Peter had been invited back to the ship by the Training Director, to restart a training program called the Intensive Training (I.T.). This was a boot camp type program modeled after the Outward Bound courses.
Participants in the I.T. had to go running every morning at 5:30 a.m., read a certain amount of books, listen to a certain amount of message tapes (now it would be podcasts), attend classes, be on call 24/7 to unload cargo containers or for any other job required – and keep a log of everything. The I.T. tested every area: physical, emotional and spiritual. (Side note – It was an amazing program and many alumni have gone on to be true world changers and influencers.)
And so, Peter set about relaunching the I.T. To do that he would need two male and two female team leaders. The department heads gave him a list of candidates. I was on it.
Enter, once again, that dread Pirate Roberts. I mean, that dread Social Policy.
You see, generally speaking, the SP applies only to your first year with OM – unless you’re in the I.T.! So, though my first year was up, and Peter was beginning his third, he still could not be forthcoming with his feelings…
Well, when he saw my name on the list, he wrestled with it, and decided to be open with his leader. To his surprise, his leader encouraged him to approach the Ship’s Director (who also happened to be my “ship father” as we were assigned to families).
The Director gave him permission to share his feelings with me… He also expressed serious doubts about what my response would be!
Peter was undaunted.
[Meanwhile, I had sensed he’d be making his move, so I had written my mother telling her about him. Back then, OM asked that, for cross-cultural relationships, you have your parents and pastor’s blessings. I found out later that when Peter had been home in South Africa he’d shown his parents a picture of me and given them a heads up on what might happen.]
He spoke with me on a Friday. I told him I’d pray about it for three days (come on! you can’t make it easy, gals) and tell him Yes on Monday! Monday came, and it was a Yes.
And so, a brave new chapter had begun.
We now had Secret Social Permission, for the duration of the I.T.
And we were studying openness and transparency with our teams.