Report for Nov-Dec 2018 – Port of Liverpool

“Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time. Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you” 1 Peter Ch 5 6-7  

We had just returned from Israel having celebrated our 40th Wedding anniversary. It was a fantastic trip with many great moments – as we walked where Jesus walked. As well as many of the Kings of old and prophets, somehow places mentioned in the Bible came alive. We pictured Jesus on the Mount of Olives, walking in Galilee, Capernaum. The City of David, Hezekiah’s tunnel – Saul defeated on Gilboa – his body taken to Beth Shan.

It was a fairly full on trip and we are not getting any younger. Unfortunately, we came back unwell perhaps from the rigours of the trip, picking some illness within the group. Dot was poorly for about three weeks, I had an infection, and this was further compounded, when I trapped a nerve in my neck. The consequence of this is that I have been off since returning home – in some pain and discomfort.

I recognise that sometimes we are laid aside for a season and that despite our prayers and the prayers of others, we do not always get immediate respite. Yet God is good, and I have no doubt about that. And as the scripture reminds us. We have need to humble ourselves under God’s mighty hand – casting all our care/anxiety on him because in his goodness he cares for us.

Prior to our trip I had some encouraging conversations and contacts. Visiting the Musketier and met a number of crew I had some conversation with the cook  Renato and also with Capt Rio a lovely Christian believer, who I have known for a couple of years.

Capt Rio

Captain Rio and myself spoke about many things, he told me of a forthcoming exam in Belfast which the company wish him to take. This requires some study and good memory as it is an oral exam, so he is quite stressed about it. It was good to pray with him and ask others to do so also. Subsequently, after some delays and postponements I heard that he had been successful in passing the exam which was a great relief to him.

On the Independent Voyager, I met Manny an Indian O/S on watch – he told me none of the crew were available as they were either asleep or working. So, I had some conversation with him, he was a Hindu from Chennai, but was educated in a Christian school, and had some friends who were Christians. I gave him the book Faith at Sea which he was happy to accept and read, just as we were starting this conversation the Captain radioed down  telling him to go to the Bridge so our talk ended.

Manny

Visited the Atlantic Laurel, I spent most of the morning with CaptainDexter, he had met Martin Otto in Hamburg and had a couple of his books. We spoke on many things and he said how that he had gotten a sense of peace when reading the scriptures. This gave me the opportunity to go over a number of scriptures and talk about the cost in following Jesus and becoming a disciple.

 

Capt Dexter

It was good to go back a couple of days later and meet up with Captain Dexter again. He really appreciated the visit, and was happy to take some Emmaus study material on the gospels and the Christian life.  He said that they would be a great help to him in understanding the Bible. Pray that they may be productive in his life.

 

Report for Sept- Oct 2018 – Port of Liverpool

“….I always pray with joy because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now….” Phil 1: 4-5

Prayer and Partnership such important things in the life of this Mission. The first Monday of every Month (ex. Bank Holidays) we meet to pray concerning this Ministry. Perhaps you cannot attend because of the obvious reason that you are located elsewhere. But please remember us wherever you are. If you are local and free in the day, please come and join us between 2pm-3pm on that first Monday at home, we would love to see you.  Partnership vital  too – Paul rejoiced that the Philippian Church Partnered with him in the work of the gospel. I am grateful to God for likeminded Chaplains and ship visitors in other Ports. We are able to Communicate with one another and pass on contacts.

We look to encourage one another in the Ministry to seafarers and share stories and information. And so it was that I was contacted by a friend and colleague in Vancouver Paul Ratoff. Paul has a heart for the Maldivian seafarer, we only ever see a few of these guys. The Island where they live is very much a Muslim stronghold. There are very few believers to be found on the Island. But Paul had told me about the Edwine Oldendorff visiting Liverpool.  He asked could I look out for any Maldivian seafarers, it was not long before Ibrahim walked into the Mess and we got talking he was a very friendly guy. As it turned out, knew Paul quite well having met him back in 2007.

Ibrahim

Ibrahim was happy for me to leave him gospel literature in his own language, it was good to let Paul know that I had contacted one of his old seafaring friends.

 

 

On a similar note I had some good conversation with Sedney – the Filipino on watch on the Aalsfjord – they were leaving within a couple of hours.

Sedney

But I was able to pass on his details to my colleague in Dublin which was their next Port – here Jae was able to follow them up. So, it is just great to connect across the world in ministering to our seafaring friends. To encourage and help one another.

 

Followup in Dublin

 

 

 

 

 

I have often said that it is great when seafarers come to Church with us and we can spend some time with them afterwards. It was great to meet Mark on board the Nautical Lucia.  He contacted me to go to Church. And he brought his friend Edmar along too.

Mark and Edmar at Church

I know that both of these seafarers were encouraged and blessed in their faith from the time spent with us. Later, they wanted to go into the City as they only had a short time ashore. We took them to the waterfront here which is pretty good. We treated them to the great British delicacy Fish and Chips! – think they may have preferred Fish and Rice!!

 

 

 

 

I met Nonnoy earlier this year he had since been home and come back again on a new ship the Arklow Villa. He contacted me again to say he was coming into Liverpool, so it was good to visit him. And later he came home for some hospitality.

Nonnoy at Home

We continue to pray for both himself and his wife Carmen. We have left and shared the Word of God with him. They would love to have a child but so far this has not happened. We are praying that God may bless them in this way but that his will may be done.

Every Blessing Dave & Dot

Report for July – August 2018 – Port of Liverpool

And everyone who has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or wife or children or lands, for My name’s sake, shall receive a hundredfold, and inherit eternal life. Matthew Ch 19:29    

Earlier this month we celebrated 20 years of MCM ministering into the lives of seafarers – we thanked God for the legacy of Stan and Irene Sherrington who began MCM back in 1998 – but who had been ministering amongst seafarers for many years before. Someone has said “The Lord takes nothing from the Christian without making multiple restoration” we cannot out give God! – and that is what Jesus is talking about in this verse above.  We would have to say that has been our experience.

Supporters Celebrate with us

The majority who gathered with us earlier this month we did not know 15 years ago.  They have become our spiritual Family, our Church at Hope Community Church, dear brothers and sisters from other fellowships, friends – along with those who we have known that little bit longer.

Many of them have been unstinting in their support both prayerfully and practically – prayed for us faithfully over the years and continue to do so, for which we are so gratefulWe reflected on the many seafarers who have been blessed by this Ministry. Several we have seen come to Faith in Christ – Victor, Peter and Paz, Durga, Jayson. To some of these men and women of the sea we have become Mother and Father too – God parents as the Filipinos call us Ninong David & Ninang Dot.

To others we have opened our home and given hospitality, Dot excels here. Some we have visited in hospital when they have been sick or injured – and too many others showed acts of kindness. We have also passed on to seafarers the acts of kindness other have shown, distributing thousands and thousands of woolly hats and chest warmers, that have been knitted, – wrapped and distributed thousands of Christmas parcels all made possible by faithful supporters.

And sadly, we have shared in the sorrow of family for those who have lost their lives at sea, linking in with them to provide support in difficult days. Some I have dared to call friends, and brothers in Christ making me realise all the more how dangerous a vocation is seafaring. And what a blessing it is to us to minister into the lives of these men and some women that we meet on a day to day basis.

So, as we looked back there was so much to be Thankful for – but we also look ahead too. The work carries on and again we are grateful to God to those who still uphold us in prayer and practically support us as well.

Over the past couple of months, we have been encouraged with some of the contacts that we have made. With some we have been there at what seemed like just the right time.

As i pulled up to visit the Kathy C, Sani was just coming through the Berth entrance, I introduced myself. With an A4 map in his hand he was looking for a Western Union. He needed to send money to his daughter in Portugal, he had no idea where to go, and I knew it would take him at least 45 mins to get to the nearest shop. As he got in the car he said in broken English ‘Big God’ he had no doubt that God had sent me to help him.

Sani

As it turned out he did not have the correct ID and he needed a UK address which I was able to give. So, there was a minor inconvenience, but it would have been far worse if I had not been there. On the way back, he bowed his head closed his eyes and silently thanked God for this intervention. Back on the ship I was able to give him a number of Portuguese scriptures which he was really happy to receive. But the timing and encounter was quite remarkable.

On the Thun Goliath (Fil) I had some good conversations, some remembered me from Christmas with the gifts that were given. I met Neil who was on watch, who is a believer I left him with the book Faith at Sea, I also had some conversation with the Electrician, Kurt who told me he was Born Again. He was struggling with the habit of smoking; he told me his Father was not happy with his life style. I did not want to add to the sense of guilt that he felt but sought to encourage him. I also promised to pray for him – I gave him a copy of the book “Help how can I overcome Temptation”. The ship is in regularly, so I will get see them on a number of occasions.

On the Sadah Silver, I met the 4th Officer from Oman – he was very friendly, and we struck up a conversation. His English was excellent, he asked me were the night life and women where! He was a seafarer what did I expect, this took me back to the old days were men often asked this kind of question.

4th Officer from Oman

When I showed him a gospel and told him I was a Christian, he said he was a Muslim “Not a practising one I added”? “No” he said. “You need to read this I said” – but then he got distracted with buying a sim card. Something I said must have resonated though, as he came back about 20 mins later and said, “What was this stuff I need to read” So I gave him a gospel of John and several booklets. “Read this in your cabin – any question contact me” – and I gave him my card.

Pray that the word of God would be sowed in his life.

When I visited the Alpine, I had the privilege of meeting a number of crew who were believers. Captain Erick who is a believer offered me a fine welcome. He told me that he conducted weekly Bible Sharing when the crew gathered usually 7pm on a Sunday evening.

Captain Eric

I was invited to attend on Sunday evening, as their guest Speaker. I said that I would bring a number of biblical resources for the crew that attended. Several of the crew could not get along because of duties, but those who did attend were encouraged and challenged.   We had a mutual time of fellowship and encouragement were the crew was encouraged to ask questions. Both myself and Captain Erick answered these questions as best that we could.

Crew on the Alpine

It was a great evening and a blessing to many of the crew who gathered.

 

Continue to pray for us.

Report for May – June 2018 – Port of Liverpool

 

“…. She went away and did as Elijah had told her…”

1 Kings 17:15

This is the story of the Widow at Zarephath, usually something we are familiar with being taught at Sunday School. But it is the wonderful story of obedience to both what God commands and what Elijah asks. A woman in a desperate situation, outside the people of God is asked to give all that she has for the Man of God. And her reward for that obedience is supernatural provision of both oil and flour that will not run out. So, she is able to provide both for her son and for Elijah too which makes us realise this. The Lord does not ask more than he promises to give. As you read this report, you will read of a modern-day answer to prayer. Similar in fashion to this story of God’s provision in a difficult situation. And for ourselves in this Ministry amongst seafarers we find this to be a present truth in our own lives and experience. God’s provision is enough, neither too much nor too little. But sufficient to meet all our requirements.   

Ship Visitation 

Ministry amongst seafarers also encompasses family as well as the actual men and women themselves. Last Month I was contacted by the sister of Anthony Peligrino who went missing in 2015. I have mentioned it in several of my reports. Anthony’s sister wanted me to know that his remains had been identified through DNA. And his body was being returned back to the Philippines to the family, at last they would have some closure. I was asked if I would provide a short video testimonial for the family. I had been one of the last to have spoken with him, could I speak some words of comfort for the family. It was a small opportunity to bring some  encouragement and hope to the family as to Anthony’s final resting place.

On the Corewise Ol, the 3rd Mate Qiang invited me inside the ship, while his English was basic he understood me enough to receive a Bible from me and Chinese ODB. it was a simple opportunity to leave the Word of God with him.

On another vessel the Cook ‘Toots’ as he was known, he told several remarkable stories of how he survived being shot in the neck as well as other miscellaneous accidents whereby he should have died back in the Philippines. He had requested a Bible in Tagalog which I was able to get him, I also left him several Tagalog booklets.

We had some good conversation that it was not just about keeping the 10 Commandments, but that these were commandments for a redeemed community brought out of slavery. How we ought to live. The C/Officer was interesting he felt that he could not read the Bible without having a clean heart and head – which was ok so long that it was not an excuse not to read the Bible at all. I pointed out that we all fall short here, but it should not stop us reading God’s Word that God had worked with and used many messed up individuals.

On the Sbi Zumba (Fil)  I met Howard – When I said “Is life ok” he said “No not really I have just lost my Mother and It  looks like I cannot get home in time for the funeral” He was upset because the Agent had not arranged for him to go home even though the company knew of his circumstances in the previous Port. I was brought up short, unprepared for that answer, I offered my sincere condolences and we spoke, as I listened to his story.

I was due to meet later that day to pray for our Ministry, so I said that we would pray for God to make a way for him to go home in time. And so we prayed. Later that evening I contacted him again, he was still down about the situation as arrangements had at last been made but it was going to be a day too late – so I offered him the opportunity to come to my home the following day – he was grateful.

Then later that night he messaged me again saying : –

“Good news sir, we have just heard that my flight is 8am the next morning, I was crying in front of my C/ Mate at the news”. We praised God that he had indeed made a way for Howard to be able to go home in time for his Mother’s funeral.  I reminded him to tell his family what good things God had done for him.

When I did re-visit to the Bulk Trader (Fil/Indo) and got into some conversation with the Cook Roger (below) he had been reading the yearly daily bread that I had left for the crew. He was a R/C but clearly had a very personal faith in God, he told me how God had healed his child and also provided a miracle in the provision of food on board his ship.

When they had a 28 day voyage to Brazil they had only 17 whole Chickens and rice to feed all the crew, he prayed Lord how I am going to feed all this crew. His testimony was that when he cooked three Chickens on the day they were required somehow they were replaced when he got to Brazil he still had seven Chickens left! – I said it reminded me of the Prophet Elijah in 1Kings 17 – I had no reason to doub what had happened to him.

When I did a return visit to the Puppis Ocean (Fil) as I wanted to give some resources to the Boson Jun – which I was able to do. But I also had a very good conversation with the 3rd Mate Jay – he told me that it was his intention to have a child with his partner and then to get married. I spoke about this in a sensitive way asking might it not be God honouring to get married first? – he listened but I think came to the conclusion that it would be a choice both of them would make under consideration.

Further conversation gave me the opportunity to share the Gospel with him quite directly, like he had said before the choice was there before him.

Report for Mar – Apr 18′ – Port of Liverpool

“There is a time for every everything and a season for every activity under heaven” Ecclesiastes 3:1

It has been an encouraging couple of Months with a number of contacts made. On one occasion I received a phone call from the local Seafarer Centre they had a young deck cadet who wanted to go to Church Lemuel Tabigan. I had been on Lemuel’s ship and was aware of him but had been unable to meet him at that point.

Lemuel at Church

 

So, it was good to meet him at last, he came to Church and he enjoyed the fellowship, but on that occasion, we had to get back straight after, as he had duty. In the weeks that followed I met him several times. It was good to encourage   this young believer with several resources.

Lemuel on Board

 

 

Lemuel came to Church on the next two Sundays, on the last occasion another crew member came with him Lynwell. Lynwell was interested in why the young cadet was coming to Church so wanted to join him. The Word of God was a challenge to him as he listened – afterwards they came back for some Lunch.  

 

Usually we only get couple of ships from Thailand in a year, so it was good to meet three Thai crew Ben, Gon and Guy. There was good opportunity to leave some Thai literature, and I also had some good conversation with the 3rd Mate Ben.

Gon Guy and Ben

Ben was a Buddhist but was prepared to listen to my explanation of the Christian message and take a Bible app where I told him he could read for himself the Gospel account.

On another vessel I visited I was able to take Winfred to the seafarer centre, but on our way, he asked me some interesting question about faith in the UK. Again, this enabled me to explain to him the importance of Faith in Christ and knowing him in our lives. He took a number of scripture resources from me.

On the Basic Princess I met Miguel (Migs) who is a believer, the ship was recently in Dublin and the SCFS Chaplain Jae had great time with the crew. So, I was hopeful to follow this up –

MIgs

Meeting Migs was a great encouragement we had some time of fellowship and sharing and prayer, he told me the time that God had intervened in his life and saved him from a possible serious accident. It was a fascinating encounter that he explained.

I received a communication that my good friend Alex Fernando was coming in to Liverpool. I had not see Alex in many a year, so it was something to look forward too.

I was supposed to visit the Spar Indos at Lunch time, but this got cancelled –. When I Visited the ship in the evening I had a great time on board with many opportunities, Alex has a good reputation on board.

Alberto Shiva and Alex

And he brought many men to meet me, this afforded me the opportunity to pray with some and distribute literature and share the gospel with others. Later on, he came back home and we had a great time of catching up. At about the same time I also met another Believer Alberto on board a Tanker So, it was really good to encourage this brother too.

 

Alex expressed a wish to go to Church so I took him along with Alberto and another crew member Shiva to a prayer meeting. Here Alex was allowed to give a word of Testimony – this was a great blessing to all the church who had attended.

Alex giving his Testimony

Thank you all for your support and prayers during this time

 

Dave & Dot     

Report for Jan – Feb 18′ Port of Liverpool

“…. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining to towards what is ahead, I press on….” Phil 3: 13- 14

 2018 is a seminal year in the life of MCM as we celebrate 20 years as a Mission. This is our 15th year back in Liverpool working for the Mission, God has been faithful and good to us over these years and granted us many blessings.

Paul exhorts us here in this wonderful epistle both to forget and to press on. As one of my favourite authors Warren Wiersbe reminds us “In Bible terminology to forget does not mean to fail to remember. Ordinarily no mature person can fail to forget what happened in the past.” Although we all wish at times we could!

To forget in the Bible means no longer to be influenced by or affected by those memories.

In other words, it simply means that we break the power of the past by living for the future.” So, Paul exhorts us to press on and as the old hymn reminds us :

“…We praise him for all that is past and trust him for all that’s to come.”    

December was a busy month as we were distributing Christmas parcels and again the support from many Churches and individuals was outstanding. We were humbled and full of gratitude to the many who contributed in various ways to help us in this endeavour. In the end we were able to give out 633 parcels – and special thanks to Gideon’s who contributed 300 New Testaments.

Below is a couple of pictures of crew receiving gifts.

 

 

Alongside the busyness of parcel distribution sometimes comes the reality of a seafarer’s life. The dangerous nature of carrying out regular duties that lead to an untimely death.

And such a sad thing happened to a good friend and brother in Christ Jeyson.

Jeyson was a young 3rd Mate just 23. I thank God for the time I spent with him encouraging him as a young Christian here in Liverpool. When I last saw him, he told me of his Baptism when he had gone back home on vacation. Sadly, he lost his life in Quebec Canada in the St Lawrence river in September, his body not re-patriated till the end of November.

‘Absent from the body, present with the Lord’ – see you one day my friend!

Jeyson (First left) last time I saw him

What a great responsibility is placed on us as we visit these many men and women. Always opportunities to speak and pray -in all sorts of circumstances. As I boarded one ship the Cook Nonoy was speaking with his wife who worked in Saudi – while he was away at sea. His heart was heavy they desperately wanted a child but time/age was against them. He asked me to say hello to his wife and we spoke briefly over the phone. She too expressed sadness at not having a child, and would I pray I said that I would do so, and I shared examples from the scriptures of couples and individuals who faced similar heartache. I prayed that God’s will would be done in their lives, perhaps God will be merciful and grant them the desire of their hearts.

Tarco

Also encouraging to find those believers on board who are faithfully serving God in their work and witness. It is a good thing to resource them and pray with them one such man was Tarco the 2nd Mate – he is faithfully witnessing to the 3rd Mate on board.

It was really good to get a message from my good friend C/Eng. Dino Magayon. His ship was sailing into Liverpool, it has been nearly ten years since I last saw him although we have spoken from time to time.

Dino and Max at home.

This man has such a Godly reputation in the company that he is allowed to preach/teach freely on each ship he is appointed too. On board this vessel he has his own Pulpit and Hymnbooks – when I was on board we had a time of singing in the mess. It was great to welcome Dino and another crew mate Max back to our home in the evening. We had a good time of catching up and encouraging one another. I was able to provide Dino with a number of resources for his Bible fellowship group.   

Thanks for all your support and prayers.

Report for Nov/Dec 17′ – Port of Liverpool

“Do not be afraid, Zechariah; your prayer has been heard. Your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son…” Luke Ch 1: 13    

 

I remember many years ago that I was challenged at the time that we were about to enter another New Year, perhaps we needed a fresh encounter with God. And of course, this got me thinking about this older couple in Luke Ch 1. Over the Christmas period we do tend to read and reflect on these stories, in fact as we probably read them so many times we can become quite complacent, over familiar even. We can sometimes lose the sense of wonder and awe at the re-telling of these events. But as we come to them afresh once again, even though Christmas is less than a month away, perhaps we can be challenged afresh by their experience in the temple and what followed for Elizabeth and Zechariah. Their lives would never be quite the same again, as I guess any encounter with the living God may bring about. We pray that with our meetings with the Men of the Sea that many will encounter  the Living God

 Visiting the ships

We are always grateful for those who take the time and effort to knit woolly hats and Chest warmers.

Crew from the Scarabe

They are always appreciated by the crew who receive them especially this time of year when to many it is very cold here in the UK.

 I had some good conversation with the 2nd Engineer on one vessel who was a Hindu. He was well read in literature and told me he had read the Bible so I was able to use that to some use. Again, like many Hindu’s his view was that there is much correlation between the faiths – I queried whether some of the Hindu faith/ gods visions etc were based in history? He seemed to think so – he loved the OT and OT stories. So, I was able to build up a historic time line of how God called out a people and redeemed and rescued them – linking that in with the NT with Jesus dying for us to rescue us too. He mentioned re-incarnation and some people who had such experiences of this – I explained that the Bible spoke about judgement after death and therefore to me re-incarnation was not possible. I left him with a book ‘Faith at Sea’ – he said that he would read it, I pray that the seed of God’s word would be sown in his life.      

 Visiting the Spar Aries – the ship has been in some time so I was unsure of the welcome. As it was the 3rd Mate was a little indifferent to my visit as they knew all about the Seafarers Mission and had been there on many occasions. So, it looked like I was not going to get very far – I decided to leave some literature, but he just wandered off.

Sanjay on Board

I was tempted to just walk off the ship but hung around – several other crew came out on deck and one began to talk to me Sanjay Rao an A/B. He asked was there a Church at the Seafarers Centre. I asked him what kind of Church he was looking for? ‘A Protestant one’ he said. 

 In our conversation it was clear that he was a Christian and Born again – he told me his Testimony how that his wife was instrumental in him coming to Christ. He also told me he was in pain with his shoulder and neck and so we prayed for that. I also said that I would get some cream and heat patches for him also. I returned in the evening with the medication and we had a time of sharing and reading and praying.

Sanjay at home with Friends

I had  two good conversations on the Hanson Trader VI with the Cook and also an OS – Ryan – one conversation linked in a particular denomination being the true Church and consequently what a true Christian is or is not. The other around a fear of going to Hell – this enabled some challenging questions and a great opportunity to share the Gospel and have a relationship with Christ. 

OS Ryan Arga

 I left some good reading material with these men – and will pray that God will do what I cannot – grow the Word of God in their lives and for them to have a real faith in Christ.   

We have been very busy getting ready to distribute the Christmas parcels on board the ships that visit us. Once again, a big thank you for every individual and Church that has contributed to this venture your support has been fantastic. On Saturday the 25th November folk from Hope Community Church and others gathered to do the Christmas wrap. It was a great morning of fellowship and friendship as we got together.

Wrapping the parcels

 At the moment we have between 500-600 gifts to hand out, we will start that on the 1st December – God Willing.

 

Report for Sept/Oct 17′ – Port of Liverpool

“….So neither he that plants nor he that waters is anything, but only God who makes things grow…” 1 Cor 3:7

We were sharing this scripture on a recent Mission trip to Romania along with the passage 1 Cor 3:5-9. But it does not matter whether it is Romania or visiting seafarers with the Word of God. The same principle applies, God is the prime mover in spiritual formation. We thank God that he allows us to partner with him in the spread of the Gospel. We plant and water God’s word, and sometimes have the joy of reaping that for which we have not laboured.  But as Mark 4:26-29 reminds us in the parable of the growing seed the Gospel has an unseen power of its own. I read a great story of someone who had given a Russian seafarer a tract and Bible 30 years ago. It was only reported now that this man not only became a Christian but that he Pastors a Church too. Truly the Gospel has its own Power. Who knows what God will cultivate by the planting of his Word in cabins and mess rooms and in men and women’s lives as we minister to the men of the sea.

On the Tanker Autumn I met Jesse the cook who I knew through a contact was a believer, he was pleased to see me and we had some good conversation, about his Faith. He was going home in the next day or two.

Froilan & Jesse

As I sat there a young Deck Cadet came in Froilan – he saw the literature I had, and asked directly ‘What’s this all about’? – which turned out to be a great opportunity to share the good news about Jesus. It all seemed so new and strange to him, I when I said the literature was free and gave him a Bible – he seemed genuinely shocked that I was giving it to him without cost.

Froilan

I am praying that he will read God’s word and come to know the Lord Jesus for himself. Perhaps you will join me in praying for him also.

On another vessel the Huayang Spirit – I was well received and was able to get into the mess, a number of crew took Chinese gospels from me. There was also six Burmese crew and I was well received from them.

Chinese Crew

Here on this ship I also met Saw the mess man who was a Christian from that country.

Saw

Later on in the week I caught up with Saw and encouraged him in his faith. I left some study materials with him and prayed for his family and ongoing journey.

Around about the same time the Amazonborg came in and I had some good conversation with the crew. I told them about a 3rd Officer I had met called Jeyson several months earlier on another borg vessel.

The Boson said “We have a 3rd officer called Jeyson – he is on deck at the moment checking on the discharging.” I thought this is too much of a coincidence and went outside – sure enough it was Jeyson. I was only able to speak briefly, and said that I would catch up with him later.

I visited the ship a day or so later, and we were able to sit down and have some conversation. It was good to encourage him and see where he was at in his faith. Jeyson was perhaps feeling a little guilty that he had not yet told his family of his new-found faith – and I encouraged him to do this. I also shared my own experience of this, and spoke about the demoniac in Luke’s gospel. He was told to go home and tell them what great things God had done for him. I suggested he should do the same. Jeyson later messaged me to say how our conversation had helped him, and that when he gets home he would tell his family of his decision to follow Jesus.

Report for July-August 2017 – Port of Liverpool

“For since in the wisdom of God, the world through its wisdom did not know him, God was pleased through the foolishness of what was preached to save those who believe”  1 Cor Ch 1:21

 

The world often looks at the gospel and laughs, they think it is foolishness. But God’s wisdom takes that which is ‘weak’ and ‘foolish’ and makes it the greatest expression of his strength.

The so called ‘foolish wisdom’ of Christ crucified has silenced all the pretended wisdom of the ages. As indeed did God silenced Job and his three friends in those later chapters of his book?  The wisdom of Job was this ‘Fear God and shun evil.’

As one writer says “in a sense, I liken the fear of God to a warning sign over the broad gate, ignored by so many who enter there, but those who see and recognise its real meaning turn and enter the narrow gate.”

Seeking after God – fear him and shun evil, repent (turnaround) and believe the gospel. So we should thank the Father for the Lord Jesus, who is Wisdom for me, and to all who will receive him; and for his cross, which is the tree of Life for me, and to all who will believe on his name.

There is an open offer for all to call upon his name:-

“….Whoever is thirsty, let him come; and whoever wishes, let him take the free gift of the water of life” Rev 22:17

Over the years it is good to keep in contact with so many men whose lives we have been able to touch in some small way. A young Ghanaian A/B who I met about a year ago – messaged me recently that he always remembered me when he read the Bible I had given him. Not so much that he remembered me! More importantly that he read God’s Word and being reminded by me here was the Word of God to make him wise unto Salvation. Agreed and replied Amen!

Efren

Or I think of Efren a young 3rd Mate, whose wish was that one day he  would become a Captain.At the time several years ago I reminded him that if he honoured God in his life and by obeying his Word. The Lord would honour him and in his time and will he would receive this promotion. Several months ago I saw a posting on Facebook congratulating him on his promotion to Captain. I immediately messaged him congratulating him on this achievement. But I also reminded him about our conversation all those years ago. He replied remembering our talk, he gave thanks and praise to God for all that had been given him.

It was a great moment.

On some vessels you are able to have a really good rapport with the crew and this can develop over several visits. When I visited the Ocean Galaxy the Filipino crew were very welcoming. Over time I got to know the C/ Eng. and Electrician very well. Through this I got to know the Captain quite well too. On my last visit not many crew were around in the mess so I wandered up a couple of decks to the C/Engineers office.

Crew Ocean Galaxy

The Electrician was inside as well, I was immediately welcomed into his office and we had some good conversation.  I was invited to Lunch with the Captain, in the course of the conversation he asked if I could conduct a mass – as the ship would be leaving early evening. Of course I had to decline this invitation but explained that I would be quite willing to conduct a short benediction service and pray for the crew. This gave me the opportunity to read and share from the scriptures.

On the Glovis Madrid there were five different nationalities, a lot of crew were desperate to speak and communicate with loved ones. The need for internet and phone cards is for most crew a priority. I visited the ship twice and was able to leave literature for them as well as meeting a practical need. On watch was Jolian from Sri Lankan – he requested a Bible in his own Language Tamil. It was good to be able to get this for him as well as Daily Bread reading too.

Jolian

Probably the  highlight of July was visiting the Hospital Ship Africa Mercy while she was in dry dock in Las Palmas. We have good friends on board a Filipino family who we have known for the last 13 years. The Sanchez family have committed the next three years to serve on board.

Nina Kim and Ramon

 

And while it is great getting reports from them on how things are going nothing quite beats being where they are and seeing life on board for this hard working crew.

So we were invited to visit as guests of Ramon and Nina and spent about 8 days with them. The ship was under maintenance and so it was a working environment. But it was great to see how all these multi-disciplinary crew interact with each other. And they were all under some pressure to get things fixed and ready for their next Field trip in Cameroon in August.

Engineering and Maintenance – devotions early morning.

Certainly here is a vessel that brings Hope, Health and Healing to others.

 

 

Report for May – June 2017 – Port of Liverpool

“God is not unjust; that he will not forget your work and the Love you have shown him as you have helped his people, and continue to help them” Hebrews 6:10 

This verse finds itself in a passage coming after Hebrews 10 vs 1-8 that has perplexed God’s people down the ages. But the note of serious warning found in these verses should not deflect from the other equal truth found here in verse 10. As a Holy God cannot ignore rebellion, neither can he forget genuine works of service done in love for God. God is not unjust! Helping and continuing to help the people of God, reflects a love for him that he fully recognises and cannot forget. These are the better things mentioned in vs9 – that the author makes reference to and what he expects from the Hebrew believers he writes too. And by implication this is for us also.   

In the past couple of months there have been several opportunities to ‘help’ and encourage Christian believers in various ways. Jeyson a 3rd Officer who I met several months ago finally arrived home. But I was aware that finding Christian fellowship where he lived was quite difficult.

So it was great when he contacted me with the picture below to say that he had received the Emmaus Course ‘Guide to Christian Growth’ and the ‘Mark Time’ – Gospel of Mark by Gerard Crispin. He was really looking forward to getting into these studies and I will look forward to getting his answer sheets back.

It is always good to meet believers from China so when the ship Osmarine berthed – I was given a very warm welcome. The A/B on watch Li Cong noticed in my bag literature in Chinese and told me he was a Christian.

C/Mate – Zhu – 2nd Officer

The Boson then came out and Li told me he was a Christian too Zhu Guo Bing, We went into the office with the C/Officer – and I was able to give them both a Bible as well as Li Cong who was on watch. I visited the ship several times and was able to give them a number of resources in Chinese to encourage them in their Faith. Later in the week on the Sunday Li contacted me and said that he would like to go Church.

Zhu and Li

We are blessed to have a good Chinese Church here in Liverpool so both Dot and myself were able to spend the day with them at the Chinese Church. We know the Pastor who had been a Missionary with OMF in Taiwan.  We attended the English service while Li and Zhu went to both the Mandarin and Cantonese services. It was great for them to have fellowship with their own countryman and to receive Ministry from God’s word in their own language..

On another occasion I visited the Georgia T – I met a number of crew who were Believers. Rolly Flores was an O/S on watch who had previously pastored a small Baptist Church in the Philippines. But he had to return back to sea to provide for his family. He told me that the Captain Reynaldo Akino was a Christian too, and led many studies on board. When I met him we had some good conversation and prayer together, he was going home in a couple of days. The Captain said that he was keen to get some resources for his study and for his wife too who was a Rev. back home. When they visited us at home and he explained this to Dot she thought he said she was a Rebel. This was a great source of amusement for everyone.

Rolly, and Captain Reynaldo; C/ Eng. Juan

 I was able to return with a number of Bible Commentaries and other Christian resources that I had. Captain Reynaldo was overjoyed to receive these, they were somewhat heavy, but he sacrificed other things in his suitcase so that he could get them home, deeming them more important.

I am grateful to God for the opportunities that continue to come our way as we reach out to the men of the sea.

Just before Easter the Tanker Thun Gothenburg visited us which is in quite regularly. I spent a bit of time with one of the A/B’s Roland he was keen to have a Bible and Jesus DVD. So I took him to my car where I was sure that I had both waiting, the Jetty man came too as he had to let us out of the Berth. As he came over to the car he saw the Gideon NT’s I had which do look like a diary from the back, so he enquired if they were and could he have one? When I explained what they were and showed him his response changed somewhat as I offered him one. He said that he had read it, as he walked away but added ‘anyway he dies in the end doesn’t he? – to which I replied ‘yes but three days later he rose from the dead.’  Just a simple witness but hopefully one that may cause a conversation if I have chance to meet him again on my travels.

Crew from the Anima

 We are always grateful to the individuals and Church groups that continue to knit woolly hats and chest warmers for us. They are always greatly appreciated by the crew that receive them as the picture below illustrates – thank you.

Next month God Willing we will visit our dear friends the Sanchez family on the vessel that they are serving on the Hospital ship M.V. Africa Mercy. The ship is due into dry dock in Las Palmas shortly – we hope to catch them soon after she come out of dry dock and is back on the water alongside. We hope to spend about 10 days with them on the ship as they are due some vacation time.