We were in Vitoria only a week. I just had time to fall in love with the Brazilian culture and start to learn the language. My new job was in the pantry – setting, serving and clearing tables, drying hundreds of dishes, and generally tidying up the dining room!
Never had dining room duty been so much fun, because most of my co-workers (also new recruits) were very lively and musical Brazilians! Despite the seasickness and the steaminess of the pantry, we spent many a shift singing and perfecting a two-towel method of speed drying plates.
Every crew member had a regular 8 hour/day job to keep the ship community afloat. These jobs rotated. Our formal ministry training and experiences were apart from those jobs. I dare say the “mundane” jobs taught us as much – probably more – about long term survival in ministry.
Ship life has often been compared to being in a pressure cooker. All the ingredients were there for something astonishingly delicious, but the true blending of flavors couldn’t happen until relational boiling point was reached! (To carry the analogy further, once that point was reached, it was often noisy!)
Somewhere in the pot was Peter. He had worked first in the engine room, then in the electronic department. They handled all the techie side of ship life: sound systems, lights, show setups… they even repaired our frequently burnt out small appliances! He got to practice lots of creativity in fixing or rebuilding electronics, as often parts were not to be found (or afforded). Now he was in the Training Department, leading Intensive Training teams (I’ll explain those in a future post!).
We remained completely oblivious to each other’s existence that first week.
Until it was time to cross the Atlantic.