The life station, p.1
The Life Station,
The Life Station
Copyright 2014 by Serhiy Kravchenko
All rights reserved
No part of this book may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or by any information storage and retrieval system, without the written permission of the publisher
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Original title: Спасательная Станция
Translation: Beata Kaczyńska
Cover design: Anatolij Peluch
Cover photo: Krzysztof Szukalski
THE LIFE STATION
As Jesus was walking beside the Sea of Galilee, he saw two brothers, Simon called Peter and his brother Andrew. They were casting a net into the lake, for they were fishermen. “Come, follow me,” Jesus said, “and I will send you out to fish for people.” At once they left their nets and followed him. (Mat. 4:18-20)
When Simon Peter saw this, he fell at Jesus’ knees and said, “Go away from me, Lord; I am a sinful man!” For he and all his companions were astonished at the catch of fish they had taken, and so were James and John, the sons of Zebedee, Simon’s partners. Then Jesus said to Simon, “Don’t be afraid; from now on you will fish for people.” (Luke 5:8-10)
Nowadays in our modern world the most similar image to what Jesus talked about is a rescue service.
It happens in life that a person comes to a situation that’s called the valley of the shadow of death. Only few minutes or even seconds can separate him from the death and if no one comes for his rescue he would simply die, he would die before the his time comes. He could live more, raise his children and grandchildren, and bring joy of his presence to many people on the earth.
It’s not right to die before the time comes. Similarly it’s not right to go to hell. The hell was created for the devil and fallen angels, not for a man. People go to hell only because they are deceived by Satan. A person who flounders in the depths of the sea understands clearly he needs someone’s strong hand to get hold of. But a person that downs in the depths of sin not always understands that he is dying. What does it feel like to perish and not even understand that? It can only happen with a blind, deceived person. The Devil works hard to darken a person in such a way that even dying he would not ask for someone to help.
Jesus said that He would build a church. And He did that. He built the church. The ark of Noah saved 8 people on its broadside but we deal with milliards of people.
I would compare a church not with a boat but with a life station. A church is a life station. It’s not a storage, not a room where you keep tools and equipment for life saving. It’s a life station. And rescuers are being trained and equipped. And every day they live fully alert. They’re ready to react when SOS signal is received, go to a place of affliction and properly and knowledgably give a helping hand to injured. If it takes to cover tens of miles in order to come to a rescue for people in affliction, a rescuer would do that. If it’s enough to throw a safety ring and pull a drowner out of the water, he would do that. If he needs to dive in order to save a person, he would dive. After that rescuers would bring him to a safe place and provide medical assistance. This is how a rescue service works nowadays.
In reality as minimum six milliards of people out of seven milliards are in the waters. And what about that one milliard of saved ones that one day were downing in the depths of sea as well waiting for the end? They’re on a coast. They don’t need to be saved, they have been saved already. They’re not lost drachma, they’re not prodigal sons, and they’re not lost sheep. They’re at home, they’re in a flock, and they’re in a wallet.
For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. (John 3:16-17)
~THE LIFE STATION~
Our life station is a pier and a dozen of boats. It’s all that was left for us by a rescuer named Noland who appeared once on our bay. After that my life and lives of many of my friends changed once and forever.
Leaving he left us a command that he received from the Great Rescuer at some point – to save others and go to an open sea because many were in need of salvation. Many people were in need truly.
At that time many saved people replied to a call and decided to become rescuers. We started to patrol the pier and the coast each way from the life station regularly. Some dived into water trying to go some distance away from the coast and many of such attempts were successful. Swimmers came back with people that smoothly reached the pier of life station holding safety rings. Those people, as we before, met a hardship and turned to be in the open sea in a far distance from the cost. Much to the joy new rescuers came at right time and helped them to reach the pier where they could feel safe.
As a result of that rescue missions many were saved and several new life stations were established in our region. They were built by the example of the one that Noland founded.
As time went by and more work were needed to be done on the coast. We needed to take care about saved people, build houses and schools for them. They were needed to be taught a lot. First of all, they needed to know the way the station is built. They needed to know about the pier, life jackets and safety rings that were an essential part of their new life.
We more rarely paid attention to the open sea and rescue of people but spent more and more time training and equipping those who were saved already.
Upon arrival to the station one of the swimmers named Ern started to convince us that he heard cries of people in the sea and saw lots of things left in the sea after a storm. It seemed like some boat hit an underwater rock. He understood that he was not able to do anything with that by himself. Trying to his save strength, he decided to come back to the station, gather rescuers and go to the place of shipwreck.
After arrival to the pier he called everyone to take seats in every possible watercraft and go with him. But the public opinion tent to think that our teams didn’t have experience neither in rescuing people in the open sea, nor in using boats for this reason.
At that time we achieved success in saving people in close proximity to the coat and were trained to jump from the pier and throw safety rings to the drowners, helping them to reach the dry land.
That guy could not agree with the fact that we couldn’t help those who were in trouble and use boats for that. Ern thought that it was a good possibility to receive a new experience in rescue missions in distant areas from the coast. He also claimed that this was exactly what the Rescuer talked about when He left. He commanded us to save others and go to the open sea because there were many in need of salvation there.
The passage from “The book of a Rescuer”: “The goal of life station is to organize patrol of its water area using all the water crafts available and teams with their leaders in order to achieve that”.
“The goal of a team of each boat that’s in close proximity from shipwreck: within the shortest possible amount of time reach the place and start a rescue mission”.
“The goal of a rescuer: lend a helping hand to all who are able to receive it”.
Ern quit to convince us, took a seat in a rescue craft and left to the open sea. We have never seen him again.
Since that time when someone started to raise questions about a possibility to go to the open sea, they were given an example of that rebellious rescuer who neglected advices and instructions of the older ones, left alone to face the embrace of death and paid high price for his
~ THE PIER~
Regularly we learned the instructions that were described in “The Book of a Rescuer” that was left by Noland for us. We arranged the printing of that book and anyone could receive his personal copy. After years our own rules and regulations were formed. We started to work on study programs for people’s rescue, divided into groups and took places in our boats.
Eventually we established rules on who can be called a rescuer. These are some of them:
He should have been saved near our pier.
He should attend the course of rehabilitation at our life station.
He should attend training for rescuers.
He should become a part of one of the boats at rest near the pier.
He should know instructions and rules of the life station by heart, etc.
Many of us received the title of a rescuer but never saved anyone. Some of us have saved several people but were not in compliance with the approved regulations and couldn’t be called rescuers. We didn’t worry about that because to be called a rescuer was a big honor for all of us.
After spending a lot of time on our pier we couldn’t imagine a different life for ourselves. We could find everything that was important for us before here at our life station. The teams of rescuers regularly took places in boats and cutters that were fast to a pier many years ago. I was not a simple rescuer any more but moved up the promotion ladder very quickly. First I was trusted to organize meetings in one of the boats where I was working as an assistant to a captain during some time, after that I was offered a position of a captain on a different boat. I was young, active and hopeful rescuer and I started to receive invitations to share useful information during important meetings where crews of all water crafts of our life station were gathering.
Often I was sharing about ways to create a comfortable atmosphere in a boat. It was one of my favorite topics. Many of those who attended a meeting of our team noticed that the atmosphere was the main thing that made an impression on them. Maybe it was one of the reasons why they decided to become a part of our crew. It happened 3 times when our team grew in such a way that there were no space in our boat anymore and we needed to be divided. A part of the crew stayed and other part took place in a new boat with the leadership of one of the assistants that was trained by me.
We called each other rescuers. We thought that we were doing an important work, when we regularly did an inventory of equipment, including safety rings, life-jackets, blankets, first aid kits, etc. We didn’t have enough equipment for everyone, that’s why the leadership decided to give every boat only 3 life-jackets and 2 safety rings.
Some said there used to be a workshop before where life-jackets, safety rings and other equipment were made. The workshop started its work during the first days after life station’s opening. But after 3 years the leadership closed the workshop temporarily, thinking that there were too many equipment and there were no point to continue the production. But when the life station grew and the equipment needs grew as well, the question about the resumption of production was raised several times. But since the number of rescue missions decreased more and more and the number of people on a life station was stabilized, it was decided that there was no need to resume the production of equipment and resources freed for this project were used for repair works in the main hall.
Sometimes new people appeared at our boat, it happened often that they simply moved from one boat and life station to another. When we rescued someone we rejoiced the whole year about this event that gave us one more opportunity to be established in the thought that the thing we do is truly important. New people always influenced our boats and life stations in a whole in a good manner; they brought something fresh to our lives. Saved people wanted to go back to the depths of sea and rescue others but our task was to stop and direct them to a discipleship and training first of all. As time went by the earlier fervor was declining and they became more and more similar to other rescuers at our boats at rest.
Regularly we attended the retrainer courses. Since we didn’t have any practical lessons we lost our knowledge with time and we needed to sit in classrooms, and learn rules and instructions by heart.
One day a new boat appeared in our bay. Honestly, for a long time nothing disturbed the peace of our lifestyle. It was a ten paddle two-masted galley yawl with flat wooden stern. The team of 7 people moored it’s watercraft near our pier and quickly started to help other 8 people who apparently were rescued not a long time ago to get out of the boat and take place in a safe pier.
The captain of the boat, rather strong man with dark hair streaked with gray, was welcomed by the leadership of our life station.
- Welcome to our life station. We’re very happy to see you. – Officially and good humouredly at the same time said Hank, a deputy head of our life station.
- Yes, I’m glad as well. Please, take care of our people. Nobody patrols your territory. I didn’t see even one boat. Do you have any problems? What happened? Why don’t your crews patrol your area? – responded a rescuer with great perplexity.
- We have little experience in this matter.
- Little experience? I don’t know any other way to obtain it but only to start doing what you need to do.
- We have developed training courses for rescuers and we believe that our training programs will give us a result. But it won’t happen immediately. Do you understand me?
- Yes, I do understand. My team is not fully staffed. Can you give me few rescuers to work in your area?
- But we are not ready yet. Our people are too young, as well as our station, it’s only 12 years old.
- I thought it was 20.Oh, that’s right, it’s 20. How do you know that?
- I’m sorry, we’ve got to go. I apologize for taking your time, you’re very busy doing your stuff.
He disembarked saved ones at the pier, and started to go down to the boat without delay. Leaving he said to the rescuers who rose in the boats near the pier and now were staring at him:
- What are you doing? There’re lots of people in need of your help in the sea. Go there!
But no one could say a word.
A young man, one of those who reached the pier earlier, started to ask him:
- Take me with you. I’ll help.
- Let’s go. It seems like there will not be anyone else from this pier willing to go.
At first glance his boat and equipment didn’t differ from ours. It was not attached to a pier, he could easily stick to the shore and also easily leave for an open sea. We didn’t understand how he could do it.
Not that we’ve never seen boats and cutters in the open sea, we’ve seen them but all of us understood, they were erring candidates for drowning. Sooner or later windstorms or pirates will help them to change their mind and they will stop being so overconfident. Hence, over the years we have formed our own worldview. We decided that if a boat is not near the pier then the erring people, those who play with the elements, sooner or later would crash and come to us. Often we were filled with a desire for it to happen faster.
But most of all it was surprising for us that people left at the pier by the rescuer did not come to him from other boats but right from the open sea, the same way it happened with us many years ago.
When the rescuer came to our pier for the second time all our attention was focused on him and his people. We stopped working on our own projects and meetings. We could notice easily that something that they did was real. You could feel that there was life among them.
- During a regular crew meeting at our boat one of young rescuers Owen who was born in a small Welsh village fearlessly asked to say a word:
- Let me tell you something important.
- Ok, Owen. Tell us what you want to tell. –replied Olden with some sort of descent. Olden was respected not only at our boat but at the station overall.
- My grandmother told me about
A month ago I realized that our survival craft has serious problems. There’s a note in our boat’s certificate: “light nautical 6-oar single master galley with whaleboat stern”.
- That’s correct, young man, - replied an old rescuer.
- It says “single master” but as you can see there’s no rig. What about a paddle? We don’t even have paddles. Where are they? Does anybody know?
I checked all of our boats and all of them had the same problem. Galley boats had neither paddles, nor masts. Row-boats didn’t have paddles. Powerboats didn’t have an engine as you understand. I was shocked. I started my own investigation. And I found out about everything. Masts and paddles were removed from the boats right after the “disobedient” rescuer left for the open sea.
I hoped still. I assumed that all that rig and paddles are stored somewhere. “We will find them and put them on their places” – that’s what I thought. But unfortunately something that I found out had shocked me. All masts and paddles were destroyed after the regular membership meeting. The leadership was worried about the attempts of the new arrival to go to the open sea.
At that time I told myself the truth and these words like a wet blanket for me: “Our boats will never go anywhere”.
Then I prayed and asked the Rescuer to come and help us, I asked Him to send rescuers to the sea because there were many people in need of salvation and there were only few rescuers. After a week that boat that we were talking about appeared at our pier.
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