“ …. I am sending you to them to open their eyes and turn them from darkness to light and from the power of satan to God so that they will receive forgiveness of sins and a place among those who are sanctified by faith in me. ”
Acts 26: 17b-18
This is the Third account of Paul’s encounter with the Lord Jesus on the Damascus road as he makes his defence before King Agrippa and Festus. Each account found in Acts 9 and 22 as well as this one in Acts 26 provides additional information about this experience.
These verses here though, provide us with a wonderful summary of the gospel that Paul is to preach and teach. How that Blind eyes can be made to see again, the transfer of allegiance from one kingdom into another – darkness to light. And from this the receiving of the forgiveness of sins and the placing of faith and trust in the Lord Jesus. And those who do so are made holy (sanctified) as the Christian life progresses through this faith.
Work on the Ships
Often providing practical help breaks down many barriers on one occasion I was visiting the Baltic Hornet. The Ship had mainly Indian crew here I met the C/ Officer who wanted to visit family in Bradford so I offered to take him to Lime St Station the following morning. He was very happy – the night he was to return his train was cancelled as a wall had collapsed on the main line into Liverpool. So quite late on in the evening I got a call saying that he was in a taxi heading back to Liverpool station and could I get him to his ship. I was able to pick him up and get him on board for which he was grateful. A day or so later I returned to his ship and he gave me a very warm welcome and invited me to lunch with himself and the Captain.
As it turned out he was a Muslim and came from a strong Muslim family. So when I offered him a Hindi Bible he was very reticent to accept it – and wanted it just left in the Mess for the crew.
Good to meet old friends who we have been contact with, but not seen in a long time. I met up with Walter and Jonas from the Atlantic Star which had just come in.
They came home for some hospitality and met Dot it was great to meet up again with these guys.
Technology plays an increasing role in the life of the seafarer many times when I meet up with these men they have a smart phone or tablet in their hands. This can be a distraction when trying to get into some kind of conversation with them. But it is great that we can turn this to our advantage – I have some good friends in the Gideon’s.And recently was offered a number of Bible App cards like the one below.
When offered to crew they are usually well received, as this app enables them to put the Bible on their phone in their own language. The other blessing is that on the installed Bible app there are many helps and devotions which you can direct the men to, and this can open some good conversations.
One such conversation I had was with Bijoy Saha who was the Messman on the Vipna Naree. But actually he did not have a smart phone. Bijoy (below) was a Hindu but also said that he prayed to God with a picture of Jesus in front of him.
Bijoy confessed that he did not really know how to pray. I told him that the disciples of Jesus once asked to be taught how to pray. So having a Gideon NT with me I offered it to him which he was really happy to receive. And since he mentioned about praying I was able to turn to that part of the helps in the NT and read it through this with him as it contained the Lord’s prayer.
Bijoy had many confused ideas about who God was and whether they were all the same God, appearing as different manifestations – Jesus just being one of them. But he said that he a sense of God’s presence with him. I referred him back to reading the NT for himself – and before opening it up to pray that God would reveal his word to him.
It is interesting the varied responses that crew on ships present, the crew on the Nordic Nelly said they were happy and that they had everything they needed – I offered them some Bible literature but I got the same response! But then, visiting the Susanne Theresa (Russ/Fil) – I was told that ship was sailing in 45 mins – nevertheless I was allowed inside and struck up a conversation with A/B Grevi.
We had some good spiritual conversation and he took a Bible from me and some devotional material too – he told me that an ex-girlfriend had given him a Bible but when they had finished the relationship she had taken it back. She said he did not deserve to keep it! – so It was good to give him another one and I assured him that I would not take it back !