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Tuesday, February 4, 2014

To Sochi, With Love ~ Part 2

The Sea of Marmara, Istanbul, Turkey,
Near the entrance to the Black Sea on our way to Sochi, Russia

The 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia begins this week.  Anticipation is in the air for many reasons and I plan to be watching in the comfort of my living room.  But there was an event  in 1995 that transported me out of my living-room-comfort-zone, to a place I had never heard of before: Sochi, Russia.

Rob and I in crew uniforms on deck ofWWII ship MS Restoration
 Athens, Greece, last port before arriving in Sochi, Russia
June 1995
As I mentioned in my last blog, I am including an excerpt from my book, Lady and the Sea, that tells of my own personal moments of anticipation when the WWII ship, MS Restoration, arrives in the Sochi Harbor.  It is the moment the crew has been anticipating for fourteen months.  Now, one morning before the break of dawn, we are finally at the Sochi dock, picking up the Chosen Eight, as we endearingly named our beloved passengers. I truly believe these eight Russian Jews were hand-picked by God to make the five-day Breakthrough Journey from the Black Sea to Israel.  Now, for a few moments, travel back in time ...

Excerpt from Chapter 46:

... The crew held out their hands to greet the Chosen Eight as they walked carefully up the gangway.  The captain's wife shook the hands of each man, and wrapped her arms around each woman as if she were welcoming an old friend to her home.
     "Welcome to the Restoration," Tina said.
      They smiled and shyly answered, "Spasibo."
     Tina took the stewards aside and gave them specific instructions, as if she had done this many times.  
    "We cannot imagine what our passengers are thinking and feeling as they leave the port.  We must allow them personal time and space.  They are leaving their homeland and are wondering about this Promised Land they have heard so much about."
     The Restoration pulled away from the dock as the new day broke.  Silently, a mother held her daughter as they watched the shoreline fade from sight.  A family of four stood together, holding onto the ship rail and to each other.  An older couple, with arms wrapped around each other and tears streaming down their faces, made small conversation in their native tongue.
     Rosie and Tina watched from the balcony.  "Now I see with my eyes what this ship is all about," Rosie said as her own tears fell to the deck.  "It's about these eight brave souls."
     "Yes, the Chosen Eight.  But this is only the beginning.  Many more will follow.  As the Bible predicts, the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob will guide them out of the darkness, into the light. and to a life they have only dreamed about until now."
     Rosie put her arm around Tina.  "And this is what your dream is all about."
     "Yes, this is my dream come true.  And what is your dream, Rosie?"
     "When I was a young girl, my dream was to travel the world with Jesus, and with the man I love.  Now, as I am participating in this prophesy on this ship, my dream is coming true."
     Together, the two dreamers cried tears of joy.


Our tiny one-room cabin
WWII ship MS Restoration May 1994 to July 1995
Notice fan & stereo at foot of our bed; shortwave radio next to Rob's pillow;
Reading lights hooked on metal headboard
The good life.
We all have our moments of anticipation, especially when we are right smack dab in the middle of that moment.  Have no fear; know that God has placed you there for a purpose.  Then when you look back, you too might want to write about it.  If not a book, how about a short story to give to your family--so they won't forget.  Or at least a note to yourself in your journal--so you won't forget.  Believe me, time has a way of filling the brain with so much stuff that it sometimes pushes the important events out.

Remember,
~ You cannot discover new oceans until 
you are willing to lose sight of the shore ~

Until next time, I wish you oceans of blessings!

2 comments:

Jennifer Richardson said...

I love this picture of you in your little cabin! Wow....gives me a good sense of how little the elbow room down below the deck
with a life at sea.
You're beautiful then and now.
I imagine the Olympics will be extra interesting for you this year.
Hope you enjoy and that your birthday lingers long still:)
-Jennifer

Sharon (Cook) Leaf said...

I'm already following the Olympics.
From our ship, Sochi is a lovely seaside town.
We experienced the 'toilet' situation throughout our travels through Russia/Siberia.
It was the Russian people who make this country special. They were warm and giving to our team.
Those are the memories I embrace.