In 2000, I received an invitation to join, “A Company of Women,” on a cruise. As one who is dependent upon the LORD for provision, I knew that if HE truly desired for me to step into this opportunity, a miracle would take place. The final reservations were due January 1, 2001. When the time came and passed, I thanked the LORD for HIS decision that I would not be joining the cruise because I completely trust HIM with the outcome of my life. More than two months later, on Thursday, March 8, 2001, I received a phone call informing me that my place on the cruise was paid in full, along with additional travel expenses. God is not confined by time or space or deadlines. I rejoiced and thanked the LORD for opening a seemingly closed door and began praying for the fullness of HIS plans and purposes to arise.
May 20, 2001,Sunday ~ We flew to Los Angeles to make the connection with Carnival Cruise Lines. This was my first cruise and I was very excited to experience it fully. We took a shuttle from the airport to the ship, literally sailed through customs, boarded the ship with much anticipation and then met upstairs on the top floor dining room for an extravagant buffet at 3:00 PM.
The luggage arrived in our room, M236 (Main Deck – Color Coded Blue) about 7:00 PM. As I am one who prefers to be settled as soon as possible, I unpacked and took as little space as possible since the room was very tiny and I had two roommates, Marilyn and Carolyn. As the third member in the room, I was given the upper bunk. A small metal ladder hung over the side of the bed.
Navigating the narrow ladder on a daily basis would be a miracle. The size and space reminded me of a bedroom I shared with my three sisters as a child, so I did not find it confining or claustrophobic.
The crew provided us with ample information about the different scenic tours offered at each port. The Holy Spirit directed me to sign up for four tours at the destination ports of Cabo San Lucas, Puerto Vallarta and Mazatlan. I anticipated many divine appointments and HIS favor, grace and mercy over the tours.
The most impressive aspect of the cruise was the ocean. Providing an eternal and spectacular horizon, the Pacific Ocean provided safe journey to our scheduled destinations. The endless beauty, sparkling majesty, expansive depth and deep blue color were mesmerizing.
May 21, 2001, Monday ~ Sunrise…oh Joy! As we embraced the day! Cerulean blue sky painted with white fluffy clouds scudding across the horizon! Indigo blue whales spouting puffs of white foam above the rhythmic waves rippling across the cobalt blue ocean! Glory! Glory! Glory! Alleluia! Swimming, sunbathing, sauna and whirlpool, massage, oh mercy, we were blessed beyond words. The cruise offered three scheduled dining times: 8:00 AM., 12:00 noon and 5:45 PM. The evening meal required formal dress and the same tuxedo clad waiter served us each evening meal. The ship was equipped with nearly everything one might imagine for a vacation: running track, sauna, aerobic classes, salon, massage, Jacuzzi’s, swimming pools, three perpetually open restaurants, gift shops, piano bars and stages for dinner shows.
This was our first full day at sea and we were generously given the morning to adjust to the motion and layout of the expansive ship. The first “A Company of Women” meeting was scheduled for 1:00 PM in the afternoon. The meeting began much later than planned with a presentation of prophetic gifts to each woman in attendance. Each person was invited to share a personal introduction as this time was designated for us to become acquainted.
This evening, between dinner and the “A Company of Women” meeting I met with Diane, Shannon, and Diana on the upper deck where we witnessed to a young man named Russ. He accepted Jesus Christ of Nazareth as his personal Lord and Savior. This was a rich opportunity for me to learn about evangelism, which is not my usual anointing or gifting. The glorious, radiant, colorful sunset on the top deck tonight was truly an exclamation point to a perfect day.
May 22, 2001, Tuesday ~ Early in the morning, the LORD blessed me with a wonderful gift from Diana, one of the women on the cruise, an exceptional haircut. As one blessed with naturally curly hair it is rare to find someone that truly knows how to cut curly hair…because it is all about the curl.
Puerto Vallarta was the destination of our tour today. Our tour bus driver and guide were Rudy and Raul. We shared the Gospel of Jesus Christ of Nazareth with them and they accepted Jesus as their Lord and Savior. During the rainy season many of the stops are not available because of the inclement weather. Fortunately, we had beautiful, warm, sunshiny weather and we able to visit every destination scheduled.
In Mexico, there are many historic Catholic churches. Whenever our tour bus stopped near a Catholic church, I placed an offering in the offering box and then anointed the holy water basins, the pews, and the doorposts with “Celebrate HIS Freedom!” Holy Anointing Oil. The tour was a gift from the LORD and I considered it to be an ordained prayer journey. The scenery was extravagant with a variety of trees from paradise such as the mango, coconut palm, coconut oil and elephant ear. Amazing! The Pacific Ocean was like a watercolor palette blending cornflower, cerulean, sapphire, midnight, military, lapis, and many other translucent shades of blue. The weather was extraordinarily beautiful with a soft warm breeze caressing us throughout the day. The infinite favor and bountiful blessing of the LORD surrounded us.
During the “A Company of Women” gathering later in the day, 21 women shared a bottle of champagne for communion. God literally uncorked it as the cork launched straight up out of the bottle. Champagne bubbled over the top. We giggled endlessly.
May 23, 2001, Wednesday ~ We went on the City Tour in the morning and then on the Countryside Tour in the afternoon. The tour guides unintentionally became our prayer guides as they shared the historical highlights of the land providing many prayer insights. The evangelistic anointing richly poured out over Diana, Shannon and I. Everywhere we went, the Holy Spirit opened doors for us to share the Gospel message of eternal love. It was the first time in my life that I participated in an evangelistic outreach to share the salvation message of Jesus Christ of Nazareth with those from another culture who spoke a different language than my own.
The primary religion of Mexico and Baja California is Roman Catholic. Each person we encountered was a member of the Catholic Church, yet, we found them to be very open to the Gospel of Jesus Christ of Nazareth. As only God could orchestrate, a conversation would begin with Diana asking the person if they knew Jesus. The Holy Spirit anointed my hearing to understand the Spanish language that was being spoken. In a sense, I became the translator, which was a miracle because more than 30 years had passed since my last college Spanish class.
Most of the Catholic churches are designed with open windows and no central heating or air conditioning. Many of the churches are built with adobe or brick and the exteriors are then whitewashed to resist the relentless hot summer sun. There are ornate statues of the Virgin Mary and other saints positioned in various places inside the churches. Beautiful hand-carved wood benches are aligned in neat rows to provide seating for people. Diana sang in every church we visited. Often while I anointed with oil and prayed, she boldly prayed over anyone at the altars.
Upon returning to the port, we spent time on the expansive shell scattered and agate-pebbled beach, danced in the warm waves, embraced the wind, and enjoyed the hot sand titillating between our toes!
May 24, 2001, Thursday ~ Mazatlán Sierra Madre was our designated tour for the day. We anticipated seven and half hours in a moderately air-conditioned bus with the steaming temperatures outside rising above 95 degrees. The first tour stop was a place where hand-made bricks were formed from a mixture of clay, manure and sawdust. This was quite something to observe in 105° weather. The mixture was poured-by-hand into crude wood forms and then left to dry in the sun until fully baked. I was uncertain if this was truly how they made a living or a created tourist attraction for soliciting funds. A little further down the road, we stopped by a dusty furniture factory that housed furniture with ornate carvings, a potter throwing large pots, and a man cleaning fish - all on the same factory floor. The factory was an open floor design building, perhaps 10 by 20 feet with rough wood floors.
As we toured near the historic Saint Sebastian Church, alongside the dusty dirt roads we saw a mama goat with baby twin kids. Then, we traveled up a very narrow, winding road to a little city named Capola, with a population of 900. The city’s first building was constructed in 1565. Our tour bus stopped for a few moments in this place where Diana rode a humble donkey on the ancient conglomerate cobblestone street as I walked alongside. I met four young boys named Victor, Manuel, Enrique and Marco with very large brown eyes, each selling small hand carved miniatures of their city, for one American dollar. I poured Holy Anointing Oil at Saint Joseph’s Church and prayed for the city. The people are tenacious in their daily struggle to survive. We walked by an elementary school without windows, floors or a playground; it had just a simple dirt yard. The window openings were covered with rusted chicken wire. The playground had a pitifully old battered swing set without any swings towards the back of the lot. It was very hot, dusty and dry. Even though it appeared devastated, I felt the presence of holy angels in this place and the LORD’s tender care over this little city settled on a hillside.
The tour was completed in a little over eight hours with the weather boasting a hot 95 degrees and humidity to match. May our walk of faith and prayers make a difference for your people Holy God!
May 25, 2001, Friday ~ Lynda Peterson handed me a note with the following inscription,
2 Chronicles 15:3: "For many days Israel was without the true God and without a teaching priest and without law.” Combination of Levitical (Bring the Presence of God) and Zadok (God pleasers…purity of worship). Righteousness to minister to God and to represent God to man. Recognize the David’s…and a photo of a roaring lion.
Prophetic proclamations are sometimes given in the form of Scripture, pictures, words, art forms and/or gifts. Later in the evening, Lynda gave me a white linen hankie and said, “I wasn’t expecting to give this, it was one of mine.” The gift of this white linen hankie touched my spirit deeply and it birthed “The Linen Napkin” teaching that I first offered in a ministry setting in New York a few months later.
Friday, we toured stunningly beautiful Cabo San Lucas. It is not possible to capture the beauty of the panoramic landscapes with a camera lens. It is certainly something one needs to experience in person. To breathe the soft salt air and feel the breeze gently blowing. One stop on our tour included a glass-blowing factory filled with beautiful pieces of artistic glassware and another was a local artisan’s gallery. A portion of our tour included driving by a six-star hotel with suites for $700 per night. I thought to myself…maybe next time.
Our guides, Raul, Rudy and Rueben with genuine alacrity provided us with historic, ethnic and cultural information about the people, the cities and the land so we could pray more effectively. We were especially excited when they each accepted Jesus Christ of Nazareth as their personal Lord and Savior! Only a loving God would invite us to participate in HIS Kingdom advancement on earth.
At the close of the cruise, Joy gave me the Scripture, Exodus 31:1, “Now the LORD spoke to Moses, saying…”
My heart was deeply touched by the friendship of Diana, Shannon and Lynda who were extensions of God’s mercy and grace as HE is transforming me into HIS image. All in all, it was evident the LORD God Almighty uncorked the new wine!
May 26, Saturday ~ We were savoring the luxuries of this extravagant cruise as we finished packing and prepared for departure. When I was on my way upstairs to the gift shop to purchase a small tote bag…Diana and Shannon invited me into their room and gave me a beautiful carry-on suitcase. Diana said that I needed to look more sophisticated when I came to New York. As one who has never been to New York, I was truly grateful for the gift. The Holy Spirit has divinely knitted our hearts and we are planning a ministry outreach to Kingston, New York where Diana and Shannon reside. A truly divine connection of the Most High God!
May 27, 2001, Sunday ~ In the morning, we gathered in the spacious and beautiful Atrium for cruise photos. Stephenie began singing the song, “I Will Sing of Your Love Forever.” Gradually, we all joined in and the sound of praise filled the atmosphere. Every single person on ship could hear the sound of worship. It was a farewell song, a love song and a song of gratitude. Who but God?
After our imminent disembarking, we rode large air-conditioned buses to the nearby airport. Diana and Shannon were on the same bus giving us an extra 30 minutes together, a precious gift of time. I witnessed the LORD’s overt love so many times on the cruise. HE hugged us over and over and over!
When we arrived late at the Portland, Oregon International Airport late, due to a delayed flight, the person scheduled to provide transportation had come and gone. Thankfully, Lynda gave me a ride to Gresham, which was a bit out of the way for her.
My life is full to overflowing of the amazing love, miracles and kindness of ABBA ADONAI! For HIS Eternal Glory!