I remember when I first joined OM, I was told to take advantage of every opportunity I find because before I will realize it, my time would be over. How true those words were not only then but still relevant today.
Little did I realized that God would use the Doulos ship to teach me so many precious lessons and at the same time giving me precious experiences that would change my life forever.
Many lessons were learned on board, living and working with different nationalities, cultures and mindsets.
Another precious experience comes from on land evangelism and working with churches. Many bonds and friendships were made and some last through the years.
I remember one particular sister in Puerto Rico. She would take our team out to eat and see places. Magdalena Porrata was a sweet woman. She didn´t belong to any one church due to past bad experiences but love the Lord.
After I left the ship and went to Bolivia she started supporting me with a small sum of money each month. She even helped to get a poor Bolivian man´s eye operated on after I told her of his condition. After a while I didn´t neither hear anything more from her nor received any more support.
One day I received a letter from a lady in Puerto Rico telling me that Magdalena died. Nevertheless, the Doulos ministry had indeed impacted her life and she did her part in world missions before the Lord took her home.
Another experience that marked my life is a lesson on faith and trusting God. When the ship was in Tenerife, Spain, our IT (Intensive Training) team did a 100 kilometer walk.
I remember walking up towards the highland area. After some distances I was thirsty and prayed that God would give me water. Somewhere up the road I found a bottle of water. Later on in the journey and feeling a bit hungry, I prayed that I would find some fruits to eat. God heard my prayer and I found some grapes along the way.
Along the halfway mark, it was getting dark and the weather was a bit chilly up in the mountain side. Our team was wondering where we could spend the night. I prayed that the Lord will help us find a house to sleep in. Within a short while we found an empty, abandoned house where we were able to spend the night, protected from the chilly weather outside.
The next day, walking back towards the ship, it started to rain and I prayed for an umbrella. Down the road I found an abandoned umbrella. Could it all be pure coincidences or is it God who answers prayers?
Another lesson on faith and trusting God was when the ship was in Fuerteventura, another of the Canary Islands. I and another brother from Indonesia went on a 3 days faith trip. Again I see the hands of the Lord in taking us there and back to the ship, providing and supplying all our needs. As we started walking aimlessly trying to figure out how to get to our destination and back, God brought alongside an Argentinean businessman who knew the Doulos when he was in Argentina and as we started talking he indicated that he was going in the same direction and could offer us a ride in his car.
To cut the story short, God taught us a lesson on faith and His provision. We went out without any money, managed to get to our destination and went back to the ship before it sailed away without, having sold out every bible and book that we took along, shared the Gospel with Catholic nuns, Mormons, Jehovah Witnesses, Hare Krishna folks and other eastern religious people.
These, together with other experiences, the Lord used to later lead and confirm His calling for me to go to Bolivia as His missionary up till today. Indeed great is His faithfulness. To Him be all the praise and glory.