Logos Hope is now on Penang shore! I'm so excited because it means the next shore the ship shall stop at is Port Klang, and I'm excited about that because it means I can finally visit the ship and the long-awaited book fair.
If you have no idea what is it about the ship that I look forward to so much, Logos Hope belongs to the Operation Mobilization (OM) Ships International ministry that goes all over the world to reach out to people of all culture and to supply literature resources through the book fair on board and the many activities organized by the Christian ministry.
The last time the OM's ship came to Malaysia years ago, it was still operating aboard Doulos, which has already been sold last year after 32 years of service with OM Ships. Logos Hope is the new ship, so of course it is larger, and I'm sure, better. I think I have been on board Doulos twice with my family when she came to Port Klang. I was very young (not that I'm very old now; just slightly less so-young) at that time, so I didn't buy many books from the floating book fair. But I do remember loving being on the ship, just taking in the oceanic atmosphere made more lovely by the presence of books. Somehow, of the many events that have become a part of my growing up, the experience on the ship clung on to me like a barnacle to a rock.
I do sometimes wonder why I'm so drawn to the OM Ships ministry. But mostly, I know why. I've had a love for ships and the oceans for as long as I can remember. I love the sound of ocean waves. I love the taste of saltiness in the air. I love waking up to the sound of seagulls making their calls. I love that when the ship is sailing in the middle of the sea away from all light pollution, I can have the most mesmerizing view of stars in the night sky. And visiting the book fair was what opened my eyes to the possibility of serving God while travelling across oceans to see the world. That only heightened my passion for ships and missions.
The thing that sealed the passion in me was a book my eldest sister bought from the fair itself. I'm not sure if she ever read the book, but like what I would always do when she bought books or borrowed them from her college library (yes, Che, that's how I started reading chick lits, or more specifically, the Shopaholic series) and left them around the house, I picked up the book belonging to her and read it. That book was True Grit by Deborah Meroff, an OM journalist (not sure if she still is). It is a collection of true stories of women of God who went to different parts of the world -- from Lebanon and Egypt to Tajikistan and more -- to serve as missionaries. Their stories are really gripping, and inserted in between the stories are scary facts and statistics of social issues that plague the world, such as female infanticides and honor killings. Reading the book was my first time being exposed to such horrors mankind was capable of. And that was enough to make me want to do something about them.
One of the stories that captured my attention the most was the one about a woman's journey with her young family serving in the OM Ships ministry. I could read the story so many times without every getting bored with it, and I have. It chronicles the woman's journey with God, joy in working with the other volunteers on board, struggles with persistent sea-sickness and loss when the very first ship, MV Logos, was destroyed when it ran aground on rocks in a harsh weather. I know life on board a ship as part of a mission crew is not all idyllic and romantic -- in fact, reading the story only convinced me that life on board will definitely not be breezy -- but I still feel a longing in me to be part of this ministry. Maybe it's the love of ships and anything nautical. Or it may be God's calling for me. That would be fantastic. But I don't know for now.
At the moment, I'll just keep my eyes and heart open to all the possibilities and opportunities that will come in my life. I do believe though that there's a reason for God to put this ministry so close to my heart. But for the immediate now, I can't wait to visit Logos Hope!
P.S. Logos Hope will be on Port Klang shore from 28th September to 24th October 2011. It will stop by Kuching, Kota Kinabalu and Singapore too. Do check out the OM Ships website for the schedule. So close now! =)