Friday, March 6, 2009
An Italian Tragedy
John Arrives' was a twenty two year old missionary in Spain. He had been away from his beloved parents and friends in New York for almost two years. He purchased a ticket on the Italian flag ship Andrea Doria to America. He had been waiting for his return trip home for a month.
The day he set sail he could hardly contain himself. He was staying in a lovely first class cabin. The Andrea Doria was the safest ship of the twentieth century. She was said to be practically unsinkable. The Titanic had sunk almost four decades before so most people believed that we had finally defeated nature.
The oceans were smooth throughout the entire voyage. John dwindled his time away by thinking of all of his friends that he had not seen since 1954. The thought of his family kept a warm fussy feeling inside of him.
On the morning of July 25, 1956, the Andrea Doria ran into a heavy fog. But the passengers feared nothing inside the 697 foot long ocean liner. Officer Johonnson was in charge of the 8:30 to 12:00 watch.
At around 10:20 the Andrea Doria changed her course, heading strait to her doom. John aroused early to get his things together. They were entering the busiest lanes on the ocean, the New York shipping lanes. As john gazed out his window he thought he saw a glimmer in the fog. But it only lasted a second. At the time he didn’t think anything of it, he was much to excided about getting home.
He turned to put on a coat, so he could go out on deck. As he left his cabin, the ship rocked as if it were on a wake. Suddenly there was a great force of impact and the ship jerked to her port side. The scuffling and shouting of passengers in there cabin made every thing worse.
John had been thrown back into his cabin. He was wedged under his bed. When he had finally gotten up he starred at the wall unbelievingly. The bow of the fretter Stockholm had torn its way into the Andrea Doria! Frantically he tried to catch his balance on the uneven floors. Suddenly, there was a terrible moan and the bow of the Stockholm pulled away. The Andrea Doria leaned far over onto her starboard side.
John lost his balance in all the rocking. He fell backward onto the dresser. Before he could grab it, the picture of his family slid across the floor into the ocean. John scooted back and sat against the wall, and leaned his head on the door. A million thoughts were going through his mind. The biggest one was,” would he ever see New York again.
As he sat thinking he heard a cry for help. Quickly he got up and ran into the corridor, witch was not as lit as before. One of the doors was cracked open. As he slipped in the cry came again. It was coming from in this room. After he was fully in the room the lights got very low then came on as bright as before. What the light showed was an unbelievable site. A huge piece of floor had fallen two decks down, and on the other side sat a girl on a three foot ledge. She was not much older than John. The only thing that connected the corridor to the ledge was a wooden plank.
John hesitated then got on his hands and knees and began to crawl on the plank. He made it across safely. Quickly he told the girl (whose name was Christine) what to do. She turned and cautiously crawled along the plank. Silently, John started too. However, just as they reached the center there was a slight creak. They both stopped dead in there tracks. Suddenly the plank gave way and the two plummeted three decks.
They landed in waste deep of water. The lights were completely dead. The only sound was the water gushing in through the hole in the wall, which was smaller than the one three decks above. John pushed his way to the door. Christine grasped his bare arm. The sleeve had been torn off in the collision.
The corridor was pitch dark. The water that surrounded John and Christine was bitterly cold. As they pushed there way through the wreckage, the ship lurched over. Christine began to panic. But John put all of his trust in Jesus. After a little frustration he convinced Christine that everything would be alright. She took a look at his face and saw that he was not worried. She asked him how he had so much peace. He told her about God and how He had sent his only son to die on the cross for all mankind. And that no matter what you had done in your life he loves you and wants you to be his child, and live with Him in Heaves for all eternity.
She gave this some thought and then accepted. After all, the choices for eternity can be difficult. God gave you two choices in life. Follow the world and be doomed to the Lake of Fire for all eternity, or follow Him and live with Him in Paradise for all eternity.
All at once Christine was no longer worried about the sinking vessel she was on or the water that could fill the corridor up at any second. She was full of peace. Not worldly peace. This was a perfect, heavenly, and spiritual peace that she had never felt before.
A staircase loomed up in front of them. As they climbed up it slowly began to brighter. Once they reached the top they realized that they were in the first class dinning room. It was not as full of life as it had been the night before. The lights however, were burning brightly. For the first time in all the sinking, the ship let out an erei death mone. John and Christine walked briskly through the dinning room to the elevators. Luckily they were both open. The elevator took them to there cabin on B deck. Since Christine’s room had been utterly destroyed, John lent her some cackie shorts and a t-shirt. The hallway that had been deserted only a few minutes before was now flooded with excitement. John’s cabin was a wreck. There was a slight struggle looking for things. Eventually they were dressed.
As they walked through the once again deserted corridor, Christine turned around. John asked her what the matter was. She said she thought she had heard something. They turned around and walked back to the elevators. Christine looked around. She knew that she had herd a cry for help. Suddenly the cry came again. This time they both heard it. It sounded like a little boy.
John sprang through the dinning room doors towards the stairwell. All ready the sound and smell of sea water had drifted into the dinning room. As they went down the stairs they realized how quickly they were going down. The hallway, one deck above the one that they had just been in, was ankle deep with water. The floors beneath them rocked with the sea. The ship was now at a level to where there was no control over it. The bustling sound of all the passengers on the boat deck was very faint. But what caught there attention most was a terrified boy about five sitting in the water. Slowly he looked up. The red rings around his eyes told them that he had been crying. Christine bent down and asked were his family was.
Almost weeping again he said his father and mother had been taken by the freighter ship and his sister left with her boyfriend. Christine and John began to find it hard to hold the tears back. John held out his hand. The boy looked a little confused as he took his hand and got up. Lovingly John asked him what his name was. As the tears in his eyes began to clear he said, "Will."...
(To be continued)