06 Nov Christmas onboard the Africa Mercy
Georgia Ainsworth volunteered with Mercy Ships for two years with her husband Peter. Georgia served in our communication team onboard the ship. She tells us what Christmas is like onboard…
There might not be any chestnuts roasting on an open fire, nor will the weather outside look frightful, but there is one thing you can guarantee each Christmas on the Africa Mercy – the volunteers onboard their floating hospital home are making the most of their unconventional advent season.
Despite the miles of fairy lights, festive cabin doors and an abnormal number of Christmas trees representing various nationalities, it was hard not to notice the absence of loved ones. But it was on the ship that I realised that it’s not just my immediate family who are my ‘loved ones’. All I had to do was look around to see that I was surrounded by them. Americans overdosed me with sugar during the gingerbread house competition, Dutchies shared their biscuits as part of Sintaklaas and the Scandinavians made the whole ship feel like a fairy land during their candlelit performance of Santa Lucia. Then, to top it all off, the good old Brits fed me Christmas pudding whilst we all listened to the Queen’s speech following a spectacular feast put on by
the galley crew.
I’d never listened to the Queen’s speech before coming to the ship, nor had I ever been so excited to see Twiglets and Quality Street, yet being out there you grasp hold of anything you can that makes you feel more like home. The whole day is a celebration of love, family and of course the birth of Jesus. A wonderful reminder of the hope we have in this infant king – the reason many of us are serving in the first place.
It may not be what we’re used to, but God is faithful and provides everything we need when we are obedient in serving him. Not once did I ever feel I was missing out spending Christmas on a ship. Christmas on the Africa Mercy left me feeling fuller, richer and overwhelmingly loved by my ship family, making the day uniquely special and undoubtedly memorable.