It was six years ago, but I remember like yesterday when Nanci and I traveled to Jamaica, where I spoke at a donors’ conference to help raise funds for Operation Mobilization’s ship Logos Hope. We were very familiar with it from a distance, partly because of a close relationship with OM founder George Verwer. I asked if it would be possible for Nanci and me to stay on board the ship after the conference. It turned out that it was one of the best experiences of our lives.
I wrote a blog shortly after we returned home. Here are 27 seconds of that trip, when crew-member Audrey was telling us a story, and you can hear Nanci’s voice right next to me saying “Oh my goodness” three times and an emphatic “Yes.” Her voice says it all.
It was only natural that after Nanci went to be with Jesus, we set up a memorial fund where 100% of the donations will be dispersed to ministries Nanci cared deeply about, and Logos Hope would be one of those. So when people have given in honor of Nanci, Logos Hope has been touched by Nanci and part of her legacy too.
Last year, OM told me they wanted to honor her influence on the ministry by renaming the library on board Logos Hope, “The Nanci Alcorn Memorial Library.” Seelan Govender, the CEO and President of OM Ships International, wrote:
We are so grateful for Nanci’s example of a godly life well-lived. To celebrate and commemorate her legacy with the Ship Ministry and her love of reading and literature, today we honor her influence on our ministry by renaming the library on board Logos Hope, “The Nanci Alcorn Memorial Library.”
It is our desire that future guests and crewmembers will use this space as a place of growth and prayer as they strengthen and sustain their daily walk with our precious Heavenly Father. Both are things that Nanci modeled extraordinarily well for us with her own life.
I’m so thankful for the memories I have of countless trips with Nanci now that flying across the world as an insulin-dependent diabetic has become more difficult. As hard as it was to say no to visiting the ship for the dedication this October, it prompted me to ask our daughters Karina and Angela if they wanted to make the trip to Tanzania. I am so happy that they were able to witness firsthand their mom being honored by one of the favorite ministries she ever saw (and she saw many over our years together)!
Karina and Angela are two of the godliest women I know. They are wonderful wives and wonderful moms. Both are Christ-centered and biblically grounded and have servants’ hearts and compassion for people. I respect them both deeply. They are full of insight and wisdom, and they love God and people. Nanci is more alive and aware than ever, and has certainly not lost her love and interest in and respect for her daughters—hence, I will not say she loved them and was proud of them. I will say she loves them and is proud of them. And so am I.
I believe Nanci is aware of the dedication, and was as excited for our daughters’ trip as I was. I can just see that smile on her face and hear her delighted laughter! ♥️ How deeply grateful I am to King Jesus for His everlasting love and friendship.
Here is the video of the dedication.
Karina and Angela wrote about their time on the ship, and I believe their words are honoring to the Lord and to their mom. Karina wrote:
It was fantastic getting to worship and live alongside my brothers and sisters in Christ from all over the world. We were able to tour the ship and see the school, the galley, the engine room, and experience all the different teams that come together to make life on the ship possible. I enjoyed meeting professionals who are bringing their skills to life on board, as well as young volunteers who are learning on the job.
We were able to join in the community prayer meeting, participate in a women’s conference on board for local Tanzanian women, and check out the book fair, which was full of elementary school students at the time we were there. There’s a huge variety of books available, and it was interesting seeing behind the scenes where those books are organized and stored. So much thought and care goes into this ministry! A huge team of people—including administrators, maritime professionals, food service professionals, travel coordinators, volunteers, and young people from all over the world—make up this traveling community, which brings the gospel and resources for Christian growth to port communities around the globe.
Crewmembers are assigned a work detail and schedule, which includes outreach into the local community each week. The advance team goes ahead and prepares connections, but of course, a lot of flexibility is required as well.
I’m so thankful we were able to be here to celebrate the dedication of the library in mom’s honor and experience life aboard ship. We had so many fascinating conversations and were able to meet a wide variety of people from many nations. It does make me feel a little ashamed I only speak English! We met several people who speak three, four, or more languages!
What a great reminder that we serve a God who is worshiped all around the world, and who is accomplishing His purposes in many languages, tribes, and tongues. Worshiping, praying, and sharing meals with our international brothers and sisters was a great privilege and blessing.
To be totally honest, before I left for this trip to Tanzania to honor my mom with the library dedication, my thoughts and emotions were all over the map (excuse the lame travel pun). I knew my mom would be the first one to tell Karina and I to have an absolute blast, so that helped, but I knew this was going to be a big deal. It was going to be an important step in this journey of grief I’ve been on for the past year and a half, and as much as I wanted to do it, I also really didn’t. I was anticipating big feelings, and even though I’ve resigned myself to carrying Kleenex with me wherever I go, I still hate to cry.
However, even though I had geared myself up for massive waves of emotion and the need to process through all my grief once again, God had other things in mind for this trip. As Karina and I walked around Logos Hope, meeting the crew of people representing 70+ different countries and hearing their stories, I began to realize just how self-focused I was. With each person I met, I was struck with the fact that although we looked different, spoke different languages, and live continents apart, everyone on board had a story like mine: full of ups and downs, with great joys and heartbreaking losses.
Logos Hope is a microcosm, full of people like you and me, stumbling through this broken world, but who have made the choice to take their eyes off themselves and put them on Jesus and on those who don’t yet know Him.
This trip wasn’t about me or my experience. This was about honoring my mom, and my mom's life was spent honoring people like the members of this crew, and most importantly honoring the Lord. The people on the ship—and for that matter, the ship itself—aren’t fancy or flashy, but neither was my mom. These are people who have ordinary lives, but are choosing, by the grace of God, to do something extraordinary with them. Like my mom did.
Over the course of just a few days on Logos Hope, I saw what I believe my mom saw and fell in love with: a foretaste of Heaven. A beautiful picture of “every tribe, tongue and nation.” And now she is there, a part of the great multitude that no one could number, worshiping before the throne of God. I can’t wait to join her there!
Those who would like to give a gift in honor of Nanci may give online (select the “Nanci Alcorn Memorial Fund”). If you wish to send a check, make it payable to Eternal Perspective Ministries and send to: 39065 Pioneer Blvd, Suite 100, Sandy, OR 97055. Be sure to write “Nanci” in the notation area. 100% of any donations will be divided among ministries that were dear to her heart: ministry in Cuba, persecuted Christians, and the Logos Hope Ship (Operation Mobilization).