“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone the new has come” 2 Cor 5:17
This is one of those scriptures that I memorised from being a young Christian. It reminds us of the contrast that there is in becoming a Christian. The contrast of the old and new life – the old being the former way of life that we once followed. And the new being that which we gain when “in Christ” we are united with him through faith and commitment to him. But we are further reminded in the verse that follows, that all this is from God who reconciles us back to himself in Christ. He takes the initiative as it were, offering redemption to all. But further, he passes on to us the responsibility of partaking and sharing in this ministry too. Like Paul we too can become heralds and instruments to minister this same message throughout the world.
I was reminded of this when I visited an Indian vessel the Baltic Cougar. The mess man Amol had sat next to me all the time of my visit. But I thought him an Engineer since he had worn a boiler suit. A number of gospels and devotionals had been left out, but as I had brought some other tracts out of my bag. One of which said “A new Start” this immediately started a conversation as he was drawn to the title. Inside the tract it said Christ gives New Life, and quoted 2 Cor 5:17 the same verse as above
Albin (cook) and Amol
Amol told me he was currently reading the NT and was midway through Luke. I gave him a small study in John, and explained the Christian message. He asked me if it was true that Jesus would come back again. It just so happened that I had another booklet with me with the title “Jesus will return” which I gave him. He was very kind and offered me Lunch, I in turn invited him to my Church house group, he said he would come.
Amol at Church House Grp
That same week the Lord opened up another door of opportunity as I visited the Chinese vessel Peace Pearl. Notoriously difficult, not because of opposition but mainly because of language difficulties. I met a very bright and articulate 2nd Engineer Wen Guoyao (Below) .
Again here was a man who was again reading the Bible – to see what it had to say, he was up to 1 Chronicles! After sharing something of the Christian story with him, I asked would he like a Bible as he was reading the scriptures electronically. He said he would prefer an English version. As his understanding and speaking were very good – I was pleased to give him one. I also left him a Chinese copy of Billy Graham’s book “ How to be Happy” It had been a very encouraging week – on Sunday at Church. A lady who supports the Ministry very practically, came to me at the beginning of the service. Asking me if I was in any ‘trouble’ I explained that actually it had been a good week. She explained that she had been extremely burdened in prayer for us in the work that week and had prayed fervently. Was there a correlation I wonder! – I thanked her for her support and prayers.
It is good to build up relations with crew of ships that come in regularly. The Tanker Tigris comes into Eastham regularly, Eastham is on the Wirral side of the Mersey. And I have got to know the Indian crew quite well, they mainly want Telephone sim cards and Top ups.
But there is a good friend and brother on board AJ Kumar – AJ knows the Lord in a very real and personal way . And it is great to be able to encourage him, when he is coming in, he usually emails me with some form of request for Items according to his needs
Visiting the Christoph S – I spent most of the day with the crew, and I spoke at length with OS Allan K Habon (below) – we spoke about many things and progressed our conversation on to spiritual matters.
I was able to give him a NT and we read it together as I explained John 3, although Allan was a RC he had been to a gospel Church in the Philippines and was struck by its difference. Again it had been good to share something of the hope of the gospel with Allan in a fairly relaxed and conversational style.
From time to time we have to complete appropriate courses to do with ship visitation and seafarer welfare. At the end of September I had to attend such a two day course.
I had also been contacted by my brother and fellow ship visitor in Cork Colin Jenkins who works with SCFS in that Port. Colin had a friend Johnson who was a Nigerian Pastor living in Cork. Johnson had to attend the course as he helped Colin on many occasions on the ships. So it was decided that Johnson would stay with us over the weekend. He could attend the course and come to Church and hopefully do some ship visiting if time permitted. What a blessing this man was to us, our home and family – we had a great time of fellowship and encouragement.
Johnson at home
On the Monday before he left I took him on board the Bulker King Island and we had a great time. Ministering and praying into many seafarers lives on this ship. The Captain was extremely generous and arranged a tour of the ship for us both from Bridge to Engine room.