[notice]Trina Skinner writes about her 2 years on MV Logos Hope, Operation Mobilization’s famous floating book fair and outreach vessel which is due to visit South Africa from March 16 to July 12, 2016.[/notice]
My name is Trina Skinner, a 21 year old with a passion to serve the Lord in practical ways.
I have spent the last 2 years on board the ministry ship, the MV Logos Hope, learning and growing in my personal walk with the Lord through the good and bad times, work, ministry, and people.
The Logos Hope is an ocean going passenger ship, under the organisation Operation Mobilization, with 400 volunteers from 60 nations, all living in the tight knit community with the goal of sharing the love of Christ to the countries we have the opportunity to visit.
Since I joined the ship straight after high school, I didn’t get to choose in which department I would work but after an interview they would place me where the need was…I had an immense desire to join Deck Department, “the sailors”…in charge of the maintenance, security and the navigation of the vessel. My dad knew this and tried his best to talk me out of the “hot, dirty, men’s work” so to honour my dad’s opinion, I put Deck as my second choice in my interview, yet God saw it fit to place me in that department. I was physically challenged and spiritually rewarded.
31 ports in 15 countries
In my 2 years, I sailed to 31 ports in 15 countries, got to go to some places that as a Christian there are many restrictions, yet God worked in amazing ways!
I will never forget Bahrain! The ship was warned of a duty free Liquor store within the port’s premises, where Saudi Arabian’s would cross the border from their alcohol prohibited country and get their weekly fill of liquor. God definitely has a sense of humour…Instead of encountering drunks, we had thousands of Saudis coming on board the MV Logos Hope, spending they alcohol money on good literature and meeting true believers in Jesus, for the first time!
People always ask me what my highlights were; I would have to say friends, work, and sailings. I was a witness to God transforming lives, seeing teenagers join the ship because they were forced by their parents or volunteered for the traveling side of things, I saw them grow, find their gifts and start to use them in international ministry. I experienced it in my own life; I joined thinking I had no talents and having no idea what I wanted to do with my life and I leave with many skills, lessons learnt, and a direction in which the Lord is leading. God was faithful and continually blew me away with the lessons he taught me, but it wasn’t always easy… like any growth, there are pains included.
Nothing for GOD in vain
One thing I had to continually remind myself was that no work, done for the Lord is ever in vain! Even if it’s dealing with 400 people’s garbage and not complaining when something juicy sprays all over you and as you walk the stench follows like a black cloud, or removing rust for hours in a tiny rusty room with sweat pouring down your cheeks that no one notices they are actually tears…in times like these I had to rely on the Lord. Not only would He give me the strength to carry on but he would bless me with joy, His Joy!
I loved the opportunities to help out in local organisations doing mostly practical ministry. There was one village in particular in Sri Lanka that will be etched in my memory forever. As we arrived we noticed people hiding behind their doors, peeking out from behind trees, curious yet cautious. We were there to replace a roof of a home that had burnt and was slowly being rebuilt, even with no roof the family had been living inside. I automatically am drawn towards the young daughters, but as I kneel down to greet them they hide farther in their mom’s skirt, tears rolling down their precious faces. Taken aback and feeling slightly rejected I asked the translator to introduce us and I came to find out that I was the first white person the girls had ever seen. As the day progressed the villagers and kids became friendlier, we even recruited some to help us. By the end of the day I couldn’t get the girls off of me, giggling, tickling, jabbering away in Sinhalese…in just one day they trusted me!
God taught me so much about His love, mercy, leadership, patience, work ethic and the list can go on…I joined the ship because I wanted to make a difference, I wanted to be used to impact lives, and yet I was the one impacted and changed!