- Raeanne Newquist
Not Until the Last One Is Gone
When we arrived on the ship, there was not a French teacher for the Academy. My girls had started French last year in school and my hope was that they would continue, especially since we were living in a French speaking country.
Because I had taught introductory French at their school last year, I decided to try to continue teaching them myself. I already knew a curriculum I liked and simply re-ordered what I used last year. I decided to take the quicker, more expensive option and "crew mail" the text book to the ship (which means I would have to pay for shipping which added about $15 to the cost of one book). After 2 weeks, the book didn't arrive! I inquired with our mail service and they told me that the box was too heavy and would have been very expensive, so they sent it on a container instead - which meant I wouldn't receive it for a few months! How could one book be so heavy? It was a paperback workbook! not heavy at all! Hmmm...
Time passed and it turned out that I was able to enroll my girls in an online French class and I forgot about the book I ordered. In October, when a container arrived, I was told I had a package. When I went to retrieve it, I was surprised to find a rather large box from Christianbook.com. "Oh great! The text book finally came and I no longer need it!" (insert eye roll). And why did they send such a big box for one book?
When I opened the box I was shocked to find the French text book along with 10 other books! 10 Bible Promise books!!! What? I laughed as I remembered ordering these about 8 months ago for some friends as gifts before we left for Africa, they never came and I totally forgot about them! But now, putting the pieces together, I realized that I had placed them in the "cart," but never finished the transaction. When I went to order the French book and hit "Purchase," the 10 Bible Promise books were purchased too. So here I was, 1 French book I had no need for and 10 Bible Promise books that were meant for people back home! What a waste!
A month later a friend on board had a birthday and I was without a gift for her. As I walked past a shelf in our cabin, now lined with Bible Promise books, I saw the books and thought that would be a nice birthday gift. So I wrapped one up and gave it to her.
A few weeks later I was having coffee with a discouraged friend and I kept telling her she needed to hold onto God's promises to her and be empowered by who God says she is. She confessed that she didn't really know what God has promised her and that she doesn't really ready her Bible. "Oh, I've got just what you need," I thought, and I wrapped up another Bible Promise book and left it on her desk the next day.
As the months have passed, I have had many conversations with discouraged followers of Jesus who simply haven't read their Bibles and they have no idea who God is, what He is capable of, or what He has promised all who follow Him! Those Bible Promise books have come in very handy!
In the past 2 months on board the ship, struggling through the pandemic, quarantine, isolation and many goodbyes, there are many on the ship who are questioning their faith and others who have no faith and are inquiring for the first time. It's been very exciting for me and I've loved seeing how God has hand picked each person who remained to wade through these months. He has great purpose in each one and has kept them here for a very specific reason. As I've had the privilege to talk and pray with several, God has told me to give them a Bible Promise book and said we will not leave until the last one is gone.
On Sunday, Mother's Day, I gave away the last Bible Promise book! In our church service, God touched the heart of a dear woman and she told me she's never read the Bible and was going to go get one just then. I knew she was the one to receive the last Bible Promise book. So I went back to my cabin and wrapped it up, wrote a Mother's Day card to her and when I gave it to her, I told her about receiving the 10 books that I didn't intend to order, but God intended all along.
I guess it's time for us to leave the ship now, His purpose has been accomplished.