We were so blessed to be able to celebrate Christmas on the ship – even in shipyard! The Southern African Shipyards allowed all the crew from Appelsbosch (including our children) to come to the ship for Christmas Day! A group of us volunteered to help with setting up and cleaning for the celebration and we were able to stay overnight the ship on ship on Friday night. This meant I was able to sleep in my own bed in my cabin even though it was hot in the 90’s and so enjoyed being home.
Christmas in South Africa
Greetings from South Africa to you all my family and friends around the globe at this special time of the year as we approach Christmas.
Our chaplains have led us in the four Sundays of Advent during our Sunday Evening Services at Appelsbosch. The first candle is a symbol of Hope, the second a symbol of Preparation, the third of Joy and then the fourth candle reminds us that Jesus comes to bring Peace to both the world and to people’s hearts. Without Christ there is no peace in this world. He also shared this quote from an anonymous source: Peace: It does not mean to be in a place where there is no noise, trouble or hard work. It means to be in the midst of those things and still be calm in your heart.
“For a child is born to us, a son is given to us. And the government will rest on his shoulders. These will be his royal titles: Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, and Prince of Peace. His ever expanding, peaceful government will never end. He will rule forever with fairness and justice from the throne of his ancestor David. The passionate commitment of the LORD Almighty will guarantee this!” Isaiah 9:6-7
We have had some of our familiar activities leading up to Christmas, though since our community is divided it has been a bit different. We have those living on the ship in Durban, those of us non-technical crew out here at Appelsbosch and then also our long term crew who are away on extended leave during this unique period. Here at Appelsbosch we have had the four Sundays of Advent, time to decorate the tree (a friend said it looks like a Charlie Brown tree – see photo to the left), time to build gingerbread houses (which we did last night – see photo below), worship services with carols and all. For Christmas Day we have permission for the group living at Appelsbosch who are not traveling to go to the Africa Mercy for the day, which I am looking forward to our time together. This will be my first Christmas in the Southern Hemisphere.
Merry Christmas and UKhisimusi omuhle (which is in the local language of Zulu)
Prayer Requests: ** Safety for those living on and off the ship ** The final stages of the shipyard phase (as my friend Greenfield put it ‘that everything is done accurately and correctly the first time’ ** For our Advance Team in Sierra Leone preparing the way for our 2011 Field Service including surgical screening which will take place next month prior to the ship’s arrival.