Editor’s Letter

April 2014 - Editor's Letter
by Lori Hatcher

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April 2014 - Editor's Letter

Her name was Natalia, and she was invisible.

Sukarno was, too.

In contrast to the high-ranking officers who commanded attention as they moved about the cruise ship, Natalia and Sukarno blended into the background. They wore no dress whites or gold bars on their shoulders. They didn’t need to. Their rank was obvious. The brown rag and carefully balanced tray told everyone they were part of the cleanup crew assigned to the dining room.

My husband noticed Natalia because she had been wiping the same spot on the already clean table next to us for the past 10 minutes. We were lingering with friends in the dining room after dinner, laughing and telling funny stories while the servers cleared tables and tidied up.

“Where are you from?” he asked her.

“Russia,” she replied in heavily accented English. Encouraged by our interest, she began to tell us about her life aboard ship and her desire to one day study in the United States. “I need to improve my English before I can handle college coursework,” she said. Within ten minutes, Natalia had gone from being part of the background to becoming a real person with struggles, hopes, and dreams.

Sukarno was invisible, too, until he served us coffee after dinner one evening. He smiled broadly when we asked him how long he had served on the ship. “Sixteen years,” he said. Knowing that crewmembers work a six-month term and then have two months off, we were impressed. “Do you have a family?” we asked, and before our coffee was cool enough to drink, Sukarno had shown us pictures of his wife, son, and parents back home in Indonesia.

As I thought about Natalia and Sukarno later that evening, I realized something. The more I got to know them, the more I began to care about them. I started to imagine how it must feel to live apart from their families for six months at a time. I wondered if they were ever bored or lonely. I began to care about their spiritual lives, too. Are they believers? Do they have personal relationships with God?

Why did Christ die for you?   www.whyhedied.org

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