By Jayna Richardson
Shore excursions are part of the fun of cruising, but this year’s Love Like You Mean It cruise provided a different kind of opportunity for 37 guests when the boat docked in Progreso, Mexico, on February 16. These cruise participants, instead of going sight-seeing or finding other entertainment, paid for the chance to work in cooperation with the FamilyLife team in Merida, Mexico, to organize a food pantry for 50 needy families in the Progreso area.
God did a wonderful work, not only in the lives of the families who benefited from the supplies, but also in the lives of the cruise guests, who were able to visit with the families and pray with them.
The cruise members disembarked from the ship and arrived at a local church that morning for a time of praying (in English and Spanish). The pastor of the church, David Correa, met with the cruise couples and told them about the people living in the area and about the difficult financial situations and needs. Many of the local men are fishermen, and the early part of the year is a down time with no money coming in. So this help came at a great time.
Pastor Correa had made arrangements ahead of time to provide for 20 needy families from his own church as well as 30 families who had been identified by DIF (a government-run social assistance program) as families who would greatly benefit from a food package. The 50 families showed up at 12:30 and received food for their bodies and their souls. They listened to a brief devotional that explained the gospel message, received their food packages containing items like beans, rice, oil, tuna, crackers, and cheese, and enjoyed interactions with the cruise guests, who prayed with them and encouraged them.
The cruise guests were blessed and encouraged by the experience, too. They described the outreach mission as “amazing,” and some of the participants said they’d like to do a project like this in every port. Although they could have spent their day in Mexico shopping, visiting the beach, or exploring Mayan ruins, they chose instead to be active participants in the work God is doing in hearts and lives in this coastal town.