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My dad grew up in the panhandle of Florida for most of his teen years through college. Most of that time he was out fishing, sailing, and surfing; and ever since my dad was a young adult, he had a dream to sail around the Pacific Ocean. Well, that dream has never been fulfilled, living landlocked in the rugged mountain of Asia Pacific. But my dad still had that idea in the back of his mind, and over the years he read more and more books about it. He did research about sailing with a family, the easiest rig to handle for small crews such as our family, and so on. After a while, my dad was quite the “armchair” sailor and knew just about everything there was to know about sailing across vast oceans.
Since my brothers and I have gotten older, my dad thought this would be the time to take such a voyage. My oldest brother, Morgan, needed to get back to the States in time to start college. Since this would be our last big family adventure for a while, it needed to be pretty epic. My dad did all the planning to build a boat. It would be a 65-foot catamaran, which is like a double canoe. We had it built in a coastal town called Nabire. We hired boat builders, wood workers, sailors, and others to build our double canoe.
I can't talk too much about the building process because it would take quite a while to explain, but after about a year, both hulls of the boat were mostly finished. We then moved to Nabire to finish the boat and start our journey. We wanted to stay only a month, but due to many challenges and a few unexpected setbacks of building a wooden boat on a beach in a developing country, it ended up taking three months to get it mostly ready and into the water. It took us another month actually living on the boat before we could sail out of the huge bay we had been anchored in for so long.
Our plan was to go approximately 500 miles down the coast to Sentani, the town we always go to when we have breaks. We were hoping to get our final supplies there. But every time we tried to start making our way out of the bay, we got hit with a big storm and were forced to go back to our anchorage. After a couple of tries, we finally started making headway. It took us two days until we finally broke free of the bay! Now we were in the Pacific Ocean.
It took some getting use to, always being on the water. We were trapped on a 65-foot boat unable to go anywhere else.
Our compass was a tool we could not do without; it was what kept us on course. Many times I would be at the helm steering and look away for a second; but once I got my eye back on the compass, I realized that I was southwest instead of just west. The compass can be an example of how we relate to God. If we always keep our eye on Him, we will never wander away on the wrong path. But if we get distracted on the things of this world and look away, we will wander down the path of destruction. That compass will be a good example to me for the rest of my life.
Another thing that is crucial to living on a boat is that the crew must work together to see the vessel sail safely. If the crew doesn't work together and everybody is working on his own, then the ship will never safely pull into a harbor again. This must also be applied to the body of Christ. Everybody must work together to see the gospel go out to all the nations.
The crew must also trust their captain. They must be confident that he knows what's best for his crew, and the crew must obey him even in the roughest of storms. If the crew does all these things, they and their boat will stay safe. So must we trust our God and believe that He knows what's for our best. If I keep my eye on God and trust Him, then surely I will never go astray.
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