Pause for Thought: On the ocean blue

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IT certainly was a voyage of discovery for Jo Stapleton, who gave us her story in late 2009, describing

in this column how God had called her to work with the Christian organisation Operation Mobilization.

Her home for more than two years would be on board their ship Logos Hope.

Now that she is back, what was it like?

“I had responsibilities in several areas. On the book exhibition, customer service, shelf-filling and

security. At times I was shift leader, organising rotas and in charge of the deck.

“When I worked in the accounts office, I had more contact with the leadership and I learned how the

money was used! Dry dock was always expensive, water and, of course, food for 400 people.

“I spent one month in the galley – hot and cramped – then helping in the cafe and welcoming

visitors. Cleaning, too, was something I had to share in.”

So was it all straightforward and plain sailing?

Jo admits that there was something of a ‘pressure-cooker’ atmosphere as she shared a cabin with

three others.

“Trials, inevitably, but I learned how to enjoy such close fellowship. Trials result in blessing. An

encouraging Bible verse, then and now, comes from Psalm 43: ‘I will put my hope in God; I will

praise him.’”

During the couple of years Jo was away, there were visits to many areas of the world, including the

Caribbean, Africa, Europe, Asia and the Middle East, twenty-three countries altogether.

One particular place impressed her.

“Libya made an impact on me. As I was coming from a Western background, the culture left lasting

memories and the hospitality we received during our six-week stay there.”

On the other hand, although the Canary Islands are so attractive, Jo felt they were two tourist-

based for her liking.

“I would only go back to help the local people, not just for a holiday.”

In telling of her adventures and being honest about the highs and lows, Jo is obviously grateful

for the experience, and mentioned that O.M. has need of new members, especially staff for the

ship.

Would anybody here, regardless of age and background, like to get involved? Jo will be

happy to point you in the right direction.

P.S. The People Matter agency, based in Eastbourne, is to benefit from a concert at All Saints

Church on Saturday 30th June at 7 pm.

The international soprano Emma Bell is the main attraction and children from St Andrew’s and

St Bede’s Schools will also be taking part.

Emma has sung at La Scala, Covent Garden and Glyndebourne and her voice has been described

by The Guardian as ‘one of the most beautiful you will ever hear’.

The programme will consist of classical, operate and popular songs.

Admission is by programme, £12, when booked in advance by phone – 01323 431289 after 2 pm

or 416277 in the evening. £15 on the night.

Tickets can be collected at the event if pre-booked.

Ray Dadswell.