“….So neither he that plants nor he that waters is anything, but only God who makes things grow…” 1 Cor 3:7
We were sharing this scripture on a recent Mission trip to Romania along with the passage 1 Cor 3:5-9. But it does not matter whether it is Romania or visiting seafarers with the Word of God. The same principle applies, God is the prime mover in spiritual formation. We thank God that he allows us to partner with him in the spread of the Gospel. We plant and water God’s word, and sometimes have the joy of reaping that for which we have not laboured. But as Mark 4:26-29 reminds us in the parable of the growing seed the Gospel has an unseen power of its own. I read a great story of someone who had given a Russian seafarer a tract and Bible 30 years ago. It was only reported now that this man not only became a Christian but that he Pastors a Church too. Truly the Gospel has its own Power. Who knows what God will cultivate by the planting of his Word in cabins and mess rooms and in men and women’s lives as we minister to the men of the sea.
On the Tanker Autumn I met Jesse the cook who I knew through a contact was a believer, he was pleased to see me and we had some good conversation, about his Faith. He was going home in the next day or two.
As I sat there a young Deck Cadet came in Froilan – he saw the literature I had, and asked directly ‘What’s this all about’? – which turned out to be a great opportunity to share the good news about Jesus. It all seemed so new and strange to him, I when I said the literature was free and gave him a Bible – he seemed genuinely shocked that I was giving it to him without cost.
I am praying that he will read God’s word and come to know the Lord Jesus for himself. Perhaps you will join me in praying for him also.
On another vessel the Huayang Spirit – I was well received and was able to get into the mess, a number of crew took Chinese gospels from me. There was also six Burmese crew and I was well received from them.
Here on this ship I also met Saw the mess man who was a Christian from that country.
Later on in the week I caught up with Saw and encouraged him in his faith. I left some study materials with him and prayed for his family and ongoing journey.
Around about the same time the Amazonborg came in and I had some good conversation with the crew. I told them about a 3rd Officer I had met called Jeyson several months earlier on another borg vessel.
The Boson said “We have a 3rd officer called Jeyson – he is on deck at the moment checking on the discharging.” I thought this is too much of a coincidence and went outside – sure enough it was Jeyson. I was only able to speak briefly, and said that I would catch up with him later.
I visited the ship a day or so later, and we were able to sit down and have some conversation. It was good to encourage him and see where he was at in his faith. Jeyson was perhaps feeling a little guilty that he had not yet told his family of his new-found faith – and I encouraged him to do this. I also shared my own experience of this, and spoke about the demoniac in Luke’s gospel. He was told to go home and tell them what great things God had done for him. I suggested he should do the same. Jeyson later messaged me to say how our conversation had helped him, and that when he gets home he would tell his family of his decision to follow Jesus.