not to much to say about the city. It is mostly a shopping center full of fashion clothes stores by international designers. I thought it was very similar to Hollywood, CA, as you can get to see famous people chatting over a cup of coffee or drink in many of the hundred of cozy and luxurious restaurant along the beach side. There are two things that called my attention, one is that french people are very serious about their pets. Almost everyone on the crowded street at 5:00 pm had at least one of those tiny curious, cute pet dogs. They walk them almost everywhere they go. And the other thing is that french people are not very friendly people, or at least toward foreigns (that was my impresion), which was really disappointing. And to top if off, there was a unconfortable situation that me, my friend from bulgaria and south africa had to go through. We tried to have dinner in two different restaurants where the owner wouldn't allow us in. I perceived right away that we were object of some kind of racism. Who would think that after so much of it in the past of our world history, still you have to see and live this. I read about it in history books, when I was in school, but never actually lived it, until then. And honestly it didnt affected me as you'd think, cuz I have very clear who I am in Christ and my identity and confidence is completely secured in him, but still it wasn't nice. Anyway, this unconfortable experience won't stop me to go to Monaco next week. They say it is a kind of a place.

Monday, October 10, 2005

Barcelona, Spain.

When I heard for the first time, that I'd get to see Barcelona, I got excited, for I thought I will be able to see with my own eyes Bacerlona Football Club stadium "Nou Camp". Indeed it is my favorite soccer team and I like them better than Real Madrid with all their international stars that do not know how to play as a coordinate team. So if everything goes smooth, next week I'll go there. In the time being, I was given a few hours today in Barcelona and I went out for my first time in Spain. As in any new place I get to go, I started asking for directions and interesting places to go. So they told me to visit "La Sagrada Familia" which is a catholic cathedral. It is still under construction and it's due in 25 years from now. It took me 30 minutes by train in which I got lost on my way there, but made it safely. It is amazing, in my english vocabulary I can't find a word to describe how atonishing it is. Antonio Gaudi which was the architect who designed it is a genious. It is a gothic architecture, it is brilliant the way he designed and built it. He died somewhere on the first decade or so of last century but still they venerate this architect for his brilliant designs all around europe. I didn't get to go inside the building for many reasons though, however I was satisfied with the exterior and I took a bunch of pictures. Well, after enjoying the view I took my train back and of course I got myself lost once more but finally made it to where I took the train. Barcelona is a great place to visit and admire, beautiful city, landscape and history.

Friday, October 07, 2005

Walking by Faith

These past days have been challenging I'd say. As I said before this new ship I am in is one of the biggest ships ever built in the world and as so it is beautiful, modern, extremely confortable and cozy, but at the same time there is so much work, that seems endless. This ship is a state of the art floating resort with everything you can imagine and more. Even for us crew members it has commodities that previous ships don't have....I even have a small refrigerator in my cabin, which is really convenient for many reasons. However the job is overwhelming me, there is so much to do and so much things to look after and so much hard time dealing with the waiters, cooks and others that I've found myself thinking more than I'd admit about quiting and just forgetting about all this nonsense. But then again, God takes me into his able hands and give me the peace and joy I need for that particular day; so I've been surviving day by day by his amazing grace that holds me still and steady. It is not easy to give up your daily emotions, feelings and will to God, because we want to be in full control and do things our way, but God says that he already won each and every battle for us and that we must rest in him and be victorious and glorify him with the way we live and enjoy him above all things. So today, I prayed early in the morning, God take it all, take my worries, take my decisions-to-be taken for the day, take my stress, and turn it for good. Yesterday as I was still kind of down and overwhelmed, I met couple of christian men of God that are willing to support me in their prayers and have fellowship, and that is nothing else but God providing. Some years ago, I read that when you are in most need, God sends you people that are more needful than you so that you can minister them and be a blessing to them...and when you are a blessing to others, you feel good, because you know, you are just being used by God even in a moment that you sort of feel bad. And that is what just happened yesterday. I ran into one guy I met couple of years ago and is a good friend to me. So we were talking yesterday and today and I've been talking to him, and God is opening him up and softening is heart so that the message of Salavation comes through. So, basically these things are being going on with my life and I am nothing but grateful to God, who knows everything and has something great for those who believe in Him and trust him and walk rightously. I read the other day about Abram calling and it is amazing how he just followed God because he had faith that he was going to show him what God promised, and he left everything behind, parents, country, properties because he was believing and trusting God, and even though he lived as a pilgrim in a country to be given by God to his decendants, meaning to say, that he didn't see his promised fullfilled, he trusted God and God called him "my friend". And that is faith, to walk in accordance to God waiting for something you at the moment cannot see, but believe that it'll come. I want to be called "his friend", so help me God to do what I have to do and to follow him as He expects from me.

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

Short sightseeing in Venice

So first thing I do is to figure out where is my ship (Liberty). "It hasn't come yet", they said in their broken spanglish, "It'll come at 2:00 Pm. So I decided to take a small tour myself and found my way through the streets until I found the unique city in the world that has boats on water as a way of transporting instead of cars and buses on solid paviment. It is definitely amazing to see all those boats coming and going through the small waterways among old buildings that belongs to half century ago or so. I was breathless to see such a wonder and yet dissappointed to learn that everything is really expensive. You want to drink a coffe, you can get charged 7 euro a cup which will be more in US currency. So, only see, not buy is my rule. I walked a whole lot and took a lot of pictures. There were so many tourists from all over the world and a lot of italians as well. Very friendly people I'd say, contrary to the impression I had about them.

Safe and Sound Trip to Venice Italy

At this point of the day, I am as tired as a the turtle who raced 100 miles. It is been almost 30 hours since I last got rest. In this side of the world I am 6 hours ahead of Panama and it is crazy. I departed from philadelphia at 6:00 pm and it was getting dark as the night fell down, and at about 12:00 am ET time, while we were flying, the sun rose. It was suddenly 6:00 am. Anyway, I am just glad I made it safe, with all these recently news about so many airplanes crashes plus the fact this is the first time I travel to Europe (very long flight) got me all worried about. The plane landed at Marco Polo's Int. airport in Venice and someone picked me up and took me to the ship terminal. On the way I was so eager to see what Italy had to offer to my eyes and at the begginning it was quite dissapointing cuz all I saw was really tiny narrow streets tipically of old cities in Europe and a lot of green fields around. At this point all I thought about was, "this could have been a battlefield during World War II" cuz it looked like those scenes in Band of Brothers; finally after a short car trip we arrived to the terminal where I was dropped off with only my spanish as a weapon to get through, as most of italians do not speak english. And it was cool to know they can understand very well spanish, at least more than I can understand italian.

Friday, September 30, 2005

Crossing the Big Pool 4 the First Time

After a long day of working, just about an hour to finish my shift, my supervisor approached to me and told me "get ready for news", he said, could be bad or good, its all up to you. He told me......get your bags ready you are leaving in three days to Liberty. Wao, that was really a heck of a news, I couldn't believe it. It happens to be that Liberty is in Italy, europe, almost anyone's dream a place to go. So here I am, trying to get my stuffs ready. Only worry I have, is that I bought a guitar on ebay last week, and it will arrive to this ship in over a week. I am thinking hard what to do in order to get it to where I will be.
Well, that'll be all until next time I get a chance to get online.

Wednesday, September 28, 2005


Arrg...I think I've already written about this in the past, not sure though, however what a bummer with this. If anyone ask me what is the worst thing about working on a big company like Carnival Cruise Lines, I'd say, it is making and bonding with friends you will probably never see ever again. I mean, it is bad enough to be far away from home and your friends from you country for a long period of time and then to make some new friends that will last a few months? No way, I am upset. In this particular case for me is even worse. So I met about two years ago a girl during my very first contract on Victory and we were not very close to each other but we were friends and I liked her, but circumstances never allowed me to express to her my feelings and then nothing much happened apart from our not to deep friendship. I signed off that ship after a while and never heard or saw her again until two weeks ago, when she signed on the ship where I am at. I was so happy to see her again and my feelings toward her sort of began to live again, only to know today, that she is leaving tomorrow on transfer to another ship. I mean, I feel devastated, and God knows that this is such a silly thing, but I am pretty sad. I try not to blame myself, but I can't help thinking that if I had told her earlier on my feeling I know she wouldn't have taken the decision to leave, but then again, it was only two weeks, and I didn't want to rush on things. Why am I still single, many of my friends would ask, why don't I even have a g/f. Well, after giving it a long time of thinking, I'd say, painfully that besides the fact that I am not good with girls, in my present position I don't allow myself to fall in love with nobody, because I know it'll be only temporary, as you meet somebody today, and then after a few months either you or her go on vacation and both of us would sign on different ships. So what is the purpose of even trying to build a relationship that is likely to fail? Anyway, all this thinking won't change my present pain and sadness, I already prayed that God help me to walk through these days and I know he will and after a couple of days, all of this silliness will be over for good.

Saturday, September 17, 2005

A Miracle

Well it turned out that they were able to fix the problem with the rudder and we were not deployed to Galveston as the rumors said.
Yesterday as we hit our port of call of Freeport in Bahamas, we met with our sister ship Destiny. They are ongoing with Dry Dock for three weeks. Sad thing is that there is nothing but nothing to do or see or enjoy there in Freeport. Personally I dont see why someone would pay money for a vacation trip that includes Freeport as a port of call. It is not even a touristic place and downtown is as small as my house with really nothing much to do or see. Anyway, I am sorry for them but happy that while yesterday was a hectic day onboard as the mayority of the guests stayed onboard because of the previous reason, I got to see my beloved brother in Christ Alexis Abrego. So we met couple of years ago when getting prepared on a school in order to work on cruiseships and ever since then our friendship has been growing and growing despite the fact that we dont see each other so frequently. Destiny has a different itinerary in the caribbean so we never get to cross our ways, so it was a nice surprise to see the ship next to mine yesterday, but sadly I couldn't go inside his ship, and although he could come inside mine, I knew that he had forgotten that I was in Celebration, so I lost all hope to see him. I thought, well, by the time he receives me email, it ill be past long after we sail away from here. At 2:00 afternoon I was ready to get my nap, but decided I wanted to play first a couple of ping pong games, so there I was, when he approached me from behind, and man, what a sweet surprise. There he was. He came onboard mine, because he had to to some deal with our ship storeroom manager and to get to him he had to pass through the ping pong table area when I was supposed to be sleeping. We had such a great short time, talking and sharing many things about what God has been doing thru our lives. It really was God's intention for us to meet yesterday when all possble chances were against it. He knew I needed to talk to a good friend like him from my country. He was an answer to a need that I had and a message from God to me about something in particular. And even though he might not know it, he was used by God yesterday to bring a message from God to my life. God is never late and he knows when and how to work out miracles for his children.
Thanks Alexis.

Wednesday, September 07, 2005


Last four or five days have been excruciating for our ship's crew and guests, as the weather in this side of the world is really bad. Furious wind, huge waves, thunders and lightnings plus the constant movement from one side to the another of the ship, had us all vomiting and sea-sicked. Of course the ship's itinerary changes to avoid hurricanes and storms, but still we get hit by traces of the storm. Personally I thought I was used to the constant motion of the ship, but sadly I realized I am not completely inmune. To make things worse three days ago the rudder of the ship which has something to do with the timmonel and ability to direct the ship got broken, so the ship have been rocking extremely bad. So yesterday we went on an emergency trip to Freeport, Bahamas to see if they could fix the problem and they are still trying to get it fixed before today 11:00 pm. If it doesnt get fixed, word is that we will be deployed to Galveston, Texas to help with the survivors of Katrina for some weeks while they finish fixing the problem.

Sunday, August 28, 2005


There is a world outside there
waiting to be seen
waiting to be admired

There is a beautiful creation out there
God made it that way
I'd love to admire it everyday

There is a colorful sky out there
with beautiful shaped-clouds
and a deep green-blue sea

There is a loving God out and inside here
waiting for me with wide open arms
One day soon I'll face him

Thursday, July 21, 2005

The Good News are been Spread and there is nothing he cand do to stop it.

So these last couple of days has been wonderful victorious days. There is nothing like the sweetest moment of leading someone through the saving prayer of faith in Christ. So it all happened suddenly and I wasn't really expecting it. After finishing the christian meeting, I headed back to my cabin with one of my brothers in Christ, and we were still discussing about the biblical study and as we were talking in the hall, one friend was coming back from the bar (1:15 am) and he is really open and friendly, so he said hi to us and just stayed there while we were talking, problem is, we were talking in spanish and he doesnt understand it, and he wasn't planning to leave anytime soon, so I felt from God, that it was the perfect time for sharing with him. So we changed our topic and choice of language and we started sharing with him about God, and he came up with that he also believed in Him and stuff, but really didn't know nothing about Him. So we talked and talked and one of the things that really impacted me was that he said almost at the end "I really want to change but I have things in my life that I know are bad and I have no idea how to stop it and I need help" I was like, WAO, praise the Lord, this guy is ready. So he agreed to pray with me and he accepted Christ as His saviour. That is so so so Awesome. I've been present in a great number of this miracle of life and I never get tired or used to the fact that it is awesome. It is just the most wonderful thing to see, how someone pass from eternal condemnation to eternal life in Heaven with God and all of us who have accepted him. Besides that, I have another good and close friend I've made while here, and he is really friendly, polite, hard worker and the kind of person you naturally want to be around, and he is that kind of guy that you say, "hey, only thing he needs to be complete is to accept Christ" So. I've been talking to him over and over again, and he is coming with the same ol' xcuse, "yeah, well not know, maybe later, I still have things to do", the ol' usual lie of satan, but still he listen to me and answer to all my questions about his eternal future, and thing is that I feel like little by little he is giving in. I pray that sooner than later he makes that final move he so needs. Praise the Lord for he is the one who gives me the courage and strenght.

Saturday, July 16, 2005

Let all know about God

There are three kind of bad days I can recall having experimented throughout my life, those who are physically tough, mentally tough and spiritual tough. Of all of them I can tell with security that tough spiritual days are the worsts. There is a sense of no hope that blind me or in other words make my vision short, changing dramatically the perspective of reality. Today I feel like so. The reason? simple, I feel overwhelmed and frustrated because I find that when you try to share about God to people, some of them react really indifferent and even show themselves angry. Yet, others react with interest and might not want to take part with it, but at least listen to you and try to reason. Today three persons that I know and I have been talking to and praying for and little by little sharing my faith with, totally rejected God after I tried to talk to them personally after having them read a christian tract. My hope is that one good day they will react different and accept Jesus sacrifice and realize they need Him so bad. My hope is that one day likewise others I know personally who rejected God after some time realized their sinful condition and turned to God and nowadays are powerful tools in God's hands. My hope is that I let myself be used by God no matter what, being humble and obedient more and more everyday. I hope that He puts more passion in my life for the unbelievers and even though some of them or many will reject Him, that won't stop my attempts to share the good news with boldness and braveness. Whenever I read Apostol Paul's books I fill myself with fresh strengh when I see how even when suffering all kind of persecution and shipwreck, his all supreme goal and passion was to reach more and more people for God and glorify him in life and death. So help me God.

Thursday, July 07, 2005

Fighting the good fight.

I thank the Lord Jesus Christ for He has continuosly care of me, his creation, his beloved son. I can't help but thank Him and praise him, cuz He never forget us. One of the things I was praying before coming to the ship for my third period was that I could find a christian group where I could meet brothers and sisters in Christ, as everyone knows this place is a tough place to be alone. Where sinning is so normal and not to sin is totally abnormal a phenomenon; where so much sin around can mess you up if you dont have anyone physically there to support you and viceversa in prayers and godly conversation. Almost 3 weeks since I came onboard and I ran into someone I met last year on Pride and who by then was not christian yet, and then just two months ago he accepted Christ and happen to be in this same ship where I am and one day I saw him holding a Bible and a booklet, so instantly I knew there was a group going on. So he told me where and when and...eureka... God answering a need we all have. When I think about our needs, I come to the conclusion that we all have a wide range of different natural God-given needs, that we try to satisfy in a sinful way, letting satan fulfill those, when we have a God who because created you and me, knows to the perfection what we are made of and what are our needs and along with that he is willing to supply us with those. So know I am officially attending a group where I know I will grow with them spiritually and in many other ways and we will be more effective on our mission of reaching the lost. Two is better than one, says the Bible, two pair of hands, two heads and two spirits united in God is a powerful tool agains the devil and the darkness empire.
I have recently discoverd that what you can do and achive in God is never enough. I found myself depressed a little bit couple of days ago, because I felt that I wasn't doing enough for Him, I felt like, I could do lot more with my life and I felt I could learn a lot more about God and his Word, and I felt like I wasnt enough and worthy. In a way, after thinking about it, I came to the conclusion that is true, true in the sense that our limited mind and body will never be able to understand and fulfill all the potential, but then that doesnt mean God loves me less, as long as I keep on trying my best to follow Him and walk in his way, its fine. Then I found that the devil was planting a seed in my mind and was trying to deceive me into thinking I wasnt being enough a good christian, and I fought that thought out of my mind and rebuked him and decided to think that I am God's son, forgiven and redempted, and that I am part of a chosen race and my final destination is not in this perishable planet earth.
Havent been easy, as always, to walk in the narrow path, but it is the best thing anyone can choose to. I pray to my God that he gives me the boldness and braveness to stand and to speak out loud about his mercy and love to all who come across my path and show them his unconditional love. I have shared with many during these weeks and I am willing to suffer persecution for His sake. There are so many people out there dying without knowing him and I dont want to stay quiet and sitting around my way to Heaven. May God Help Me.

Sunday, June 26, 2005

Starting Again.

So finally I can get online after almost half a month. It's tough not to be able to get online as frequent as I would like to.
Any way, I am back to my third contract period for Carnival Cruise Lines, and this time I was assigned, after a lot of confusion and worthless and unneccesary flights across USA to Celebration ship, which is among the oldest ships of the fleet. Rumors says that it is about to be sold to a sister company and will be sailing in europe, which is a very good news, since that means, we all will get transferred to other ships of Carnival. I mean, this ship is really old, is so much old that we dont have restroom facilities inside our cabins, but outside, so we share toilets and showers. It's horrible. I am getting used to it though, but it is horrible. On the other hand, I am thankful, because the port of calls of this ship are really bad, they are super expensive, prices for food, internet services, phone services and tourims in general are really expensives even for americans. So i rather stay in the ship and I get to save more money than usual. And finally but no less I found out that I got a nice raise of salary and am very happy for it.
I've began my gym sessions again, hopefully this time I wont give up so fast like last time I tried and see if I can get rid of this stubborn fat belly I've gotten. During the first week I concluded that if there is one thing that I suffer and I need to fight fiercely is inconsistency. I frequently find myself starting something and not ending it or keeping it alive. That is something I think is part of my personality, but I am praying a lot to God for his help to overcome this flaw. Of course, that takes a lot of discipline of my side and I keep on reminding me not to give up in whatever I am currently working on, either spiritual aspect, physical, emotional or anyone. With God help I will overcome this and I will be a better man soon. Consistency is my fight. Thank you all of you who are supporting me in your prayers.

Sunday, June 05, 2005

Back To Work

Yay!!! Back to work, it was about time. I am so blessed, I have to say. I had a wonderful vacation time here. I got to go out with my family and my friends so much that I actually almost broke, but it was very much nice. I am so happy and blessed indeed. My 8 weeks vacation are over and I feel strong and full of energy to go back to where I feel God is using me. I still dont know what ship or when, but I will get to know that in a couple of hours if God wills. I am about to take my flight to L.A. and there I will find out.

Saturday, June 04, 2005

Children Talk About Love

lovely scene.

A group of professionals interviewed a group of 4 to 8 years old children about what love meant for them. These were some of the answers that these children gave. And we will be able to see that they think more deeper than we thought they could be.

  • When my grandmother suffered of arthritis, she couldnt bent down to do the nails of her feet, so that my grandfather painted them all, even though his hands had also arthritis. Rebeca 8- year old.
  • When somedody loves you, the way they say your name is different. You can be sure that your name is secure in their mouth. Billy 4-years old.
  • Love is when a girl puts on perfume and a boy uses colony to shave and then they smell each other. Karl 5-years old.
  • Love is when you go somewhere to eat and you end up giving away your fries to your friend. Chrissy 6-years old.
  • Love is when mom makes coffee for dad and she tries a little bit of it before handling it to dad to make sure it is good. Danny 7-years old.
  • Love is when they are on a kissing mood for a while, and then after getting tired of it, they still remain together to talk. Mom and Dad loves to do that. Emily 8-years old.
  • If you´d like to learn to love, you should start over with a friend you hate. Nikka 6-years old.
Isn´t it awesome...?
Posted by Hello

Monday, May 30, 2005

In honor to Arelis.

It is a sad day for a number of people that I know and for myself. When a hard situation almost non-understandable event happen we tend to ask God the reason of it as if ignoring that He knows what´s best for us and that He does no wrong when he decide to call someone to his presence. Of course we all tend to get sad and we cry and we feel a deep emptiness in our hearts just to know that we no longer will see that person alive and living among us. Arelis was only 24 or so, we studied together in college and her life seemed to be a long way to walk, however a few months ago, she was diagnosed with leuquemia (blood´s cancer). One of our common friends told me about her, while I was still abroad and one of the first things I did when I came back to Panama, was to pay her a visit. So me and my friends went to her place and it was nice to see her smiling and with a positive attitude. She was better and under chemiotherapy. We talked about things proper of old friends and though I wasn´t very close to her we shared a pleasent evening. A few days back, a friend told me that she is in the hospital´ unit of intensive care and yesterday I learned that she died. I believe she is in a better place at this moment and all suffering is history. Not anymore ever. We get sad and cry but we go on living this life given by God, knowing that one day it´ll be us.

Good Bye Arelis

"For death begins with life's first breath And life begins at touch of death."
~John Oxenham

"It's only when we truly know and understand that we have a limited time on earth -- and that we have no way of knowing when our time is up, we will then begin to live each day to the fullest, as if it was the only one we had."
~Elisabeth Kubler-Ross

Saturday, May 28, 2005

Picture of the Week

One of the things that I love about Puerto Vallarta, Mexico is that during the sunsets you can peacefully sit on a bench in front of the beach and listen to the waves crashing against the rocks and at the same time feel the cool air rushing in your face after a wild hot day and delight yourself with a wonderful sunset.
P.V. Mex. Posted by Hello

Monday, May 16, 2005

Casa de Oracion Cristiana Jorones´ Mission Trip

This is part of Casa de Oracion Jorones Church youth group starring youth group leader Howar at the left far corner Posted by Hello
So, recently I went on a mission trip to a place called Jorones in the middle of nowhere, somewhere in Panama´s country side. Howard my friend invited me over to come along with them in order to participate in it. It was a real cool experience as every mission trip can get. Don´t take me wrong, by no means I refer to having fun in a wordly way. I am talking about the pure and genuine joy you could only find when walking in God´s plan for our lives in complete obedience and faith, serving for the cause of Jesus Christ. So we had a great time there sharing Bible teachings to the young people in Jorones and sharing with them some quality time and listening to their last experiences. Among the things we studied from the Bible was Joseph´s life. So we read a few chapters and then we urged them to represent the story in a little skecth (drama) so they could remember well the teaching. Definetely not a winning-award performance but quite enough for our purpose. God is good. They are growing in Christ little by little and hopefully they will become tomorrow´christian leaders of their community.

Sunday, May 08, 2005

Kingdom of Heaven

So, this is the thing. Yesterday I went to see Kingdom of Heaven with Ariel and his brother; ever since I saw the ads on the big screen on a previous movie, I said, that´s a must to see movie. It is a great movie in terms of actors and actresses, it is a good movie in terms of story and plot, it is a regular movie in terms of predictibility and it is a bad movie in terms of history. In today´s world where we have this delicate situation in the middle east, movies like Kingdom of Heaven misleads unoriented people to think that actually all began because a couple of fool who disliked others beliefs and killed their followers. And yes, that could´ve happend, but middle-east conflict goes way beyond back than 1124 or so that this movie was supposed to take place. The reason why this area is so struck by wars and terrorism (which is by no term an exclusive illness of our modern times) has its origin back in the times of Abraham and the forefathers of the people of God. When he told them that they would suffer serious persecution and affliction, because of their lack of faith and disobedience toward God´s commandments and Voice. They were witnesses of serious, real-life, visible Jeovah´s manifestation and yet their heart were hardened and they persisted on putting their faith in something different than the Giver of Life and blessings. That is the reason, why Israel is in so much trouble. I mean, then when Jesus Christ came to earth as a baby, born from a virgin in a manger, he grew up and started his ministry at 30 and most of Israel didn´t accept him as the One who was foretold by the prophets centuries ago and seeing all his miracles and hearing all his out-of-this-world teachings were atonished and yet crucified him. And, Oh God be glorified, that in turn benefited you and me to get forgiveness and eternal life from God through Jesus Christ´s death and resurrection. Now is the time for you and for me to have all the blessings from the same God, Jeovah from the Bible. To receive his love and mercy and grace, and yet we commit the same mistake Israel people did. We accept him and we will be saved and have eternal life in Heaven with Jesus Christ seated at the right of God or we will be condemned and be away from that forever. The choice is in your Hands!!!
"For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because he has not believed in the name of God´s one and only Son. John 3:16-18

Friday, May 06, 2005

To me to live is Christ and to die is gain

Afraid? Of What?
To feel the spirit´s glad release?
To pass from pain to perfect peace,
To strife and strain of life to cease?
Afraid --- of that?
Afraid? Of What?
Afraid to see the Savior´s face
To hear His welcome, and to trace
The glory gleam from wounds of grace?
Afraid --- of that?
Afraid? Of What?
A flash, a crash, a pierced heart;
Darkness, light, O Heaven´s art!
A wound of His a couterpart!
Afraid --- of that?
Afraid? of What?
To do by death what life could not --
Baptize with blodd a stony plot,
Till souls shall blossom from the spot?
Afraid --- of that?

Written by: E. H. Hamilton, 1931
taken from The Voice of the Martyrs, page 74

Wednesday, May 04, 2005

Final Examinations for Ana

Ana Raquel has a really difficult test tomorrow. She is at medicine school. In a way, she reminds me so much when I was getting prepared for examinations throughout college. I used to wait till the last day to start studying hard. That, I never overcame, till the last subject in college I did so. And know, I see her doing exactly the same. But to be fair, I have to give to her, that she is way smarter than I am, and that gives her better opportunity to suceed. However, I´ve seen her wasting her time, during the past couple of days and today she is all stressed out and pulling her hair out of her head, not knowing what to do. I pray for her, cuz I seriuosly doubt she could take a failure of this magnitude regarding this.

Television, the Great Life-Waster

Television is one of the greatest life-wasters of the modern age. And of course, the Internet is running to catch up, and may have caught up. You can be more selective on the Internet, but you can also select worse things with only the Judge of the universe watching TV still reigns as the great life-waster. The main problem with TV is not how much smut is available, though that is a problem. Just the ads are enough to sow fertile seeds of greed and lust, no matter what program you are watching. The greater problem is banality. A mind fed daily on TV dimishes. Your mind was made to know and love God. Its facility for this great calling is ruined by excessive TV. The content is so trivial and so shallow that the capacity of the mind to think worthy thoughts withers, and the capacity of the heart fo feel deep emotions shrivers.
Since we all live in a world created by television, it is almost impossible to see what has happened to us. The only hope is to read what people were like in previous centuries. Biographies are a great antidote to cultural myopia and chronological snobbery. We have become almost incapable of handling any great truth reverently and deeply. Magnificent things, especially the glory of God, as David Wells says, rest with a kind of "weightlessness even on the church. "It is one of the defining marks of Our Time that God is now weightless. I do not mean by this that he is ethereal but rather that he has become unimportant. He rests upong the world so inconsequentially as not to be noticeable. He has lost his saliency for human life. Those who assure the pollsters of their belief in God´s existance may nonetheless consider him less interesting than television, his commands less authoritative than their appetites for affluence and influence, his judgment no more awe-inspiring than the evening news, and his truth less compelling than the advertisers, sweet fog of flatteries and lies. That is weightlessness. It is a condition we have assigned him after having nudged him out of the periphery of our secularized life....Weightlessness tells us nothing about God but everything about ourselves, about our condition, about our psychological disposition to exclude God from our reality".
Author: John Piper

Monday, May 02, 2005

Importance of Prayers in Family

Today, as I spent some quality time with my family, far away from the busy cities, retired far in the middle of the mountains, where the fresh air runs freely, and there is no phone, internet, and interruption of anykind whatsoever, I realized how fool I´ve been behaving. I realized that my prayer times, are not being enough, are not being more extensive and persistant . This is an old issue, and yet, I haven´t been able to fix it, to make it right. I am reminded unspoken times by the Bible about the importance of praying in all times, without failing, and yet, somehow that is not coming through with me. There are a bunch of physical, emotional and spiritual needs within each and everyone of us, in this particular case within each of the members of my beloved family. When I heard my dad talking and breaking down about his inner struggles and how he can get really depressed about them when he is not experimenting victory over them, I can´t help but to feel extremely guilty, and sad to tears realizing that I had not been supporting him in prayers as I should. I am 100% sure that things were different for him. A battle is won better and faster when there are two or more supporting each other in prayers. It is not all about healthy relationships, as I have with Dad, where I share with him and he with me about everything, but it is also intercession, fighting the spiritual warfare on the spiritual sphere without stopping. It is on prayer times, where you in Christ defeat the devil and his followers whose job is to make us feel like we are not going forward, like we are wasting our efforts and energy. Same story with my sister, my brother and mom. Each one of them (including me) have needs that have to be fulfilled, and when we do not support each other, the struggle is heavier, than when we support each other.I am not saying we are not praying for each other, but we are not doing so with the intensity we should. When Jesus prayed, he did it in a way that show us persistance and patience. I´ll start spending more time during my prayer times for this matter. I have friends, I´ve been praying for the last 6 years and families, I´ve been praying for the last 15 years, but honestly, it hasn´t been continuos but sporadics. I think I´ve wasted wonderful opportunities to have achieved that earlier, only if I had been faithful to it.

Monday, April 25, 2005

Overcoming Fear

Several years ago, a known circus of affluent television developed an act that included flare tigers. The act was made live in front of a great hearing. One night, the trainer entered the cage with several tigers and the door was closed as usual behind him. The lights flooded the cage and the television cameras approached so that the audience could see each detail while him with his ability put to the tigers to perform.

In the middle of the performance, the worse happened: There was a black out. By almost thirty long seconds, the trainer was locked up with the tigers in the dark. With their superior night vision, the tigers could see him, but he could not see them . He survived. When the lights returned, with absolutely calm he finished his performance.

When they asked the trainer how he felt, he admitted to feel a cold fear in the beginning, but soon - he said -, I realized that even though I could not see the felines, they did not know it. He said: "I just continued striking my whip and speaking to them until the lights returned. They never knew that I could not see them as well as they saw me me."

Keep on speaking to the tigers of fear that seems to be hunting you. They will obey your voice of faith!

Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me. Psalm 23:4

Wednesday, April 13, 2005

One of the Best ever Vacations

I have to blog about last week, cuz otherwise I will start forgetting the details of one of the most amazing weeks I´ve ever had. It all started when I asked my friend Tim to see if it was possible to spend some few days at his place. He said it was ok. So I disembarked on april sunday the third, and I stayed in at a local hotel in L.A., cuz my flight was due on monday afternoon. So I had the opportunity to visit some nice places in L.A. and San Bernandino such as Lake Perris. My friend has a friend who lives near L.A. so, he took us on a road trip to some touristics spots within L.A. and San Bernandino. So, after that I headed to my hotel and spent the night there. I wanted to see some places, but found out that if you dont have a car, you will spend a whole deal of money in cabs. So I just walked some, and then came back to the hotel to pack my bags and head to L.A. airport. So I took my plane and after stoping at Denver, I finally reached Oklahoma city airport. Tim was waiting for me there. I was so happy to see him again after a long time. So next day, he went to work, I got to go with him, and see how they do real TV shows. Really interesting. We even went to town to do some video shootings for the next show and then back to the TV station studio to do the editing. The following day we spent it talking about a lot of different things and playing video games. One of the things that I loved the most of Tulsa, was Oral Roberts University Campus and its history and the Praying Hands. It really touched me, the fact that prayer has a power that we are just ignoring. He told me that Tulsa wasn´t a really nice place back in the first quarter of last century, lot of gangsters, adult entertainment and all kind of non-christians stuffs, but right after ORU came up there, the founder began a serious prayer ministry that eventually changed the whole town for God. Now it is one of those places in US where almost everyone is saved and seriously into missions. Another thing caught my attention really bad, spring season. In my country we have only summer and winter, so I got to see a bunch of leave-less trees and those trees seen against the sunset on the background, wao, that was a spectacle worth of admiration. I even got to see hail, boy, first time and it wasn´t for starters, they were huge hails that could kill anyone. It was fun though. Last three days we made a road trip to Brandson, Missuri, were he had an assigment of shooting a story of the new attractions of both celebration city and silver dollar city amusment parks. But we were paid really nice accomodations on a nice condo with front view to the Lake. We visited both parks and we enjoyed so much, nice meals at silver dollar city with their international cuisine. At Silver Dollar city there are a bunch of different shows with performers from all around the world, I liked the germany delegation the most. So finally as everything must come to an end, we headed back to Tulsa, exhausted but contented. Next day Tim drove me to the airport and we said bye. I will never forget the experience as a whole great event.

Tuesday, April 12, 2005

Back in Panama

After a long long travel from oklahoma, I finally arrived to Panama, after almost 26 hours of either flying or extremely boring waitings at different airports, and a flight missed because of a tight connection in Costa Rica and their incompetence. I have so many things to say, that overwhelms me, but I will be writing some of them little by little. I had a wonderful time up there at Tulsa, Oklahoma with my friend Timothy, we even got to visit Brandson, Missouri for the inaugural event of two of their most famous amusement parks - Celebration city and Silver Dollar city. It was an amazing experience. I am just happy to be here in Panama, after almost 11 months out of town. My mom, dad, sister and brother are really happy, even my dogs seems to be happy. It´s great!

Saturday, April 02, 2005

Is it possible to have reached the last day?

Many, many months ago, when I first step on this ship, I knew it was going to be a long way to walk, I can tell of many stories, sad ones, and happy ones, that will remain in my memory for some years, but finally the time is over, days of hard work are over, or at least for couple of months. This week has been the longest ever. I can't wait to take my stuffs out of the ship and walk as a free man (figurative talking). Anyway, I'll be spending a day in L.A., I am still trying to figure out what's the best thing to do while in here, and then I'll be flying to Tulsa, OK. where I plan to spend some days with my brother in Christ, Tim, who I met in my country couple of years ago. I've been praying for this time, to be a special one. And then finally, if everything goes fine, I'll be flying back to home. Ahhhh...Panama! I'll be back in time for dad's b-day....shoot, talking about that, I haven't thought about what to give him as a present. Hopefully, I'll figure it out. As you can see, my mind is long gone off this place, it is flying on its own, day-dreaming about what's to come during this leisure time. I am happy for what God has allowed me to accomplish during these months. I've grown in all aspects, not fully indeed, but I am in the process. As I see things, I consider I could be doing some other things, but yet here I am, and God knows better than me the reason, I just want to keep on walking in His will for my life, for whatever He has prepared as a purpose for my life is way better than anything I could want to, or live, or accomplish.
I close this chapter of my life with this entry on my blog.