“As I said goodbye to them, I crouched down to their level and told each and every one, “Jesus loves you. NEVER forget that.”

Igniting My Heart Again

By Ricardo Bacchus, Editorial Assistant, CQ Bible Study Guide

There was a time in my life when I had a fire for outreach and ministry; a time when my spiritual box wasn’t confined to the General Conference walls. Since my last mission trip to Cuba in 1996, the flames had been nearly stomped out. But from December 9−16, 2012, Cruise with a Mission rekindled my passion—full-fledge. I was sent by my department, Sabbath School and Personal Ministries, to promote CQ (Collegiate Quarterly). However, I returned from the trip to promote God.

Going in, I didn’t know what to expect. Being on a cruise with heavy-smokers and alcoholics didn’t seem like a “godly” atmosphere for a group of Seventh-day Adventists. I understood that our mission trip would be at the various islands we’d be visiting, but didn’t realize that it would include the coarse presence on-board. So, at first, my only objective was to help the poor villages.

In Jamaica, there was a group of us who went out to a small Christian school, where I was given a class of 50 three-year-olds. I told and retold the story of baby Jesus. It either finally sunk into their minds, or they were completely bored. Improvising, I got them to sing songs, although all I heard was either shouts to God or to each other. Not knowing how else to keep them entertained, I pulled out my smartphone. Bad decision. They had never seen an iPhone. There were about 10 kids grabbing at it, pulling me in every direction. One kid was even able to snatch it from my grip. And for some reason I didn’t care. They loved seeing a video of themselves, laughing and roaring away.

When snack time arrived, the kids gobbled up their food. I was famished and dizzy from the heat. A boy must’ve seen it in my face because he offered me a plantain chip with his filthy hands. I graciously ate it. Then one after another, the students lined up, giving me cookies, crackers, and juice. I was amazed how humble they were, tending to my needs. All this time I was talking God to them, yet it was their giving to me that showed me they were walking God. What beautiful little people. As I said goodbye to them, I crouched down to their level and told each and every one, “Jesus loves you. NEVER forget that.”

Back on the ship, a fire started to burn within me. There was a young adult, Paul, not associated with our group, whom I had met earlier in the week. I prayed I would see him again. Bam! I saw him the same day and invited him to church on Sabbath, our last day on the cruise. Thinking that he most likely wouldn’t show, I was shocked when he sat next to me. During Pastor Ryan’s appeal to “get out of the boat,” Paul dedicated his life to God. With tears in my eyes, I stood up, joining him. I also noticed that there were other people present whom I had not seen before. Other Cruise with a Mission members had invited them as well!

Although I was seasick a good part of the time, I told my wife, Jina, “I will never go on a cruise for pleasure. But, I will handle the nausea again, to reach others for Christ. Next year, I will be going on Cruise with a Mission—Alaska! If for no other reason than to touch the lives on the boat; not necessarily those off of it.”

In the meantime, my mission hasn’t ended. My fire continues to burn, spreading to those around. Watch out! A wildfire may be headed your way!