My wife and I returned earlier this week from a short five-day trip/cruise to Florida and the Bahamas. This was a pre-10th anniversary vacation for us (our anniversary is in September) and it was the first time we’d been away together without any of our children in seven years.
This was our first cruise and one of the things that I had heard about them was that you can basically eat whenever you want to. Well, I put that to the test and discovered upon arriving home that I had gained five pounds. Time to cut back on the calories!
We’ve got some great memories and many pictures to back them up of our few days of jammin’ in the Caribbean.
My wife and I weren’t particularly looking to interact with anyone on this trip. It was intended to be a ‘just us’ break. And for the most part we stuck to that. However, some of the lingering moments of the trip for me are based on a few of the conversations with others that we had on this trip.
One of the things on our cruise ship was that the staff wore name tags that indicated their nationality. There were Indians, Canadians, Americans, Filipinos, Romanians, Slovakians and many people of other countries represented.
One of our servers in the dining room that we chose to eat in each night was Wynetta, who was from Nicaragua. If you read this column regularly, you’ll recall that our church went on a mission’s trip there last fall. Because of that connection, I was interested in asking her a few questions.
She was very pleasant and attentive when she discovered that I had some knowledge of her country.
In between her busyness, I was able to ask how she got into the cruise business. She told us that she was a single mother of three and had been making $100 per month in Nicaragua. The chance to work on the ship presented more financial opportunity for her. However, she has to be away from her kids 10 months of the year, while her sister looks after them. As you can imagine, her story broke our hearts.
We had a pleasant connect with Wynetta the rest of the trip.
The second conversation that lingers with me was with our taxi driver on the way to the airport. His name was Juan. He is from Honduras. Knowing that this borders Nicaragua, I asked him about his country and mentioned that I had been nearby. Immediately, he mentioned that he has a friend in Nicaragua and the conversation took off.
We chatted about the struggles of Central America and the stresses of living in a place where we have it all. I mentioned what we as a church had done in Nicaragua and he thanked me for helping the people of that region.
We were having such a good chat that he drove right past our airline stop – which was OK by us – for it was a great conversation.
When we were getting out of the car, I practiced my limited Spanish. I gave him his tip, shook his hand, and looked straight in his eyes and said Dios le bendiga – which means God bless you.
At this his eyes lit up and he began speaking Spanish to me. I, of course was lost, but his enthusiasm said it all.
Bob Pierce is quoted as saying, ‘Let my heart be broken for the things that break the heart of God.’ This is not always easy to do. We get so caught up in our own world. I am guilty of this.
But I am thankful that God put these two people in my path. I can now pray for them by name and for the situations they are in.
My prayer for myself is that I will live out this quote at home.
TAGLINE: Ken Banks is the pastor at the Wesleyan Church in Truro.