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Newtownbreda Baptist

Tracy on the Doulos. - update

Dear friends,

Many of you write and ask me "Do you ever get sea sick?" Well the answer is "yes", but strangely enough I didn't suffer on our voyage from New Zealand to Australia, considering just how rough it was! It began as a beautiful smooth voyage, but on the 4th day we were hit by what is now known among Douloids as the Big Wave. Due to the unusual rocking things were falling off shelves everywhere. I was in the library trying to dodge falling books when a massive wave smashed through double doors on a lower deck, sweeping them from their hinges, and allowing 3 tonnes of water into the ship. The salty sea water proceeded to flow, ankle deep into cabins on that deck and also downstairs to cabins below. What a mess, considering some had left what had fallen off their shelves on their cabin floor!. Others were afraid because they did not know what was happening, but thankfully no one was hurt. It made me realise once more, just how much God is in control and watching over us each time we sail. As we reached calmer waters there was a lot of cleaning up to be done before we came into port. Our arrival in Sydney was very spectacular. We all stood out on the decks, wearing our national costumes and waving flags as a helicopter and two vintage planes flew overhead. We cheered as the Sydney Opera House and the Harbour Bridge came into view and about 1000 people were waiting at Circular Quay to welcome us along with a Salvation Army Band.

Sydney was a very active and busy port with over 50,000 visitors onboard during our stay. As it is such a multicultural city we had meetings for Arabs, Chinese, Hungarians and Italians to name but a few. But between leaving Hobart, Tasmania a few months ago and arriving in Sydney we spent a couple of months in the country of the Long White Cloud, New Zealand. The countryside there is quite like home, although they have more sheep, in fact they have a ratio of about 16 sheep per person. We visited the ports of New Plymouth, Christchurch, Napier and Auckland. Our main purpose was to encourage churches, challenge people to missions and to build up partnerships. We also had many opportunities to experience a little of the Maori culture. We had a special meal cooked for the entire ships company and lots of traditional Maori singing. To watch Maoris sing with actions as they praise God is a beautiful thing. During my time in New Zealand I was involved in teams visiting churches and also programmes onboard ship. One of those was called Kids Mission Adventure, a two hour programme for 8-12 year olds. They learn about different cultures, countries, street children, ship life, a memory verse, how they can share the gospel, and medical missions. It is in the medical missions where I share some of my experiences with them and how God uses doctors, nurses etc in the mission field. We also have a new 20 minute programme called Making Waves which is evangelistic, colourful and fast moving. It is run about four times during a Sunday afternoon for visitors and the gospel is shared through drama and testimony along with an insight into ship life and the ship ministry. I was asked to learn the part of the MC which I was a bit nervous about, but found that I enjoyed the challenge and was even asked to do it again! I also recently started to learn puppetry which I have found great fun but I think I need to exercise more as my arm muscles ache afterwards.

During our time both throughout Australia and New Zealand we were very blessed with food, computers, new vans, and car and excellent hospitality. Now I am as busy as ever with work. We will be in Brisbane until the 19th August, then we sail to Papa New Guinea where at least 40 people are leaving within the first three ports. I will be arranging their flights (along with my own at the end of September) and this will take a lost of organisation and good communication to get everyone a suitable flight. I enjoy the challenge and the job satisfaction......when things work out well, and I would appreciate your prayers in this area. We are presently in Brisbane until 19th August and this will be our last port in Australia for a while.

Love Tracy           

Aug 99

Tracy is Now back form the Doulos