may 27 – june 9
Cardiff, Wales is one of the fastest growing international cities in the world. And it was my favourite – and saddest – port. Favorite because of this:
And saddest because of this:
My cabin mate and dear friend Bethany left to head back to Australia. Sad 😦 In fact, on June 2 my short-term program that I had been a part of ended all just about all of my fellow STEPpers headed off the Logos Hope and back to their homes. All of my cabin mates left to head back to their respective locations of Malaysia, Australia & hong kong, and i was left to move out of my cabin and into a new, temporary cabin.
Our berth in Cardiff was probably the most perfect location possible – we were right in the middle of a pedestrian area with a park and very close to Mermaid Quay. Mermaid Quay is a trendy area full of various bars, restaurants and nightclubs. The area not only provided a conveniently located Starbucks for us to chill at, but also plenty of opportunities to meet people, share with them and invite them back to the ship.
I went on a church team while in Cardiff and had a chance to share about life on the ship, and also have lunch at the home of one of the church elders and his wife. My friend anna was there with me as well, and we had a really great lunch and tea time in their garden. Anna and i had mentioned to the couple that we had to be back at the ship by 2pm, her for a meeting and me for a phone call. As we sat drinking tea, the wife of the couple turned to me and, with alarm, asked “Are you drunk?” Um… WHAT? I just sat staring at her, and she looked down into my cup, up at me, and asked again, “Well?? Are you drunk?” I looked down at my cup, back at her, over at Anna, back at her, with my mouth gaping open, and finally stammered out “I… I… uh… ummm…” She looked at my cup and then at me one more time, and said, “Your tea… is it gone? Are you all drunk up and ready to go?” Ahhhh! She was simply asking if I had finished drinking my cup of tea! This is one of the many instances that has helped me to see that the accents/lingo of those from the UK is even more difficult for me to understand than ANY non-native-English-speaker i have thus encountered.
My favourite ministry by far in Cardiff was the opportunity to work with a group called Rainbow of Hope. Rainbow of Hope works with churches in the Cardiff area to distribute food to homeless and hungry individuals every night of the week. We were able to pass out food and talk with local people about their lives and their journeys. I met a young man who had come to Cardiff seeking asylum from his country, and the torture he endured there that made him nearly blind. He told us that the only reason he had gone there that night was to meet up with a friend who never showed up. He wasn’t a Christian, but after he finished sharing his story with us, we asked if we could pray for him. When we were done praying, he was shaking and we were in tears. He said to us, “Now I know this is why I was to come here tonight – it was so i could meet you.”
During our wonderful trip to Cardiff, we saw the sun for the first time in months! And also saw over 22,000 visitors come on board the ship. Excited by the weather’s turn towards summer, we got ready for the ship’s turn in London.