Saturday, May 31, 2008


These last two weeks have been hectic around the shipyard and part of it because we have to run after the contractors who are in charge of modifying our catering areas in the hotel. Two of those guys I have been working with I met few days back and ever since I have been walking up and down the boat until today in the morning when I got a chance to witness them. Angelo doesnt speak english at all and Claudio speaks and understand some english. Right before lunch break I gave to them christian tracts in italian and one of them start complaining about it, but I wouldnt accept a no as an answer from him, lol. So God who knows how to do things and create the spaces for peoples salvation, allowed us more than an hour where I sat down with them and in between english, spanish and spanitalian I went thru all God put in my heart to tell them. The language barrier could not stop the interest these two guys had to know more about my faith and believe, time constrain could not stop what these guys had to listen today. I feel greatly blessed today because I had been asking God to use me and He did. After that hour of discussion and dialogue, I am firmly convinced that they understand better what a relationship with Jesus is all about , and I pray that the day will come when someone else grows the seed within them and sooner the better someone else harverst in them the fruit. I cant help but to wonder that the same way, I was moved from my previous ship assignment to this newbuild ship (a privilege I would say) because somebody considered I am able to carry this enterprise, same way perhaps God decided that the reason for me to be here was to witness these two italians, irregardless of all the obstacles in the way. I praise God for the blessing of being used and my prayer is that I be approved by Him the same way I strive to get my earthly superiors approval.

Monday, May 19, 2008

Chilling Out

Never thought I would see the day of being at work and being tired, but not as a product of long hours of mental stress and to some extent physical work, but out of doing nothing but hanging out a few hours in the Ship Yard and then leaving to do my own things. I know it is just a matter of time before it all comes back as it always is, but I just can’t get used to the idea of being “working” but being tired and lazy....and I am loving it.
It’s good though, I can’t complain, this has given me and some of my friends time to go around in a relaxed mood and get familiar with the city, the people the culture and the overall “land life”.In regards with the food, well I was well advised that I would get sick of having pasta during the lunch and during the dinner, like every single day of God without a break. But in order to be fair to the italian cusine, I have to admit that it is quite good if you know where to find it, but I shall say that the greatest of the problems of having it daily is not getting bored of having pasta every day, but the fact that after a week of degustating it, you get a stubborn fluffy belly which ultimately is a challenge to get rid of. So I succeed on stopping eating pasta for almost 7 days until today, when I was given no other option and given the circumstances I had to yield.
Last Saturday, I went along with two other co-workers which happen to be brothers in Christ, to a night session of prayers at a christian family’s house here in Genova, and we met some missionaries from Milan that has been ministering week after week in this city for the past four years. These brothers and sisters in Christ decided to have this meeting and we were invited. So after we finished we were invited to visit their church and Ministry in Milan and so we did yesterday. We took the late afternoon train and travelled 200 kilometers up to the North of Italy almost to the borders. Juan, Jose and myself were recieved in the famous city of Milan by our brother Jorge from the country El Salvador and he took great care of us. His family’s hospitality just blew us all, we spent the night in his house with his family and had a wonderful conversation about the things God is doing in Italy through this Latin Ministry. At the present, they are a growing church full of the Spirit of the living God, mostly composed by latin inmigrants (Honduras, El Salvador, Guatemala, Peru, Ecuador, Chile) who upon reaching here faced hardships but found refuge in this christian fellowship and to God’s name glory this church has risen up powerfully and they now have ministries in Genova, Rome, and two more cities across the country with lots of new projects. I enjoyed so much being among these holy people, receiving Word and praising the Lord in a fellowship. What I observed here just made me meditate about our call to make disciples and spread the message everywere we go, and being among them re-affirmed this in me. My co-workers and I came back today, full of joy, spiritual energy, pictures and great memories, looking forward to next weekend and thankful to God that no matter how far away from our own churches, God has always provided this our God-given need of christian fellowship by putting in our ways other churches along the countries and cities we get to visit.

Sunday, May 04, 2008

Travelling Around

After a long series of events that proved to be hard to overcome and leave in the past, finally I got a break. One of my favorite things in life is to travel and see new places, meet new people, experiment different cultures and everything else that comes with it. Last week was a bit of a hectic one where I had to get ready on a short term notice where I was informed about a vessel transfer. Despite the regular job that had to be done and the challenges of the new changes in the operation, my mind was already set on the ever exciting trip to the city of Genova. Like usual I waited till the last few days prior to departing to say good by to my new friends and long time friends as well since I never liked the sad moments of departures.

It was a long flight to the city of Paris where I struggled big time with the language and I am thankful that I did not miss the conection flight to Genova nor did my luggages got lost, until finally I arrived safely to Novotel Hotel near downtown Genova. I am still in shock to see how less my dollars are compared to the euro currency and afraid to run out of money if I spend on basic stuffs like transportation, laundry and food. Nevertheless my company supplies for almost all of it, I still can’t help but to seriously wonder as to how, low income families manage to survive through the months. I just came from a supermarket and saw how expensive food can be even in a cheap market like Coop. A kilo of the cheapest beef, 7 euros(11.55 US dollars)? Cheese is really expensive and so is bread. Perhaps the cheapest article they sell in abundance would be wine? And that’s only because Italy is a mass producer of it, just like gas prices in Iran and Venezuela are cheap just because they own it.
Another interesting fact I’ve observed is the amount of inmigrant living in this city and probably in the rest of the country, specially from Bangladesh, and to my surprise from Ecuador. Like it would be expected they own very small business all around the corners in the poorest and dangerous streets of downtown, living in tiny rooms packed to its maximun and on very deplorable situations where criminality, drugs and sex abuse is no the exepction of the important cities’s problems like Genova.

Transportation is somehow expensive and so is clothing and communication, gas prices are on the moon and it almost inmediately made me appreciate the fact that I have a job and my country is not that expensive yet. It makes me think about the US economy, my countrie’s economy and in general the world’s economy. It seems like things are rushing down hill at a amazing speed and nothing can stop it. Maybe my perception of the world is wrong, only God can tell, but these days we are living in are bad. I can’t see other way out but God’s intervention in all of it.

Not everything makes me sad or angry though, (like the fact that the food and dining service at my hotel sucks, lol) on the good side, yesterday I went with three co-workers to a couple of turistic cities outside of Genova, 2 hours away on train. It was such a great trip and we enjoyed every minute of it. Even the train trip was fabulous, great sightseeing of the coast on one side and the middle size mountains on the other. The coast on this side of the country is rocky and the cities are built on the steep sides of the mountains, and there are five old historic cities all interconnected by walking distance on foot trails and passage ways sometimes on the very edge of the mountains. We had a gorgeous day, sunny and cool temperature, so although we had to walk a lot we were not fatigued by the tipical heat we find in the caribbean. We even hiked all the way to the top of one of the hundreds of medium size mountains, and we were in contact with the thousands of acres of vineyards and tiny buildings built on the steep ladle of the mountain. Such a great experience, one for the memory.

There is lot of work, perhaps much more than I can imagine, that has to be done over the period of a month and I only pray to God that He gives me the strenght and determination to go through it till the end, not only to hang in there but to be able to do my very best. At the end of this two months I will probably be going back to the previous ship were I was last week which is sailing in the Mediterrean.

I feel this is all a new experience in my life. What I mean is living on land, waking up every day, to take a public transportation to go to work, having my meals in a totally different environment than my working place (ship), coming back from work to my hotel room, hanging out with friends afterwards and having week ends free to do whatever I wish to. This is something which we all ship’s crew members dream about.