Out of her comfort zone, but being changed by God

written by Cristina Amato

Galya Batenina (Ukraine) describes her life before joining Logos Hope as, “A comfortable Christian life, where God had a place, but I had not made Him the centre.”

Galya says that serving on the ship has challenged her in many ways. The first thing that made her uncomfortable was the workplace she was assigned: the ship’s kitchen. The young woman who loves to be creative and lead others had to cut meat and clean tables next to people who were still strangers.

God showed her that He wanted to use this time to change her: Galya says, “I didn’t want to enjoy my work because I wanted to work somewhere else. I was open and friendly, but I wasn’t really interested in the people who weren’t part of my friendship group.”

Then she started meditating on love the way it is described in the book of Corinthians in the Bible. Galya says, “I asked God to help me to have the right attitude, no matter where I was, and I prayed for the attributes listed in 1 Cor 13: 4-8, like patience, kindness, trust and perseverance – so that I could show love to people around me.”

Galya came to realise that God was showing her how to be attentive to others through other people showing interest in her life by asking her how she felt and if they could pray for her.

Finding herself in a place she didn’t want to be made Galya think about the way she wanted to live her life. She says, “I want to be a vibrant Jesus-follower who can share God’s glory through my actions. It’s a desire of my heart now that it becomes a place concerned about other people, and I don’t want to be too focussed on myself. I am enjoying my work now, simply because I am enjoying the people I work with and I hope to be a blessing in their life.”

Another challenge for Galya was when Covid-19 paused Logos Hope’s public ministry. Having joined the Ship Ministry because she wanted to reach out to people on shore, she felt purposeless when the bookfair closed and the crew wasn’t allowed to leave the ship. She says, “I restricted ministry to a certain limit when I aimed to have an impact on only non-Christians. Step by step, God expanded my understanding of ministry and I realised that I can be a mentor and friend to people around me. Even Jesus ministered not just to strangers – but also to His friends.”

Galya plans to continue being involved in overseas work when she leaves the ship later this year, preferably in youth-centred work.