“And everyone who has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or wife or children or lands, for My name’s sake, shall receive a hundredfold, and inherit eternal life.” Matthew Ch 19:29
Earlier this month we celebrated 20 years of MCM ministering into the lives of seafarers – we thanked God for the legacy of Stan and Irene Sherrington who began MCM back in 1998 – but who had been ministering amongst seafarers for many years before. Someone has said “The Lord takes nothing from the Christian without making multiple restoration” we cannot out give God! – and that is what Jesus is talking about in this verse above. We would have to say that has been our experience.
The majority who gathered with us earlier this month we did not know 15 years ago. They have become our spiritual Family, our Church at Hope Community Church, dear brothers and sisters from other fellowships, friends – along with those who we have known that little bit longer.
Many of them have been unstinting in their support both prayerfully and practically – prayed for us faithfully over the years and continue to do so, for which we are so grateful. We reflected on the many seafarers who have been blessed by this Ministry. Several we have seen come to Faith in Christ – Victor, Peter and Paz, Durga, Jayson. To some of these men and women of the sea we have become Mother and Father too – God parents as the Filipinos call us Ninong David & Ninang Dot.
To others we have opened our home and given hospitality, Dot excels here. Some we have visited in hospital when they have been sick or injured – and too many others showed acts of kindness. We have also passed on to seafarers the acts of kindness other have shown, distributing thousands and thousands of woolly hats and chest warmers, that have been knitted, – wrapped and distributed thousands of Christmas parcels all made possible by faithful supporters.
And sadly, we have shared in the sorrow of family for those who have lost their lives at sea, linking in with them to provide support in difficult days. Some I have dared to call friends, and brothers in Christ making me realise all the more how dangerous a vocation is seafaring. And what a blessing it is to us to minister into the lives of these men and some women that we meet on a day to day basis.
So, as we looked back there was so much to be Thankful for – but we also look ahead too. The work carries on and again we are grateful to God to those who still uphold us in prayer and practically support us as well.
Over the past couple of months, we have been encouraged with some of the contacts that we have made. With some we have been there at what seemed like just the right time.
As i pulled up to visit the Kathy C, Sani was just coming through the Berth entrance, I introduced myself. With an A4 map in his hand he was looking for a Western Union. He needed to send money to his daughter in Portugal, he had no idea where to go, and I knew it would take him at least 45 mins to get to the nearest shop. As he got in the car he said in broken English ‘Big God’ he had no doubt that God had sent me to help him.
As it turned out he did not have the correct ID and he needed a UK address which I was able to give. So, there was a minor inconvenience, but it would have been far worse if I had not been there. On the way back, he bowed his head closed his eyes and silently thanked God for this intervention. Back on the ship I was able to give him a number of Portuguese scriptures which he was really happy to receive. But the timing and encounter was quite remarkable.
On the Thun Goliath (Fil) I had some good conversations, some remembered me from Christmas with the gifts that were given. I met Neil who was on watch, who is a believer I left him with the book Faith at Sea, I also had some conversation with the Electrician, Kurt who told me he was Born Again. He was struggling with the habit of smoking; he told me his Father was not happy with his life style. I did not want to add to the sense of guilt that he felt but sought to encourage him. I also promised to pray for him – I gave him a copy of the book “Help how can I overcome Temptation”. The ship is in regularly, so I will get see them on a number of occasions.
On the Sadah Silver, I met the 4th Officer from Oman – he was very friendly, and we struck up a conversation. His English was excellent, he asked me were the night life and women where! He was a seafarer what did I expect, this took me back to the old days were men often asked this kind of question.
When I showed him a gospel and told him I was a Christian, he said he was a Muslim “Not a practising one I added”? “No” he said. “You need to read this I said” – but then he got distracted with buying a sim card. Something I said must have resonated though, as he came back about 20 mins later and said, “What was this stuff I need to read” So I gave him a gospel of John and several booklets. “Read this in your cabin – any question contact me” – and I gave him my card.
Pray that the word of God would be sowed in his life.
When I visited the Alpine, I had the privilege of meeting a number of crew who were believers. Captain Erick who is a believer offered me a fine welcome. He told me that he conducted weekly Bible Sharing when the crew gathered usually 7pm on a Sunday evening.
I was invited to attend on Sunday evening, as their guest Speaker. I said that I would bring a number of biblical resources for the crew that attended. Several of the crew could not get along because of duties, but those who did attend were encouraged and challenged. We had a mutual time of fellowship and encouragement were the crew was encouraged to ask questions. Both myself and Captain Erick answered these questions as best that we could.
It was a great evening and a blessing to many of the crew who gathered.
Continue to pray for us.