Thursday, October 18, 2012

A Port in the Storm

I get seasick faster than you can say “All Aboard” when I get on a cruise ship. I know it’s not all in my head, since I got sick on our honeymoon cruise to Bermuda sixteen years ago. Last week, without leaving dry land, we took another cruise of sorts when Charles and I spent six days with seafarers from all over the world.
We, along with three others seniors from our church, drove to New Orleans (N’awlins) to work with the staff of Global Maritime Ministries. “Global Maritime Ministries exists to provide holistic Christian ministry by meeting the spiritual, emotional, and physical needs of seafarers and maritime workers.”1 Our main purpose in going was to support the hospitality efforts of the small, dedicated staff that works at the ministry center. We served fruit, cookies, and brownies to cargo ship seafarers and provided lunch for the cruise ship staff from at least fifteen different countries. Workers from India, Bulgaria, Turkey, Ukraine, Philippines, Romania, Bali, Zimbabwe, Nepal, Taiwan, South Korea, Peru, Nicaragua, South Africa, and Indonesia came through the doors. All the world’s major religions and languages were represented by those men and women.
The maritime center serves as a “port in the storm” since it provides a safe, wholesome environment away from the ship for the few hours the ships are in port. A ministry shuttle bus picks up the seafarers at the ships and ferries them to Wal-Mart or the Center. Most visitors immediately run to the computers, plug in their earphones, power up their smart phones, and log onto Skype so that they can contact their families back home and catch up with world events on the internet. It will be many months before they will get to see their loved ones on their home turf. After an hour or so, they drift over to enjoy the free goodies and engage in conversation with us. Occasionally one will ask, “How much is the cost.” Everyone smiles when we explain, “It’s free, just like God’s love for you.”
Many opportunities for service are available to seniors. A mission trip, while tiring, does not have to mean going overseas. It could just be in your neighborhood, or a neighboring state. It’s just a matter of finding the place that God wants you to serve.   

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Issues With Our Tissues

Work outs, aerobics, power walking, and strength training are activities that make me want to run in the opposite direction.  I am not the worst couch potato in my age group, but regular exercise is not high on my priority list. The one exercise that calls my name is deep water aquatics. I try to make it to the YMCA pool at least once a week—not nearly enough to do any good.  At least I don’t have to lie when my doctor asks, “Do you exercise?” Last week at the pool, several of us were chatting about what makes us get up early in the morning, put on a bathing suit (we all get stars for that), fight the school traffic, and get into the sometimes chilly water for our class. One shared her arthritis miseries, another her recent back surgery and I talked about my fibromyalgia. We all had a good laugh, when I suggested that everyone that comes to the pool probably has “Issues with their Tissues.”
As I climbed out of the pool, ladies arrived for the next class called Senior Fit. Some were walking with canes, one on a walker, and several others walking very slowly with limps. Those seniors have not given in to their condition, but are doing everything they can to maintain mobility and quality of life. Aquatic exercise works because it helps to decrease stiffness, improves range of motion, and, unlike land exercise, reduces stress on the joints. In other words, it helps the “twinges in the hinges.”
If my goal is to finish my life well, then I must continue to exercise physically and spiritually. I am not a runner, but I take inspiration from the Bible verse in Hebrews 12:2a. “And let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith.”