Tuesday, 3 June 2008

Where Has My Motivation Gone?

Yes, I know this is a random title to head this long overdue post, but over the past few weeks I've really lost my motivation to keep this blog updated (bad Murray!). But hopefully today will mark a change as I write this entry. So what has kept me from writing? Why have I been neglecting this website?
I could say "work" but that would be a lie. I could say my friends take up my time. But that would also be a lie, as there aren't that many left at the moment. I think it is just general apathy. And the fact that I'm feeling rather tired. Tired because I feel that it is time for a change. I'm tired of my job in Reception. I enjoy it, yes, and I try and do a good job, but I want to move into the field that has had my attention for a while now - Communications. And this change will be happening shortly. The long-awaited transfer of Murray Crawford from Reception to Communications. My boss, the Purser, called me into his office last week. The short of the matter is that I will be moving out of Reception on June 23rd at the earliest and June 30th at the latest. This works well as these were my initial dates of departure from the M/V Africa Mercy. Which means that I will be fulfilling my original commitment to Reception and then able to serve the remainder of the year with Communications. This is very exciting for me.

But it is also a time for reflection. What have I learnt during my time in Reception? And the answer to this is a lot. Not only the technical aspects of the job (which are really interesting - such as the Fire Panel and ship's emergency systems), but I have learnt so much about myself. Before I came I was shy and didn't know how I would handle the pressure of being upfront all the time. But God has been so faithful. He has given me so much confidence - confidence that I never really knew I had until I came here. God has stretched me and has forced me to come out of my shell in ways that I would never have seen myself doing a year ago. I am awed by His faithfulness to me - even when I'm unfaithful. He continues to give me opportunities to be who He created me to be - and this also excites me. Especially as I now have this opportunity in Communications - an industry I could see myself moving into in the future. So I am so very thankful. All glory to God.

What else can I talk about? Well, there is one thing. Last night (Sunday night) I watched a documentary on Liberia's civil war: Liberia: An Uncivil War. It was an eye-opener - make no mistake. Just five years ago a heavy battle was fought right outside the Freeport of Monrovia for control of the city. It was fought just three kilometres away at the bridge that connects Bushrod Island (where the Freeport is located) and the main city of Monrovia. Government troops under Charles Taylor fought against the LURD (Liberians United for Reconciliation and Democracy) rebels, who had over 70% of the country in their hands. And whenever there is war the civilian population suffers. The LURD had control of Monrovia's major supply route, the Freeport, which meant that Monrovia was essentially under siege. Thousands of refugees sought safety at camps set up on land near the US Embassy, thinking they would be safe under the eyes of the Americans. A mortar shell proved them wrong. The battle for the bridge continued for many days in late July 2003, with neither side gaining a clear advantage. The Americans were heavily criticised for their lack of action - they were seen as having abandoned their closest African ally. Eventually the outside world intervened and 700 Nigerian peacekeeping troops, from ECOMIL, the military force of ECOWAS (the Economic Community of West African States) were deployed. And with that the war was over. The presence of these peacekeepers brought an end to the fighting. Not a single shot was fired after they arrived in the country. Charles Taylor stepped down and sought asylum in Nigeria. The UN arrived in numbers over the next few months and with over 15,000 UNMIL (United Nations Mission In Liberia) soldiers deployed, Liberia was the UN's largest peacekeeping operation in modern times.

Wow, I went into some detail there! But then again I do love my history. This documentary not only highlighted the cruelty and brutality of war, but it also brought home the fact that Liberia has, as the UN says, "a calm but fragile peace". At least there is peace. Something which is desperately needed in this turbulent world. And this peace is largely thanks to the UN peacekeepers deployed in this country. The above photo is of one of these Nigerian "Blue Helmets", who guards our gate. As Jesus himself says in Matthew 5: 9, "Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called the sons of God." God bless.

No comments: