Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Home in Benin!

This is my favorite photo of the sail into Benin! Deck Crew praying us in!

Here’s my last post about the sail because I am currently sitting in…can you believe it…Cotonou, Benin! Last Thursday Mom and I went up to the bow at 6:15am to watch the sun rise as we sailed into Benin. When we got up to the top deck it was still pretty dark outside, but we could see twinkly lights shining from the LAND! We hadn’t seen land in several days because we veered away from the coast when we reached the Gulf of Guinea (for piratical reasons…is that a word? Piratical? Hmmm…). We had one little lantern shining bright in the early morning and I couldn’t help but think, “This little light of mine, I’m gonna let it shine” as we sailed closer to our destination where we get to let the light of Jesus shine! 

An African deck crew member was given the task of hoisting the Benin flag up the flag pole early that morning and he was so excited and wanted a picture of him raising it. 

As the sun started to come up more and more people joined us on the deck until is was quite crowded. When we were still pretty far out a drone started circling the ship from the National Geographic team that will be onboard filming for the next three months for a special eight-part series on our ship! 

I had prayed that there might be a sunrise that morning (because it had been totally overcast for the past several days) and there was!!! It was beautiful!

I spy the Nat Geo Drone!

As we got closer and closer to the port we could hear music playing and we finally realized that it was a band playing us in on the dock! Then we could see the Advance Team (who are Mercy Shippers who have been in Benin for the past four month preparing everything for the ships arrival).
The Advance Team waiting for us on the dock!

The band welcoming us in
First look at our new dock space

 All the elementary kids onboard waved our flags of Benin that we had made in school from the top decks. The time for school to start came and went because how could we start school when we were finally reaching our destination?!? Our ropes came down and got tied to the dock and we were for sure and certain there to stay!

We did finally go to school and at 5pm there was a special welcoming ceremony on the dock (which there are no pictures of because photography was not allowed…sorry!). A few of the crew got to attend the ceremony and it was like watching a wedding ceremony with the captain and other select people processing down the gangway and one of our highschoolers even got to present a bouquet of flowers to the first lady of Benin! There were lots of speeches in French, which I didn’t understand, and lots of singing and dancing to celebrate the fact that we are now in our new HOME!

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