Regina recalls, “It was the event of the year, to board this missionary ship with an international crew. It was a big party for us! I have memories of us kids running around, people laughing and this sense of joy and peace. It was like entering another world.” On the bus ride home, Regina told her best friend, “When I grow up, I want to be on this ship.”
Four years later Regina was not practicing her faith, when dance drew her back to God. Regina explains, “Dance was the only link between me and God, and having that ministry at my local church is what started my relationship with God.” When she was twenty, Regina was suddenly afflicted with a debilitating back condition until God healed her and called her to serve Him in missions. Regina was still passionate about dance and the Lord was nudging her to use that passion to reach others, but she assumed that dance and missions were incompatible.
During the same season, OM came to Regina’s church for a large conference. As Regina researched various mission organizations she could join long-term, she noticed, “OM was the one that felt most like me, because they involve arts in many of their ministries.” After attending the conference at her church, Regina knew that “the Ship” she was drawn to as a child was where she would be trained.
“It just seemed to have a place for everyone, with any kind of skill, experience, age, etcetera. I wanted to be trained on the field, more practically, and then see where God would take me.”
Although Regina recognized the Spirit’s clear call to missions, when she introduced the idea to her family, they expressed concern and said they wanted her to pursue a career, as others in her family had done—architects, doctors, teachers, and sales managers. Were they right, Regina wondered? Was this just a wild dream to do more than work, go to church, be a good Christian, and have a nice family? But when family and friends bid Regina adieu at a farewell dinner, her mother offered, “I prayed to God to close the doors for Regina to go to the ship if it was not his will. With God opening all the doors, I’ve slowly accepted the fact that it is indeed God’s will.”
There were others, like Jesús Cruz, who recognized and supported God’s call on Regina’s life. Jesús worked with OM in Sonora and offered encouragement, biblical advice, discernment about God’s plan, and the witness of his own life.
Though it wasn’t easy for Regina to leave the dance, artistic, and evangelism ministries where she was invested at home, God reminded Regina that their flourishing was His business, not hers. “The hardest part, though,” she says, “was saying goodbye to my family. Mexican culture is very family-oriented. I love my parents, siblings, niece, and nephew very, very much.” She desperately wanted them to understand that she was not leaving them, but was responding to God in obedience. Regina explains, “In the end, they understood and were happy for me. My parents remembered that they dedicated me and my siblings to God, so we belong to him completely.”
Aboard the ship, Regina was offered the opportunity to launch a dance group that would minister both to the ship’s community and to those who would come aboard to visit the ship in various ports.
“This,” says Regina, “has been one of the greatest joys of my journey. I just felt like I had a place where I could go outside of the box and it would be okay.”
Today, Regina serves aboard the Logos Hope, a ship that spends anywhere from five days to one month in ports around Asia. When visitors board the Logos Hope, they have the opportunity to visit the Book Fair and the International Café. Crew members from around the globe mingle to connect with visitors. The ship’s guests can buy tickets to concerts and performances held in the 450 seat theater, and enjoy drinks or ice cream. A smaller theater offers video screenings, as well as live dramas and music. Ship staff often share Christian or cultural songs on the piano and cajon — a portable drum box. Regina says, “There’s always music and interaction. It’s dynamic and a lot of fun!” When lines to board the ship become long, the crew takes the party outside as well.
Regina is the ship’s Onboard Events Team Leader. She oversees the organization of all public events on the ship — from school visits and concerts to mission events and official dinners in each port. Every day is different, but most begin with both personal and community devotions.
“I don’t have a rigid schedule,” says Regina, “it’s very flexible and changes according to the need. But I get to be a lot with people, which I love.”
The community of 400 crew members, says Regina, is amazing. She gushes about her Onboard Events team, “They are great people who are humble, godly, hard-working, funny, and supportive. They are people with such beautiful hearts; it blesses me to have conversations with them, whether about work, life, funny stuff, or any other subject.”
Though the team’s primary purpose is to serve guests, they are also committed to serving each other. One day when Regina was at a low point, feeling like she had nothing left to give, she broke down in tears in the office. “It was one of those times,” she explains, “when you cry from the bottom of your heart.” A colleague began ministering to the woman who cares for so many. Regina explains, “She started to speak God’s truth to me, reminding me of my purpose on the team and on the ship. She prayed for me and I felt how God’s love can have human hands and feet.” This friend did for Regina what OM staff do for the ship’s guests every single day.
One such encounter is still vivid in Regina’s mind. While in Thailand, Regina developed a friendship with a local Christian girl whose boyfriend was Buddhist. During the month the ship was docked, Regina and the couple enjoyed spending a lot of time together. Just before the ship set sail, Regina and a friend shared the Gospel with the young man. To Regina’s disappointment, he was very closed to it, and she sailed away brokenhearted about his distance from God. Regina and the couple lost track of each other, but a year later, the ship returned. The couple made a beeline for Regina. She remembers their story, “After we left, God started to speak to the young man in dreams. He started to attend church and accepted Christ in one of the services. He is a drum player and joined the worship band. He was baptized and is now sharing his testimony of how God took him out of drugs, depression, and alcoholism.”
Marveling at the young man’s story, Regina declares, “God is still a God of miracles.”
Lord, we thank You for Your heart of compassion toward the lost and forgotten. For us You sent Your only Son. We ask You, in Your great mercy, to shine Your light into the darkest corners of this world. Use us as You will, Father, to bring the beauty of new life in Christ to those who have not yet heard, that they might also believe and follow Him.
Join one of our many short-term trips or view our long-term opportunities.GO