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Report for July – August 2016 – Port of Liverpool UK

“ Teach us to number our days aright that we may gain a heart of Wisdom” Psalm 90 :12 

Derek Tidball in his book ‘Signposts’ says of Psalm 90 that “No psalm contrasts the greatness of God and the fragility of humans so effectively.” Another commentator says “Only Isaiah 40 can compare with this psalm for its presentation of God’s grandeur and eternity over against the frailty of man”

And of course that is a wonderful thought God’s grandeur and eternity – and our place in it. On a ship I visited recently I saw this picture.20160704_095402

That’s a very challenging question – and one that each of us should consider in the light of our human frailty. It is part of a question that we as Chaplains look to answer when we encounter the men of the sea. For we believe that the answer to that question is given to us in God’s Word the Bible. And the security and satisfaction of answering that question is found in Jesus Christ, and in the salvation he alone can provide.

Dot’s Heart Attack

This Psalm hit home to me as well when in the middle of July my wife Dot suffered a massive Heart attack. Forgive me if I am repeating what so many already know, but there is a quite number who do not know until they read this letter. She is recovering well but there will be a long rehabilitation. Prayers and support has been overwhelming and we are so grateful to family and friends who have blessed us in so many ways Thank You. Indeed as we number our days we do pray for a heart of wisdom as we consider the way ahead.   

Prior to this I had been visiting the ships on a regular basis and once again there had been some good encounters with the men that I had met.

When visiting the Pantazis L with Filipino and one Indonesian crew I had a had a very warm welcome from these men. Here I had the opportunity to meet two Christians Danny the C/Engineer and Bert (Fitter) who is Indonesian. Danny has strong links with SCFS in the Philippines so it was really great to meet these guys.

Danny & Bert
Danny & Bert

The following Sunday I was able to get them to Church along with another crew member. And then the following Wednesday they attended along with two other crew our Church small group. They all seemed to enjoy the time together and it was good to encourage and bless these men. (See Below)

Crew at small group
Crew at small group

It is always good to catch up with friends who we know and have been in our house.

Carmelo on the Blue Note
Carmelo on the Blue Note

So when I visited the Blue Note who was there but my good friend and Cook Carmel Espirito. He was pleased to see me and we had a good time speaking with one another.

The crew on the Tatjana were very friendly and I had some good times with these men, I promised to return with a yearly devotional for the oiler Rommel

Crew from the Tatjana (Rommel 2nd Left)
Crew from the Tatjana (Rommel 2nd Left)

I returned back to the Tatjana with the yearly devotional that I had promised Rommel. But remembered a crew member called Eshetu from Ethiopia, so I took a Bible for him in Amharic in his own language which was well received. Also Anecio the Engine cadet took a yearly devotional from me as well at the same time.

There is always opportunity to share a testimony as the conversation allows. When I was on the Hedvig Bulker crew were coming and going –  some for a cup of Coffee in the mess. Con’t

The Boson stopped to chat and we had some conversation which turned to think about what it was to be a believer in the Lord Jesus. And it also afforded me the chance to share my testimony on  how I had come to put my trust in the Lord Jesus.

Often when you visit a ship several times as allowed you can begin to get a good understanding of the crew. On the Nba Monet several of the crew were leaving with a crew exchange. Also the Captain Donald Danao, came into the mess and wanted to know why his internet allowance on his smart phone had expired so quickly. I helped him check his balance and offered some explanations.

Captain Donald on the Nba Monet
Captain Donald on the Nba Monet

He offered me lunch so I accepted his invitation – from this he took several pieces of literature and a yearly devotional. The next day I visited  the ship again as I had a bag to give to the Captain that had been left at the Seaman’s Centre. This gave me opportunity to have more conversation with the Captain who I learned had met Ian Dennis several years ago in Melbourne as a Third Mate. Here he had been challenged with the tenants of the Christian faith as opposed to tradition and religion, we had some good conversation and he is certainly thinking about what the Christian faith really is. As I left the ship I found out that 3rd Mate on watch was Chinese – so I gave him a Chinese/ English NT as I left.

When I returned the next day I was greatly encouraged to find him engrossed reading it while on watch. I stood there for a couple of minutes just watching him, he was oblivious to my presence. I had returned to give the  Captain a study in Mark’s gospel. We continue to pray that as men receive  and read the Word of God that it will be as good seed planted in their lives.