“ So be careful to do what the Lord your God has commanded you; do not turn aside to the right or to the left ” Deut Ch 5:32
I have been challenged by these verses in Deuteronomy (above) – reminding me that even through difficult events in these past couple of months in our lives, we still need to fulfill our vows in serving the Lord in this Ministry. And that has been a great re-assurance and help to me.
It is always good to Pray for and support good friends who make the decision to follow Jesus as the Chorus says ‘No turning back, No turning back’. Indeed this is the maxim of our good friends Ramon and Nina Sanchez and their son Kim. They have left their home in the Philippines to join Mercy Ships for several years. They are currently in training in Texas USA – they have been our friends since 2004 when we met them on another Mercy Ship in Birkenhead Wirral.
Back in 2007 I met a seafarer Victor Cabana who was a cook on board a Bulker. Over the time he was in Port he came back to our home and I was also able to visit him on his ship. We did a Bible study together and at the end of it he was given the challenge to accept Christ and it was a real joy to see him come to faith. Since then I have tried to contact him on many occasions but without success. Since the inception of social media this has given a new opportunity to try and contact him. I was optimistic that I had found him and left a message, this was over a year ago. What a joy to finally get a response about two weeks ago. Victor confirmed that he was the same guy and that he remembered our time together. Now that contact has been re-established there will be opportunity to catch up with one another. Our prayers have been answered over the years.
More recently I visited the Elbeborg. The Chinese crew were very welcoming and I had some good conversation with the Deck Cadet Jun Wang.
He said that his Grandmother was a Christian, and knew something of the fact that Christians want to spread the good news over the world – I said that I would return with a Chinese Bible and other literature. And a couple of days later I returned with these.
On the Royal Justice I met Albert the Messman and Junrey the 2nd Mate, I had some good conversation with them and left a number of resources. Albert explained that he often read his Bible having been taught to do so by and ex – girlfriend, it was good to encourage him in his reading of the Bible and I left a fair bit of resources for him to read.
The following Sunday afternoon I re- visited the Royal Justice and as before had a good welcome from the crew while a number had gone ashore. Junrey the 2nd Officer was pleased to see me. We had some good conversation; he told me that he had been reading the books that I had left with him. I was encouraged by this and we had some further conversation about life at home and on the sea. From this I was able to share the gospel with him reminding him of the importance of reading God’s Word and its part in our lives.
When the Navios Amber came in I had great time on board and met a number of believers including the C/ Engineer German Ellazar and the 3rd Engineer Efraem Bioco – German leads a Bible sharing group on board every Sunday when at Sea. I was hopeful that one night they will visit us at home, and I hope to get them to Church on Sunday too.
Having arranged this when I went to pick them up I was only expecting three but there was seven crew waiting for me. So this meant a couple of trips back and forth, but it was worth it as they had a good time of friendship and fellowship and listening to the Word of God.
Later in the week when I had visited them again I had told them about Dot’s up and coming Birthday. So they asked could we meet up midweek in the City as they wanted to buy her a small gift for her Birthday. So we met up in the City and we went and had a Coffee at Starbucks – and they gave her a gift of flowers.
They are in for several weeks, so they came to Church again on the following Sunday. Later that day in the evening we went to a Filipino Church, not too far away from where we live.
In between this I had also met another seafarer Nico and had invited him to come to Church where I was speaking at an evening service. He had expressed an interest in coming, so I picked him up from the Seafarer centre and he came with myself and Dot. He was given a good welcome from the folk at that Church. And heard the Good News about Jesus !