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 TV...it 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.