Inside Out

written by Fiyah King

Inside Out is a voluntary three-week training course run on board Logos Hope for crew who are committed to working on inner transformation in their spiritual life.

The training is described as an ‘intentional discipleship programme’ by its creator, Bob Nichols (USA), the ship’s engineering training officer. Bob planned the course after studying Matthew chapter 28 in the Bible and reflecting on how Christ mentored the Twelve Apostles.

“Our attempt is to imitate Jesus in the way He discipled the Twelve; living in community with them, eating with them and working with them,” explains Bob. “We pretty much spend from 6am-7pm together with the participants, so that we are able to really understand their needs, wants and some of the struggles they may be going through.”

Early morning exercise is followed by a teaching session, where the group is set a question to ponder throughout the day and discuss during evening debrief. Those taking the course also read books on discipleship and leadership, write reports and complete a paper reflecting on what they have learnt.

A challenging aspect of the programme is that the participants are put to work inside Logos Hope’s tight spaces and tanks – a  notoriously dirty, smelly job. Bob says this unpleasant, confining task can raise issues of pride, unforgiveness, anger or fear in the volunteers: “It’s really intense and we thought that would stir things up, allow times of reflection and drive home that we need to be obedient to Christ’s words with the end result being transformation of our minds. We work towards the aim that, when we get squeezed by life, not so much of us comes out but the characteristics of Jesus are seen in us.”

Erica Thakurdin (Barbados) found it a rewarding experience: “I didn’t really know what I was getting myself into. When you’re down in the tank it’s just you, two sets of air protection, goggles, mouth guard and Jesus. You’re drilling away at a wall and everything is full-blast noise around you – but in that, there’s such peace and a quietness that I can’t explain. I could hear my thoughts and hear God.”

Lauren Wotherspoon (South Africa) agrees: “I knew the process would be tough, but I’ve been excited each day to discover what God wants to do in my life. I really had to say to God, ‘I want to be open to you, but I’m scared,’ so I needed Him to help me be vulnerable with Him.”

There is currently a long waiting list of crewmembers eager to accept the Inside Out challenge to work through this life-changing developmental experience.