Introduction to Judges - Part 1QUESTION: Intro to Judges - 1ANSWER:
by Pastor Nathan Shepherd (Dive Chapel, Candle Key, Florida)
Billy Santos, the self-described “foreman” of Reef Restoration Ministries, stood on the raised platform in front of the congregation at the Dive Chapel in Candle Key, Florida. Per usual, Billy looked like a fish out of water.
He stuttered through introducing himself and the mission statement of the ministry. But as the lights dimmed and a powerpoint presentation lit up the screen behind the band instruments, a twinkle came to reside in young Mr. Santos’ eyes.
“As most of you all know, we’ve got a really tight new project going at RRM. It’s a boat. . .well I guess you’d call it a boat. It’s named the ‘Queen Eileen’ and it was sunk in 1924. The wreckage sits in 17 feet of water, about 300 meters off Pastor Nathan and Maya’s backyard. We’ve called the place where it sits the ‘snapper hole’ for decades and about six months ago, we found the ‘Queen Eileen’, actually Nathan and Maya found it.
“Umm, I see a hand raised up front, uh, honey… oh, Megan… what?”
A vivacious girl in the front row stood up. She was wearing a Boston Red Sox official jersey, in traveling gray. “Tell everybody the history of the ‘Queen Eileen’, Billy.”
“Yeah. Okay. Well, you’re the historian in the family. Why don’t you come up and tell them.”
She didn’t hesitate. With one bound she was beside her newly-wed husband on the stage. “I’m Megan Santos, Billy’s wife. Most people call me ‘Fenway’. I work at RRM too.”
There was intermittent chuckling and somebody said, “Go Yankees.”
Fenway narrowed her eyes. “Whoever said that, there’ll be a chance to repent and accept Jesus as your Savior later in the service.” More laughter, more pronounced.
“Anyway, the ‘Queen Eileen’ was built by a man named Cyrus Sandbury. He’d come down to work as an engineer on the Florida Overseas Railroad in 1907. As most of you know work had stalled out after the devastating hurricane in 1906. Well, in November of 1911, Mr. Sandbury, who was from Ohio, received a check for $22,000 as an inheritance from his aunt. He immediately quit the Florida East Coast Railroad and stated work on his dream: building a submarine that could take up to twenty tourists on day trips under the waters of the Keys. In 1915, despondent and broke, he returned to Ohio and took a job with a transportation company. End of story, right?
“But in 1921, rejuvenated and re-funded, he came back to Tavernier to build his dream. Historical documents show that Mr. Sandbury planned to build a fleet of twelve of these submarines. After many false starts, he finally had a working model built in the summer of 1924. This prototype was the ‘Queen Eileen’. He used the blueprints for what would become the famous red jammer busses built by the White Motor Company in the early 1930’s. Restored red jammers are still used in Yosemite, Yellowstone and Glacier National Parks as tour buses today.
“Anyway, to make a long story short – Billy could you flash up those underwater slides? – Nate and Maya found the wreckage of the ‘Queen Eileen’, we got rights to the area in snapper hole where she sits, and we’ve blown out the loose sand around it and are now exploring the wreckage. The coolest thing is that the remains of the back of the bus contain one of the most healthy and diverse small coral reefs in all of American waters. So as you watch these slides, please remember to pray for our project. Billy?”
“Yep and we’ll keep giving you updates but we’ve got two things, no three things to pray about. First, pray for safety of our team. Then, in early January the Florida state legislature is considering two resolutions for us. One is a perpetual use permit for RRM on the site and the other is up to $100,000 in funding next year for our restoration of the ‘Queen Eileen’ as a state historical find. So please pray. I guess that’s it. Pastor Nathan.”Introduction to Judges – Read Part 2!