Spending the week on a ship

For week 6 of the DTS we are living on a ship in the harbour in Tauranga!
Us on the ship
(Picture shows Ben and Nai at the top of the gangway onto the Ship)
Due to the previous DTS to this one coming back from their outreach this week, we had to vacate the main YWAM base where we had been living, so that they could be there for their last week of DTS. This meant all 34 of us(25 students and 9 staff) moving here last Friday and staying until this coming Saturday.
The ship we are on is called the Pacific Hope. It is a YWAM ship that is used to bring hope to the nations of the Pacific. Its aim is to deliver quality medical care to isolated South Pacific island communities that have very little access to any medical help. This year the ship spent time in Vanuatu and Fiji offering optometry and dental clinics, as well as attending to general illnesses such as systemic skin infections, ear and chest infections, high blood pressure and blood sugar levels, also back and knee pains. To find out more follow this link.
Being on the ship has been strange/interesting experience for me(Ben) as this coming January will be 10 years since I arrived in New Zealand for the first time and spent 3 months living on a YWAM ship in the same wharf, in Tauranga as we are staying right now! 10 years ago I would probably never have predicted that I would be here on a ship 10 years later!
Ben on the ship
(Picture of Ben on the bottom bunk bed in our room!)
It has been a good change from being at the main base. As beautiful and amazing as the main base is, it can feel a bit isolated at times, and it has been great to be only 10 minute walk from town and have the freedom to walk in and out as often as we like and living by the water is always beautiful. There have been challenges living on ship with over 40 people however! With very small bedrooms with bunk beds, limited toilets and showers, small classroom, having to wear a hi-viz jacket and close-toe shoes every time we leave the ship and arranging someone to let you back in through the gate every time you arrive back from being out anywhere! And apart from Nai feeling it occasionally, we have managed to avoid feeling sea -sick even with the gentle sway of the ship.
Nai on the ship
(Picture of Nai and some of the students in a tight space on the Ship)
We also organised and ran a couple of Christmas parties this week. The first one was for the families and foster kids associated with the government agency here that looks after children, youth and families. We organised games, cookie decorating, balloon animals, and face painting. And the kids even got a visit from Father Christmas who arrived on the back of a motorbike! We had great feedback from the social workers, families and kids who all seemed to love it. This Friday we are running another party for a local Christian foster agency here in town called Open Homes Foundation. We will be doing the same sort of things and are looking forward to it. It’s great to be able to bless and work with the local community around here in Tauranga!

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