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