Over the past few years there has been an increasing number of ladies itching to do something out of the ordinary. Something that combines their love of travel and their desire to serve with the need to relax and refresh while recharging mental, physical and spiritual batteries with other women of faith. Not all women are comfortable going on a mission trip to a faraway destination, a primitive area or a Third World country.
With this in mind, the idea was born by Northwest Adventist women's ministries to sponsor "a women's retreat at sea"...a cruise with a purpose, along Alaska's scenic Inland Passage.
Making WAVES...Adventist Women Making a Difference included a relaxing seven-day Alaskan cruise, August 3–10, through some of the world's most incredible scenery on a deluxe cruise ship. On-board seminars presented by Deborah Harris, motivational speaker; Rhonda Whitney, Oregon Conference community outreach director; and music by Margie Salcedo Rice, Christian recording artist, ignited and inspired women while preparing them for our many off-ship outreach experiences.
Ports of Call
At three ports of call, Juneau, Sitka, and Ketchikan (towns only reachable by boat or plane), community outreach projects were arranged by Rhonda Whitney in cooperation with local Alaska pastors Gary Waterhouse and Charles Geary and their congregations, as well as community contacts.
Three Reasons for Outreach
First, it allowed cruise participants experiences for practicing to make outreach more than an act—a lifestyle.
Second, it gave the local Adventist congregation encouragement for reaching into its community through varied activities.
Finally, it presented many opportunities for the name Seventh-day Adventist to be positively represented in each community.
Not all outreach took place at ports of call. As on any mission trip, there were those catch-the-moment, faith-sharing experiences the Holy Spirit planned throughout the week that were not listed on the itinerary. And some of the outreach became "in-reach." One participant commented: "I no longer want to look at outreach as an event, but as my lifestyle—I've discovered a new ‘me.'" Another summed up her feelings this way: "I dream of the day our church is just like this ship—where every guest feels like a Cadillac and every member's joy is to carry out only the Captain's wishes."