Before 20-year-old Hananja Nel (Netherlands) joined Logos Hope in February 2020, she worked in a restaurant kitchen and as a waitress. While she enjoyed the work, she was looking forward to something different for her time on board. Hananja hoped for a role in the ship’s bookfair, where she would have opportunities to be in contact with local people and serve God by sharing her faith. But she has seen how human plans have changed in 2020 and that God is still at work through different circumstances.
Because the ship has been closed to the public as a precaution against coronavirus, interacting with visitors in the bookfair has not been an option and Hananja was given a job in Logos Hope’s kitchen. She admits the duties caused her some inner wrestling with God: “After another frustrating day, surrounded by dirty cups that had to be cleaned, I opened my Bible and read about Jesus rebuking people whom he called hypocrites. He challenged them for ‘only cleaning the outside of the cup and dish,’ but told them that inside, they were full of greed and self-indulgence. Jesus says we are to examine our inner selves and attitudes before the outer appearance.”
Hananja realised that serving God well is not about the position she works in, but how much she is willing to surrender her own plans to God so that He can fulfill His plan. “It is not about me; but about being a part of the whole Body of Christ,” she says. Now she views serving food to her fellow volunteers just as necessary a role in Logos Hope’s community as reaching out to local people wherever the ship goes.
“King David in the Bible was not just in one position throughout his life,” says Hananja. “He was a shepherd, a harpist, a soldier and a king. Each position transformed him more and more into the person he would become in the end, which we read was described as ‘a man after God’s own heart.’ I think working in this department is part of God’s plan for shaping me,” she continues. “Maybe the kitchen is the place for my transformation where I may become more and more like Jesus.”
So Hananja’s perspective of her workplace changed. “I understand that I can feed people; not just literally by giving them food in the line, but also by praying that they will be fed spiritually. What God tells us to do is love Him and love our neighbours – and this is something I can do anywhere. Whatever place I am in, this is the place to glorify Him.”
Hananja has now been given more responsibility as one of the galley’s shift leaders and she is in fact continuing a family tradition: her father also served in the catering department on board Logos Hope’s sister vessel, Doulos, 25 years ago!