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On June 1, 1965, a boat set sail from Falmouth, Massachusetts. The name of the boat was Tinkerbelle. If it completed the dangerous journey, it would be the smallest boat ever to cross the Atlantic. It was less than 14’ long. And its pilot was Robert Manry.


And he was afraid. He was afraid, not of the ocean, but of those who would certainly try and talk him out of going. He was afraid of being discouraged by others, so he only told a few relatives and his wife, Virginia, as she was his greatest encourager in all he attempted to do.


The trip was a very rough one and he had many sleepless nights. His food became tasteless and his loneliness caused him to suffer hallucinations. On top of all this, his rudder broke three times.


He encountered fierce storms and had it not been for a rope firmly tied about his waist, he would not have been able to make it back into the boat after having been swept overboard several times.


He later told how, on those occasions he was able to get a little sleep, he dreamed of how it would be when he finally got to England. He would dream that he would just dock, and then go into town and rent a hotel room. He said he looked forward to eating a big meal and getting a good night’s sleep in a real bed. And then the next morning, he would contact the press and see if anyone was interested in doing a story on what he had just accomplished.


To his amazement, as he sailed in, there were hundreds of boats with their horns blasting, celebrating his great feat. And there were over 40,000 people standing on the docks waiting to welcome him to the end of his journey. He was an overnight hero, and his story quickly went around the world.


He admitted later that he could not have done this without the support and encouragement of his wife Virginia, who flew to England and was among the 40,000 who cheered for him. He said her constant love and encouragement was what enabled him to fulfill his dream.


The world needs more love and encouragement, wouldn’t you say? But no matter where we look, we don’t seem to find anybody who can actually do that for us. Maybe it is because we have been looking in the wrong places.


In reality, there is One who not only can, but yearns to love and encourage us to be all that we can be. That is the best news we will ever hear. And we are going to be talking about Him today. Of course, we know Him by the name of Jesus. The Son of the living God; the Savior of mankind.


From Bruce Ball’s Sermon “Did She Know?”

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