A Day I Will Never Forget!

Protection in a storm

A day I’ll never forget is January 29, 2023 – when our boat nearly capsized in the middle of the ocean!

I was nearing the end of my stay in Chuuk when we took a memorable trip. In fact, a picnic on the outer island of Mid-way was organized with the intent of capturing one more memorable occasion before my departure to Ebeye. I had been assisting at the Chuuk Seventh-day Adventist School on my way back to the Marshall Islands.

When we left Chuuk’s main island of Weno around 8 a.m., the weather looked promising. The district pastor, the missionaries from the school, and I sailed smoothly through the calm ocean waters.

We reached Mid-way Island in half an hour using a 40-horsepower long boat. We enjoyed a wonderful time swimming and hiking. By early afternoon, we were ready to sail back to Weno. However, by the time we left shore, the ocean was getting rough and the clouds were building up in the sky.

Huge waves had formed along our return path to Weno. Our experienced sailors quickly hatched a plan to circumvent the waves by taking a longer but safer route between two islands that would provide protection.

The weather grew worse as dark clouds and pouring rain significantly reduced the visibility. This cost us dearly as we missed the turn towards the two islands. We had to stop in the middle of the storm to make out where we were and correct our course.

All onboard were soaked in the pounding rain and some of us, especially the kids, began shivering. We agreed that we should disembark at one of those islands which belonged to a family member of one of the passengers. There we could warm up before continuing on. After safely reaching that island, we were well received. They provided dry clothes, warm lemon tea, and an encouraging worship before we set out again.

We returned to the boat for what would feel like the longest ride ever! Our sailors had to battle very strong waves to get around this island and then turn towards the other island in order to shelter us between the two.

While this provided a shield for a portion of the journey, we had to eventually leave the shallow waters for the open ocean. Within minutes, the growing waves became rougher. We thought it couldn’t get any worse than that! Little did we know that the scariest moments were just ahead.

Towering waves reaching higher than our boat started charging towards us. The first one approached, rose higher than the boat, then crashed down onto our boat. Waves of this magnitude hit us successively for some minutes, rising high then filling our boat until we began to sink!

Acting quickly, we grabbed cans and scooped the water overboard. Yet, the boat felt heavier with every battering wave and our own darkening thoughts. Would we make it out of this danger?

Then, the boat turned around. This miraculous move is what saved us! I later learned that one of the sailors at the controls had turned us back toward the island where we had earlier disembarked. Once turned, the waves were now behind us, pushing the boat forwards instead of downwards.

We returned to the shallow waters surrounding the island that had received us in what felt like an eternity ago. Upon disembarking, we were shaken but with grateful hearts that the Lord Had safely led us out of trouble.

God provided that island as refuge. His protection was like Isaiah 4:6: “It will be a shelter and shade from the heat of the day, and a refuge and hiding place from the storm and rain.”

We spent the night there then sailed out in the morning with another boat from that island as our guide. When we finally reached Weno, I had a few minutes to get ready for my flight back to my island home Ebeye. It was truly a memorable trip.

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