Chris, I’ve had so much fun getting to know you & joking around with you. Thank you for sharing your wisdom, humor & life stories with our team! You’re a grand ol’ chap! – K

Thank you for all the joy you bring and for spending so much time with us! You are so fun to be around, and we love getting to know you!

Chris, you rule. I don’t know you very well but I enjoy the time I’ve spent with you.

Thank you Chris for being a true man of the Father. I am so honored to be graced by your wisdom & love for the Father. You inspire me to love and live a full life! – W

To Chris, you have such wisdom and knowledge. I love talking with you because you always have the perfect response and have funny observations. I am glad to have met you and look forward to our talking in the future. – A

Chris! You’re the best. Thanks for your leadership. L

I never could understand your accent, but I kept talking together because you’re such a lovely presence! You spread peace, love and acceptance, thank you for who you are! A

Chris! Thanks for everything! S

Chris, thanks so much for always sharing stories with us and being servent hearted – love K

We look forward to continuing our time together in IRELAND on Soteria! C

Chris! Thanks for all you do! Its been a blessing getting to know you! From G

Chris! Thanks for everything! S

God may give you wisdom and knowledge and love for your next decisions. Be blessed. B & S

Chris, thank you for your hardwork and diligence. God bless you.

Thank you for teaching me all about the boat! A

Chris! Thank you for your servants heart & loving on us all! M

Captain Chris I am so blessed to call you my friend and my Brother in Christ. It is so worth the challenge of trying to converse in such as chaotic environment as you have great wisdom to impart that has been hard won. Thank you for your servant heart. In Christ’s love M

About a week ago, I had the chance to spend three days on a boat called the Soteria. The journey was a continuation of the Border Walk which is a 220 mile prayer walk along the border of Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland. Our course on the boat took us around the outer edge of Northern Ireland, meaning that our journey of prayer, beginning with the Border Walk and ending with the Soteria docking in Derry/Londonderry, encompassed the entire border of Northern Ireland. Not only was it a privilege to be a part of this voyage, and to pray for this land I love so much, but it was also fulfillment of a dream I have had since I was a little girl. Growing up in Grand Marais, I was surrounded by “sailboats” but because I didn’t know anybody who owned one, they became in my mind these beautiful things that were always just out of reach. But that didn’t stop me from dreaming that one day I could sail one of those ships. It’s crazy how many times God has graciously given me the desires of my heart (even the childish ones), and He totally did it again. I can’t even begin to tell you the unbelievable joy that filled my heart everyday on this voyage. I’m so thankful for the incredible crew I got to sail with whose kindness, generosity, willingness to face challenges made this journey legendary. I can never thank the King of my heart enough for giving me this incredible gift. All I can say is God is so good. “Take delight in the LORD, and he will give you the desires of your heart.” Psalm 37:4

May you keep going on with this with God. Hope you will have a joyfilled year.

Happy birthday skipper! You have been a delight to spend time with! Thank you for taking us on this adventure! – K

Happy birthday Chris! I hope you have had a fantastic day with all of us ha ha! This trip has been so fun and I agree with K you have been a delight. C

You are appreciated. Every Blessing.

Thanks for being a great captain, and I appreciate the advice you’ve given us.

Thanks: your calm and precise directions during the sail were exactly what was needed. Thank you for your patience and willingness to teach.

Thank you for your calming spirit and gentleness. It was so needed and appreciated. I got the word wise when I was praying for you. You have so much wisdom to give and share and it is needed and valued.

Chris I’ve had fun chatting with you every once in a while. You are full of knowledge and insight into many things. Your ability to keep calm during stressful parts of the sail is what kept me from losing my sanity. You are a great captain.

You are a joy and a blessing. I learnt many things from you being captain.

Thank you for always being so helpful and calm. You always knew how to lighten the mood with a funny story; those were much appreciated on the sail. Thank you for being such an amazing captain!

Thank you for bring such a calm spirit and attitude during the sail and life on the boat. I appreciated your kindness to me and to the whole team.

Chris thanks so much for all your experience and patience with us in the sail. You’re a legend!

Chris! You’re probably the greatest captain there is. Thanks for your humour and putting me at ease during the storm.

“I just wanted to say thank you for the best week of my summer – if not the whole
year. The food was great, the sailing was really great. I am so excited about
everything I have learned this week, and for being able to get to know all of you.
Thanks also for helping me to try new and “scary” things and for your patience when
I just “don’t want to do it”

“Once again a fantastic trip with new challenges to overcome. Lessons of leadership
and life have been clearly seen and are valuable for the Journey of Life. As we
worked as a team we achieved some great things. When we all pull together it’s
amazing how each one of us gained a sense of Value and Worth as we fulfilled our
tasks. Thanks.”

Hello Vicky.
I want to say thank You very much so much to You and Chris first and Vo too. I’ve learnt so much. You’re a very special and brave woman. Never give up. Never surrender. I hope You finally had fought the better solution as possible to those problems, and I want to let You know that it was a very special week for me. Only God knows, but I believe. You had show me a new way, and your strength and perseverance makes me believe again…Maybe You don´t understand what i mean, but every little thing is very important. I think that I forgot that.

Anyway. It was a pleasure for me being there with You and help in little things in Soteria. If You need my help in Soteria or in anything else, You can count with me whatever It mate takes. I will contact Mr Udo as soon as possible about his tools. I send You some pictures that I took. I hope You like them…and excuse me for my bad english too!!. hehe.

I wish the best to You.

“Thank you for passing on to us your knowledge and enthusiasm for sailing. Your
amazing patience is such a picture of our father in heaven who is constantly patient
with us when we don’t always listen or follow instructions.
May you be blessed by the Lord as you continue to serve Him, and may you have
favour with the Greek authorities when you enter each port!”

Subject: Thank You for Soteria!
Tervehdys Vicky! as we say in Suomi

I am Misha and it is me who has been staying on your boat from time to time. It all started with a barbecue 2 moons ago @ the dock, where I had 5 Norwegian friends who were sailing around the world performing sirkus for people and kids.

I met a jolly funny man with whom I easily found the same language so to speak. This was Chris and I was surprised that there are so many Chrisses on the same dock. So I asked Chris if I could have my big backpack and spend some nights at the boat before leaving for the other side of the island. Chris found already on the next day something to do for me on the Soteria so I was happy to help him out and at the same time learn something new about the sailing life, even if this one is not at sea 😉 I became interested and happy from inside to do some more things on the boat and told Chris that it would be a pleasure to come back and stay with you after I’ve visited Gomera.

I surely enjoyed the island and met AMAZING people who affected me in all kinds of ways, I’m grateful for that, thank You all!

I came back to San Sebastian with intentions to sail with a Belgian guy to la Palma (one more time), where I had a girl I thought I was in love with… but life had other plans for me so I decided to spend some time in San Sebastian and see what would happen. I asked Chris if I could have my backpack on the boat and was sleeping at the beach but noticed Alice who was visiting and faster than I could say ‘Dallas salad’ backwards we were like a family on-board Soteria. With me cooking and sowing my always in need pants, Chris reading us morning stories and busy as an ant Alice making fresh scones. The atmosphere was something profound and heart-warming since I set my foot on Soteria for the first time and now it was glowing of radiant light with Chris humour, my socialness and Alice’s careness. No other boat I’ve encountered was the same, this was like a sanctuary for a a human being, diving instructor, captains, Danish people, visitors, a tired traveller, passer by the dock, vacationer (even if working), a family, bubble maker, a believer. Believing that wherever I am in this big/small world I have the blessings to find people and a place like this.

Apart from this experiences I had the honour to be thought how to work and sail, how to be listen and be listened to!

I will never forget Soteria and all the light it has multiplied in my life.

Thank you, Cpacibo, Tack, Kiitos, Danke, Arigato, Aite, Merci boukoupe, Gracias, Salaam & hoeb (peace and love)
Don’t change your heart but stay flexible and open as you are Soteria.
There’s time to meet and time to part, we stay connected in our hearts!
Love, Laugh and there you are the Light!
~Live and Let live~

MST: – ‘I was a bit worried at first, it was very obvious we were booking with a Christian organisation and I was a bit concerned they were going to try and ‘convert’ me, and I wasn’t interested in that at all. But Morning Star was a very special experience for me. They were interested in you as a person. They didn’t judge you or make decisions about who you were, they just wanted to listen to your story and learn about who you were, and to help you learn and grow in confidence. I had never met people quite like that before and it was a really special experience I will always remember.’

Disadvantaged Students

“The trip was indescribable. On of the best trips I’ve been on and would definitely go again. I’ve learned all the different parts of the boat. I’ve also learned how to work as a team and to be more open with others. I learned a lot of life skills. I also learned about safety on a boat and how to respond when there’s a man over board. I would consider sailing in the future where as before it would never have crossed my mind. The life skills that I have learned will help me when I am older. I wouldn’t have changed anything about the experience it was the chance of a lifetime.”
[aged 15]

“For me the sailing trip was the best thing I’ve done in my life. It was great meeting new people from a different part of England. I learned that when you’re doing sailing you can’t do it by yourself, you need a helping hand. I learned about teamwork and personal development. This trip has changed my life because I feel that I can be more helpful to those about me. The experience was phenomenal and there is no way that it could be better.” [aged 15]

“The sailing trip was exciting, fun and educating. We had to communicate with other people and ended up feeling like a big happy family. It was good doing to different places and discovering new things. We learned new terms associated with sailing and how to put up different types of sails. We learned how to sail a boat using the helm and how to cook and cater for a large number of people. We also learned how to associate, discover and accept behaviours in a new environment. I look forward to sailing again. I feel that I know how to associate with people and the trip has made me more comfortable about taking up risks. Overall the trip was perfect”
[aged 15]

The sailing trip was a great experience for me. I made new friends and went to places I have never been and possibly could have never been throughout my life. I learned how to mix well and liev with people I never met before. I learned how to tie knots (I thought that they were just weird ties before). I learned about different parts of the boat and about the Christian religion. Also I learned to cook and care for others. I have also learned to believe more in myself.”
[aged 15]

Hi – this news is really exciting…

I’ve run a report comparing behaviour and achievement points in the two terms before the trip and the 2 terms after the trip with the 5 students who were particularly vulnerable and at risk of either bullying or exclusion. And the story is amazing. A massive drop in bad behaviour for H and M. A significant drop for T (autistic student) also. Plus a huge increase in achievement points (rewarded for good work and effort) for all save one. All students can be seen to have benefitted hugely. With H, T and W the change is so dramatic that we really can claim that it was a life changing experience for them.

T is an autistic boy with complex difficulties significant behavioural problems.
H had been excluded on several occasions before the trip and was at risk from permanent exclusion.
W was a severe risk of failing school through bullying. There have been no bullying incidents since the trip.

Can I stress that the impact on these young people really has been amazing. The other 3 gained a huge amount also (though these were less at risk students).

“Thank you very much for the great time on board, for the patience while explaining
knots, duties and instructions again and again and for the fun and action with you on
board! I really enjoyed the time on board Genevieve. It’s a beautiful sailing boat! It
was a relaxing and refreshing time for my body, mind and soul. I hope, that I can
come again within the next years!”

“I have never experienced like this, it was the first trip with a boat like this and ……
……….. it was wonderful!!! I did a lot of thing that maybe I shall not do again. It was
one of the better holidays that I spend in the last 5 years. I like this boat and this crew,
Chris is very fun! Vasilis so good and patient with us! Lisa make the better that she
can. Thanks of my heart ……… (but I think that we share very very much) Oh!
Captain have not the fault. I really enjoying it!!!!”

“It is the time for our trip to finish. When it started I thought that it would be great
since I would have an experience I never had. Now that the trip is over, I couldn’t
imagine that the things I have learnt were so spiritual. It was a great trip with a lot of
lovely find that will stay in my mind as the best experience ever had. I will never
forget the cruise and all the days individually.”

“The 5 days we spent on “Genevieve Challenge” were really a great experience. It
was great fun and we learned a lot. It was a special trip and we are not going to forget
it. It was so funny with Leighsa and her chicken soup, with Marita and her really good
translation, with Chris and his clear orders (tigh off – or tie off?!? – everybody let the
halyets go) and Vasili with his waveboard and his brave heart! We all thank you so
much, don’t forget us, we won’t!”

“Thanks for the awesome, interesting, exciting, relaxing, fun/funny, great,
challenging, extraordinary, dynamic, blessed, special, incredible, bonding,
revitalising, captivating, strengthening, refreshing, adventurous, teasing, joyful, wet,
sunny, jovial, motivating, jubilant, spiritual, life-changing, “duty-ful”, beautiful,
enjoyable, restful, Greek, splendid, fantastic, phenomenal, enriching, “chessy”,
“bruiseful”, recreational, “vasiliated”, unbelievable ……………………… TIME !!!”

“When I first saw the boat, I thought where is the bed? As it is my first time on a boat
and not a ferry or cruiser. Wonderful time, great great sailing experience. You can
trust that I’ll be back soon. Very good crew and great skipper. Thanks so much and all
the best in your endeavours. God Bless you really good.”

“One of my ‘life’ questions to myself and others is: “When was the last time you did
something for the first time?” Chris, Vasilios Martina taught me many things and I
enjoyed a number of ‘firsts’. Thank you for your care, fellowship, safety. You are
appreciated and I am very thankful. Love will win the world. Indeed it already has!”

“A truly wonderful experience, from setting off at Skiathos on Sunday until our return
it has been great. Highlights of the journey have been in seeing the natural beauty of
the Greek islands. Skopolos is a great island much recommended. Friendships and
Fellowship has been a great experience, I feel I have learnt a lot about people and
bonded. Our ship duties have been great and brought out the best in team work. God
is great, his presence is reflected in nature, in the things we see, in the people we
meet, in the things we do. The Genevieve has helped me (shown me/reminded me)
this life is an adventure to be enjoyed with all concerned.”

“The experience I have had on this wonderful boat will remain with me forever. It
was a time where I learned about me, others and more of Gods characters. This has
truely blessed me. The crew and cook have worked hard and I thank God for them. I
hope in some way this experience has also touched them in a blessed way. Thank you

“We really appreciated to stay here for almost 2 weeks. It was nice to have all these
adventures: donuting, exploring caves, climbing up the mast and of course the storm!
God worked in all of us, and we will pray that this ministry here will serve to other
people as much as it did to us. Thank you Josh, Marita, Vasili (Bill) and Chris for

An extract from an encouraging letter from a guest who came on board and organised
a reunion for the guests of that trip: –

A Reunion

“We went swimming together and we spent the whole evening talking about the
Genevieve and the trip. On the weekend it turned out that the trip changed something
in all of us. Now after some months you can see what it really did to our lives and one
person said that it gave her the courage to think of starting something new in her life.
What we enjoyed most was the open atmosphere between all the people on the boat. It
was possible to tell the others your greatest fears and things from the depth of the
heart without being afraid of getting hurt. It gave me an idea how Christians should
deal with each other.
I hope that you find new strength to overcome all the obstacles you found on your
way during the last weeks. I was really shocked when I read your prayer support
letter, because I did not suspect that you had that big problems.
Today I mailed Theo the exact times when I will arrive in Greece and I am really
looking forward to this week.
At the end of December when the plan for February was made, it seemed like it would
not work out. I prayed to the Lord, because I thought that helping on the Genevieve
may be just something that I wanted but nothing He wanted for me.
I read a book at that time about doing Gods will and there was a verse mentioned
again and again talking about God calling us to do something for him.
The day I heard that it would be almost impossible to get a week off in February, I
opened the “Losungen”, a small book, which has bible verses for every day of the
year… and found that verse from the book I read. Just a short time later I got the
phone call that I would get 10 days off in February (which is more than I asked for). I
am thankful that God confirmed me to be on the right way.
Ok, I have to finish that email because I am working night this week and I have to
leave home in half an hour. Last night I was very tired between 2 and 4 o’clock even
though I drank far too much coffee… I am on my own with two units so it would be
great if you could pray for me. I experienced many times that something serious
would have happened if God wouldn’t have led me to the room in that moment. In the
night I always know how dependent I am on God (guess I should be through the day
as well, but I am feeling much weaker in the night.)
Hope to hear from you soon.”

“Thank you for your patience and kindness to all of us. Your service to God is
pleasing to Him and we can see God’s love and care of people through you and what
you do.
Don’t let anyone jump off high cliffs, just tell them to call me!
I will practice that rabbit in the hole, around the tree thing at home! Or is it up the
Remember that Jesus loves you eternally.”

“It’s time to say farewell to Genevieve and the wonderful crew that has made this
time so amazing! With my last breath of salty air I want to say my most sincere
thanks to Chris for “skippering” the boat. Chris, you have an amazing heart for people
and an inspiring heart for God. May the Lord bless you all.
“I came, I saw, I crashed a moped”.”

“Thank you for making this one of the best vacations in my life thus far! It truly was
an adventure I will never forget. May the Lord richly bless you as you continue
serving God in this way!”

“I can’t believe the time is already here to leave the Genevieve! It’s been a crazy and
exciting adventure. Thank all you crew for all your patience and all your hard work –
wow! I feel so blessed to have known you all. Pat, Tim, Marita and Chris. I also loved
hearing all your testimonies! Chris you are a superb skipper for sure! Thanks again!
May the good Lord bless you greatly!”

“We have had such an amazing time here on the boat. I could never thank the crew
enough for all he hard work and time put into our time on the boat. I learned so much
and God spoke to me in so many ways! I learned so much through the service and
kindness of each of the crew. Thank you for all the memories and for making our time
on the Genevieve the best!”

“Just a small card and gift as a thanks for knowing you. Thanks so much for your
humour, your English lessons [with or without an ‘s’], your trust and above all your
cares [and concern!!]
I really needed the concern, joke, No of course not, I am a stupid independent Dutch
woman [Don’t smile now!] No serious, I had a wonderful time at the boat and learned
so much from you. I admire you, how you became the person after all the things
happened in your life,
Maybe you wonder sometimes what special things you are doing why people say that
the time at the boat changed them. You don’t do that ‘special’, you are just yourself.
You listen to people and encourage them to do things they never dreamed of that they
would do them. The only thing you tell people is just do it. That’s at least what I
learned, just do things, especially when you like it!
As a thanks [and also to remember to] a small gift. I think you can use it and hope you
enjoy it! It is easy to make [with water!] Just read the directions for use, then you can
practice also your Dutch. Have a blessed time and also joyful time at the boat.”

“With this letter I want to thank you for patience with us. I was unhappy because I felt
alone but you were there. As I need somebody to talk or something else & you helped
to forgot the problems for some time. THANK YOU SO MUCH. It was a great time
on the boat and I enjoyed it. I learned a lot about the sailboat & I had to speak English
and that’s also good for me.
I will never forget this time with YOU and the crew. It was a time full of adventures,
and I like adventures.
I’ll never forget you, thank you for this time.
God Bless you! I’m missing you!
Please don’t look at the mistake’s in the letter.
God Bless You!”

“Hi Chris,
I’ll pray for you that you’ll find a job like that again. You and the sea…. belong
together. Thanks for the picture!
I think you are right about Theo. Do you remember the year when I came to help in
February? In that time I thought about coming to Greece for a longer period of time,
like Marita. But I found out that I would never be able to work with them. They are to
good for me, too perfect. I am not that perfect, so I found it impossible for me to work
But I think God has a plan with the Greeks, the project, the staff. Sometimes we
(human beings in common and Christian in special) have to learn things the hard way.
And I think that is what will happen.
I hope you took your funnies with you back to England. Here is something new for
your collection.
Hope to hear from you again,
Love “

“Hello Chris,
thanks for your E-Mail.
How are you? Are you a little bit lonely without Andy and Julia – and of course – us?
It was a really wonderful trip. I don´t know when I had the last time with such a lot of
free time – time to pray, to think about, to read the bible, to enjoy the nature and so on.
It was really wonderful!!! Thanks a lot for your work on the boat and for your
impulses from time to time – they were a real enrichment for me. As a result of the
trip, my prayer life with Jesus has changed. I try more and more to “share my
complete thinking with him / make always a prayer”. It´s not so easy during the day,
when I´m concentrated on my work, but I want to learn at this point and the sailing
trip was a real start for this. Do you understand what I mean?!
When I went back to my work, I felt that I´m well prepared for the “normal life” – so
it was a good start at home / at my work.
I´m really interested in your prayer list about the boat and you and so on, so please
send me the mails from time to time.
All the best, god bless you and protect you, ”

“Chris I wished I could talk to you, because you are a person that accepts people no
matter what education they have. I really miss talking to you….
I pray for you and that you find a work like on Genevieve! It was the perfect place for

“Dear Chris
How nice to hear from you..we were just speaking about you as Laura and I just came
back from a 3 weeks Biblical trip to Turkey and Greece and also a 4 day cruise in
Patmos, Crete, Rhodes, Santorini, etc…it was a great trip but we were reflecting how
the trip with you was once in a lifetime trip, fantastic in every was and in great part
because of your skills and patience and gift with people…without you the trip would
not have been a success and when the 8 young people with us talked about it, you are
the one they talk about as the one who made the trip extraordinary….we were all
baffled as to why Genevieve did not keep you…it is their big loss for sure, of that we
are all certain….
Here all is well, I have “retired” from work that is at the top of my success I have felt
that I needed to refocus my life towards God’s work….so I am closing my offices from
coast to coasts, finding work for my long time employees, and that’s it. My clients
want me to stay for a few years as consultant which I will do but now, at 50, the rest
of my life is dedicated to God’s work in a more full time way….I had told you I would
do this so its done….
Now it will take some time ajusting to the new life…..
Jeremy is graduating from university next week and then may do a year internship for
a Christian organization before going to graduate school….he is doing very well as are
Emilie our youngest and Harmonie our oldest.
Please send your adress and we will send you the DVD Jeremy made of our trip with
Also, if you come to the west coast, please come and see us. We are in Seattle and
constantly have guests who come and stay for a few days…you are welcome here.
We were just talking about chartering a boat to do in the Caribbeans what we did with
you in Greece…have you ever done that?
As for you and a sailing ministry, I am not aware of such a thing…does it exist?
We want to stay in touch so please do send your adress….we plan in being in London
this year again so we can connect…
Everyone here says hi to you and sends their love. You were simply the best. We will
pray that God will give you the desires of your heart in finding a ministry.
Love from all
Ps: my knee still hurts from jumping off the 70 foot cliff..we were idiots to do it, we
could have killed ourselves..but now we are heroes because we did it..and every year
the cliff will get higher…in ten years it will be a 150 foot cliff !!!! ”

“I think the reason for not having enough feedback is that giving feedback means
speaking about feelings and emotions. It means opening a very vulnerable place in
your heart to another person. If you had not understood my email the way I meant
it, perhaps you would have hurt my feelings. It is easier to say nothing because the
risk of being hurt is smaller.
The reason for relinquishing inner thoughts to somebody else is that confidence in
each other is the only way to cultivate a friendship, to make it last and valuable. So
many people, even Christians, are very lonely in difficult situations of their life.
Writing an email like the one I wrote to you yesterday is a little bit like climbing up
the mast. It is hard to overcome your own fears, but when you reach the top you
wouldn’t want to miss out on the experience!
I pray very often for you to find a Christian boat to work on. I think you and boats and
young people that belongs together. I wrote you some months ago that you are a very
important friend for me. I meant that. Many times since I met you on Genevieve I
asked God: “Why don’t I have a father like Chris?” If I could choose one, it would be
you and I am thankful to have a good friend in you. I just wished you were not so far
away. ”

“Hey Chris,
Thanks heaps for your very kind words of encouragement, they really make me feel
very appreciated and respected and loved. I try to live my life the way I think is right
anyway but such feedback is very encouraging and motivating. It was a pleasure to
work with you. I enjoyed to do all that I did because of the positive atmosphere you
had created and your servant hearted leadership. I was really touched a couple of
times the way you washed my feet, when I was ill you ran around and went and got
for me the things that I needed, the way you sorted out what I needed for my back
problem. I was really impressed. You have got so much sorted out and working well
and under control on the boat, it is just a pity about the struggle with Theo. Maybe
just try to do everything with a calmness as if you do them for the Lord. With your
interactions with —- just try and “act as if” the relationship with him was how you
would ideally want it. You may find that he begins to respond the way you would like
if you first begin. Remember it takes the strong person to serve the other and to make
a beginning.
Thanks again, hope to see you in England some time. By the way it was only 8
degrees when I got here yesterday, was like the middle of winter! A bit better today
though. It was a long day yesterday, got to bed about midnight, 2am your time. Bit of
a slow day today if you can believe it. Nice greetings to everyone else.
Be blessed
The one and only ——-.
(Be aware of imitations and pop up replicas!)
P.S. Thanks for the lovely thought of the chocolate. I’ll put it down to a memory like
one of my plumbing jobs 🙂 “

Dear Chris,
I don’t really know what I shall write you…. for me you were the perfect skipper for the boat, but let me try to explain you something which I think is important for you to know, because I experienced it myself in some way, and because I can see this thing happen to one of our doctors every day.
You are a very clever and intelligent person. You know many things, and you know exactely (is it the right spelling?) how to do your work. You like to do your work better now than later, but you are also very a very efficient worker, that means you know what you need to do, which rules you have to accept and which are just there to be there, so that it is not to important to take care of them. (Which is not negative). If there a three ways to do things, you can accept people using a different way than you do. Our doctor is somehow like you are.
What now happens is: People like M and T (which are really lovingworth (do you have that word????) people), get upset because they are very correct and perfectional. They love things to be done in always the same way and in their way. It is not because they want to upset or mistreat somebody, it is just in their character. (Like we all have bad habits). They don’t want to be like that, but it makes them crazy if things are done different or if rules are not kept.
The second thing that happens is: People around you (I can see it happen to our doctor every day) think you are arrogant because you know so much and you tell it the people around. Not because you want to show them how smart you are, but because you want to help them to make their lifes and work easier. But they think you want to be something better than they are.
Or you varie the way of doing something because you know it doesn’t really matter… it makes them crazy.
Like today: usally we remove the sutures (stiches) at the 11th day, but today our doctor went to a patient and forgot it. I was supposed to tell him that he forgot it, but I knew he had to do one more emergency surgery in the afternoon and would not be able to leave the hospital in time, that it was clear to me that he would not do it today but tomorrow, because it doesn’t really matter if it is the 10th, 11th or 12th day. Although I told him that he forgot it and he said “we will do it tomorrow”. I told my colleagues who was still at work and she got so angry “I knew it, why didn’t he ask me this morning, he can’t just do what he wants…., he is always like that.” I responded “that is not true”, but she did not listen to me. He is to good, knows to much. Sometimes (or often??) this things happen to me, too, but through the last years I learned to handle it a little bit better, I try to read in the faces when I correct other people.
Some days they tell me how fantastic it is that I know so much and on other days some of them seem to hate me for that.
So I love to work together whith our doctor because he does good work, he is reliable and he relies on my work, without being afraid that things are not done in the right way.
I think that this is the base (basis?) of the problems you had with the crew.
And Chris, just for you to know I was sitting in front of my PC and thinking what shall I write him and I asked god and suddenly all this thought came to my mind.
There is another thing you could do: Last year on the boat J (the cook) said, that she loves to work on the boat but that it isn’t always easy (for her and for you 🙂  but I know God has a plan with you and your live. When I am upset I love to read Psalm 6 especcially the last verses, because David is so despairing and this is ok for God. We don’t need to be happy every day.
Chris I’ll pray for you. When I say that I miss you I mean it honest. For me you are an important friend, I really feel a deep love (hope you don’t understand that wrong know) for you and I think of you very often. This may sound strange, but I want you to these things know in the hard time you have at the moment.
Being with you always meant for me feeling save and being able to learn a lot. I hoped to be able to come to Greece in November or so to meet the others at the camp and especially you… know I hope their will be another chance to see you again (before we are in heaven). Until then please don’t forget me and keep mailing me, ok?
Hope I was able to help you at least a little bit and to give you some hope.
In Christ

Dear Chris,                                                                                                      2005

From my sister Martine I heard you left the Genevieve. I am so sorry to hear that. It didn’t surprise me, as one of the reasons I left Greece was that I couldn’t stand anymore the negative stories they (especially M—–) told about other staff members.

This was one of the things that really bothered me there and you were one of the reasons I wanted to stay because I was so much looking forward to sail under your command. I thought that when we would work together during the summer things with the ‘mainland’ would be more on a distance. When I had a hard time in Greece, I tried to keep being focused on the summer, but I just couldn’t hold on anymore so I decided to go home (regretting so much for my stay on the boat).

During my stay in summer at the boat I really enjoyed your presence, your way of doing things (letting people discover it by themselves and help if necessary), but also your way of ‘being christian’; just relaxed, not forcing anybody, interested in the story of the other, with humor. I especially appreciate so much that you send me a short note of encouragement after my leave in Greece. You were the only one who letted me know something as this was of so much worth for me.

I will pray that God will show you the way you need to go now and take good care after you. I wish you all God’s blessings and hope to meet you one day again, maybe not here but in heaven.

With love and regards,

I—  —–

Thank you so much for your letters which you must have thought were whistling in the wind without response with so long a delay until. now! Thank you for your honesty about your breakdown & unhappiness. I experienced an episode & depression this time last year & whilst I cannot imagine what it must have been like to lose your job I do know what it is like to feel that you have hit rick bottom. Medication & counselling & other treatment helps but there are no permanent happy pills & I agree that there must be a much deeper level of contentment to push us through the unhappy times. Thank you for giving so much on the Morning Star trips, not just ours. Your involvement in the lives of others holds meaning for them & beyond our vision. You show love even when you do not feel it. I hope that love fills the emptiness you spoke of & causes you to glow with contentment but also with happiness. For a long time I was so focussed on an unearthly joy that I forgot to be happy & almost didn’t think it was a valuable goal. You are an example because you give even when you feel empty! I know I can give more of myself & make peoples lives brighter by being bright myself and when this is not possible by finding it in myself, perhaps with God’s help, to love anyway. I hope all is well with you and the Morning Star.

Best wishes, love, R. H.

Thank you for being so patient with me. I was quite aware of how useless I was at sailing, but was comfortable just being me because of people’s acceptance & love. Do keep in touch Chris.

Thank you for everything. I think you’re great & you are so appreciated. I’m sure I’ll always remember you.

Love, N

I know things are very hard for you at the moment and you are struggling but remember the Lord is with you every step you take. Things can never again be as bad as they were in Portugal and I’m sure you know that.

A lot of people care deeply about you and you have our hopes & prayers in your housing projects. If it’s meant to be then it will work out but if it doesn’t the perhaps the Lord is telling you something and saving you from another larger loss later.

Don’t weaken and don’t let the Devil in to confuse you. Take time out during the day to pray and you know your prayers will be answered. You have been a very good friend to me and I truly care about you. If you need me then just pick up the phone. Please don’t keep worries & problems to yourself. Share them with the people who love you and it will feel better.

“Faith isn’t faith until it is all you re holding on to”

May the force be with you.

With love & prayers, D, M & just about everyone else!

Dear Chris,
Thought that I’d send you a card to thank you for the wonderful time that I had on board Morning Star. Thanks for teaching me so much about sailing, especially on steering the ship. It has been good chatting with you as well. I wish you all the best in the future. F

Email from XX Senior Social worker for the 16 Plus Team
Voyage xx

Could you please forward this email onto the person who so very kindly donated the
money to allow us to go on our voyage of discovery this September!

Firstly I must apologise to you for taking so long to compose this. My day job is a social
worker, being away from the rest of my young people for even just a week has meant
an awful lot of catching up over the last month. Before the trip there was so much to
do, and I feel I did neglect my own young people so I had a bit of making up to do
with them. It’s taken me this long to be able to sit down and give this message to you
the time it needs to do it properly.

I don’t think you may ever know the true impact this trip had on our group. They came
from a real variety of backgrounds, and as the week went on I got to know them all
pretty well as some of them I had only met a couple of times in the run up to the tall
ships challenge.

All of our Young People have been in care from a pretty early age, the majority have
suffered abuse and neglect at the hands of the adults that should have loved
them, cared for them , protected them and kept them safe. They had grown up as
small children with few boundaries with examples of violence and anger as normal
behaviour. A lot of them have moved around placements with few adults ever
gaining their trust, so this trip was always going to be a challenge.

When they first arrived on the ship, they found it really tough going , the rules , the
boundaries , the hard work and the discipline. With that though was consistency ,
compassion and care shown by all the crew. Gradually I watched them grow into a
team that supported each other.

One young person on our voyage had special needs, the others were a bit wary of
him at first but by the end they all loved him. They supported him in every way they
could. They laughed with him not at him, they endured his love of clubland and
Hollyoaks and they offered him there support in the future. They told him when to blow
his nose and wear his life Jacket, they helped him put it on and take it off! I have one
special memory of one of the lads showing him how to punch !! , “ if you have any
grief when we get home text me and I will come down and sort them out for ya mate
“ .

This young man has absolutely blossomed since he came home , he is traveling
independently now, he loved the crew and they all made special time for him and
answered thousands of his questions.

They were able to share so much of their histories together away from the sailing and
gained strength from each other’s life stories.

The girls literally learned to exist without fake eyelashes , mobiles and the pressure to
look an act a certain way. They found the strength they never had inside them. The
strength they will find again when life gets tough, as it will. And my goodness they
laughed ….. at everything!

Two have discovered a real love of sailing that they wish to develop when the
weather gets a bit nicer. One has applied for the Army , another got a job with the
civil Service and two of them became a couple !!( and they are still together ) . One
now attends Zoological college and before this she couldn’t manage to stick to

They all still stay in touch and meet up now and again. They have a facebook page
and they all chat almost every day and they are a huge support to each other now.
They give each other advice and help and they laugh together every day. These are
the friendships they will really need as they grow older and leave care.

Each and everyone of them has told me it was the best time of their life and the
toughest. The sea sickness nearly killed us all at one point ! They learned life skills and
how to knuckle down when times got tough. They learned to trust adults they didn’t
know and feel safe in their company.

Most of the kids who did the trip have joined my participation group in Newcastle and
are now advocating for kids in care’s rights and Care leavers rights , we have our first
meeting with the council next week. They are all on fire to say there bit about what
needs to change to give the next generation of kids in care a better chance. I don’t
think they would be doing this if it wasn’t for the tall ships and your generosity.

On a personal note this trip has had a huge impact upon me too. In May this year I
lost a young person I worked with. I worked with this young man for years, and had
seen him grow into an amazing young adult who himself had gone onto achieve his
dreams. Liam was 22 when he died and I was utterly heartbroken it wasn’t his time , it
was a like losing a family member. Maybe I am just too soft for this job but you can’t
help but get attached to the kids you work with for years , I don’t think you would be
human if you didn’t. I was very close to handing my notice in I was so desperately
sad and the cloud just wasn’t lifting. But this trip did something truly amazing for me, I
got my strength back, my heart began to mend, and the kids and staff gave me such
a lift; their spirit, their kindness, I just began to feel good again and regained my
fighting spirit for this job.

So I hope you can see just how amazing this trip has been for them and me and how
amazing you have been to give us this experience. They have friends for life, they now
do advocacy work, they are pushing themselves to the limit and are becoming more
fearless in what they dare to dream for. They are now fundraising for our care leavers
Christmas party and looking forward a little more to what life could offer.

So thank you all so very much, the gift you have given us will have – I believe – a lasting
impact on these kids. The scenery, the crew , the friendships; they dream just a bit
bigger now, if they can do a Tall Ships voyage – they can do anything !!!.
Senior Social worker for the 16 Plus Team (and sailor now!)