Report for May – June 2017 – Port of Liverpool

“God is not unjust; that he will not forget your work and the Love you have shown him as you have helped his people, and continue to help them” Hebrews 6:10 

This verse finds itself in a passage coming after Hebrews 10 vs 1-8 that has perplexed God’s people down the ages. But the note of serious warning found in these verses should not deflect from the other equal truth found here in verse 10. As a Holy God cannot ignore rebellion, neither can he forget genuine works of service done in love for God. God is not unjust! Helping and continuing to help the people of God, reflects a love for him that he fully recognises and cannot forget. These are the better things mentioned in vs9 – that the author makes reference to and what he expects from the Hebrew believers he writes too. And by implication this is for us also.   

In the past couple of months there have been several opportunities to ‘help’ and encourage Christian believers in various ways. Jeyson a 3rd Officer who I met several months ago finally arrived home. But I was aware that finding Christian fellowship where he lived was quite difficult.

So it was great when he contacted me with the picture below to say that he had received the Emmaus Course ‘Guide to Christian Growth’ and the ‘Mark Time’ – Gospel of Mark by Gerard Crispin. He was really looking forward to getting into these studies and I will look forward to getting his answer sheets back.

It is always good to meet believers from China so when the ship Osmarine berthed – I was given a very warm welcome. The A/B on watch Li Cong noticed in my bag literature in Chinese and told me he was a Christian.

C/Mate – Zhu – 2nd Officer

The Boson then came out and Li told me he was a Christian too Zhu Guo Bing, We went into the office with the C/Officer – and I was able to give them both a Bible as well as Li Cong who was on watch. I visited the ship several times and was able to give them a number of resources in Chinese to encourage them in their Faith. Later in the week on the Sunday Li contacted me and said that he would like to go Church.

Zhu and Li

We are blessed to have a good Chinese Church here in Liverpool so both Dot and myself were able to spend the day with them at the Chinese Church. We know the Pastor who had been a Missionary with OMF in Taiwan.  We attended the English service while Li and Zhu went to both the Mandarin and Cantonese services. It was great for them to have fellowship with their own countryman and to receive Ministry from God’s word in their own language..

On another occasion I visited the Georgia T – I met a number of crew who were Believers. Rolly Flores was an O/S on watch who had previously pastored a small Baptist Church in the Philippines. But he had to return back to sea to provide for his family. He told me that the Captain Reynaldo Akino was a Christian too, and led many studies on board. When I met him we had some good conversation and prayer together, he was going home in a couple of days. The Captain said that he was keen to get some resources for his study and for his wife too who was a Rev. back home. When they visited us at home and he explained this to Dot she thought he said she was a Rebel. This was a great source of amusement for everyone.

Rolly, and Captain Reynaldo; C/ Eng. Juan

 I was able to return with a number of Bible Commentaries and other Christian resources that I had. Captain Reynaldo was overjoyed to receive these, they were somewhat heavy, but he sacrificed other things in his suitcase so that he could get them home, deeming them more important.

I am grateful to God for the opportunities that continue to come our way as we reach out to the men of the sea.

Just before Easter the Tanker Thun Gothenburg visited us which is in quite regularly. I spent a bit of time with one of the A/B’s Roland he was keen to have a Bible and Jesus DVD. So I took him to my car where I was sure that I had both waiting, the Jetty man came too as he had to let us out of the Berth. As he came over to the car he saw the Gideon NT’s I had which do look like a diary from the back, so he enquired if they were and could he have one? When I explained what they were and showed him his response changed somewhat as I offered him one. He said that he had read it, as he walked away but added ‘anyway he dies in the end doesn’t he? – to which I replied ‘yes but three days later he rose from the dead.’  Just a simple witness but hopefully one that may cause a conversation if I have chance to meet him again on my travels.

Crew from the Anima

 We are always grateful to the individuals and Church groups that continue to knit woolly hats and chest warmers for us. They are always greatly appreciated by the crew that receive them as the picture below illustrates – thank you.

Next month God Willing we will visit our dear friends the Sanchez family on the vessel that they are serving on the Hospital ship M.V. Africa Mercy. The ship is due into dry dock in Las Palmas shortly – we hope to catch them soon after she come out of dry dock and is back on the water alongside. We hope to spend about 10 days with them on the ship as they are due some vacation time.

Report for March-April 2017 – Port of Liverpool

“ …. 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.

Chief (Red) and Captain on the Baltic Hornet

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.

Walter and Jonas at home.

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 Mess Man

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.

A/B Grevi on the Susanne Theresa

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 !

Report for Jan – Feb 2017 Port of Liverpool

“….the God who has been my Shepherd all my life to this day…”

Gen 48:15

This verse spoken by Israel (Jacob) to bless Joseph and his two sons which were brought to him is especially dear to me. In previous weeks before the New Year I had been reading the latter part of Genesis reading this account. Late December early January I had been thinking about the Ministry for the coming Year. I guess it was on my mind about how it would work out in another New Year. I was troubled and perplexed in my mind and was restless in sleep about many things. And as these anxieties played out in my thoughts I lay there half awake/sleep one morning when this verse jumped right in to my mind from seemingly out of nowhere. It had been several weeks since I had read it, and was a powerful encounter which at once shook me, and yet left me profoundly humbled. My Heavenly Father seemed to be reminding me through his Holy Spirit that he too had been my Shepherd all my life and would be so in 2017 and beyond.

Thank You Lord.

I continued the distribution of Christmas gifts throughout the month of December and was able to give out 671 parcels. Once again I would like to thank all who contributed to the undertaking of this work in its various ways.

Interestingly not all crew are that happy to receive gifts, the Captain on one vessel was very negative with regard to my offer. 20161214_104219I decided I would leave them for the crew anyway. As I was leaving to retrieve them from my car the Ghanaian Fitter Ernest  came to me and apologised on behalf of the Captain. I was able to give him a yearly devotional reading which he was happy to receive.  

Some of you may have seen the film Captain Phillips, about a Container ship captured by Pirates. While taking Christmas gifts on another vessel I got into conversation with the Electrician Nneil.

Nneil told me about his experience of being held hostage for 8mths in Somalia in 2015 and how his faith sustained both him and his crew mates, as he encouraged them through the most difficult of circumstances.20161219_115552 While a wonderful story the effects of that situation still leave emotional and psychological scars for Nneil who is always concerned where his next destination will be. Please pray that God will heal him of these scars.

It was also good to visit the Cruise ship Boudicca 20161215_122224and meet our dear friend and sister in Christ Durga. 

On another vessel  – I met Lloyd the Boson who has only just arrived on board. He told me because of his rush to join the ship that he did not bring the appropriate clothes for Winter. The man he relieved was perhaps supposed to leave some waterproof Hi viz. clothes which he had not – Lloyd asked if I was able to provide for him. He had prayed that someone would come and meet a need, how could I not answer his prayer?- I returned later with a Hi Viz Jacket, Shoes and socks as well as a jumper, hat and gloves – all second hand but greatly appreciated. How could I hand out the scriptures, and also not meet the material need when asked?

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Marco & Jeyson

I had a particularly good visit on a vessel where I met Jeyson the 3rd Mate and Marco the Cook it was good to help and encourage Jeyson who is only a young believer. As we chatted we were joined by Marco who had made a wonderful lunch for us.

He began to ask questions about what we believed, this of course opened the door to share the gospel with him. But in truth Marco had heard it on many occasions as he related how another seafarer had shared the scriptures with him on a number of occasions. We spent about an hour talking about these matters it was a great opportunity. I hope to send some resources out to Jeyson when he goes home as he lives in an isolated area of the Philippines with no evangelical witness or Church.

On another vessel I had a good welcome from the crew had a really good conversation with Ar-jay the Messman (below)  and was able to give him a Bible with resources.20170113_104526It was good to explain the importance of reading it on a daily basis and give him a reading plan, and tell him the importance of praying before opening up the word of God. My prayer is that as he opens up the Word of God that he will encounter the Lord Jesus on a very personal level.

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Joel & Sherwyn

Sherwyn was the wheelman on his ship and he was going home with his crewmate Joel. He was 25 but looked a lot younger, he was bright and articulate in his conversation. He came from Cebu and graduated from the Maritime school there – we had visited this place in 2014.

We had some great conversation on spiritual matters he was R/C but was very open to what faith in Christ is about. He asked me to pray with for him and we shared the Word of God – I shared the story of Samuel with him and encouraged him to be like a young Samuel –… ‘speak Lord for your servant heareth’… ! Because he did read his Bible regularly.Joel came and joined us and I prayed for both of them for their journey and their family back home.

I later found out he was good friends with another seafarer who had visited our house group a couple of years ago.  Small World !

These have been some of the encouragements at the start of the New Year. Please continue to pray for us for wisdom and strength as we continue in this Ministry.

 

Report for November – December 2016 Port of Liverpool

“When the fullness of time was come,God sent forth his son….” Gal Ch 4:4

Another year draws to a close, and once again all too soon Christmas will be here. Once again it is good to focus and remember what this Christmas season is really all about. The coming of the Son of God into the world, as the scripture above reminds us. At the right time God sent his son into the world and we are thankful for that. We are thankful for the hope that we find in him as we seek to follow and serve him in all our ways. Over the year the Lord has been gracious and kind to us and provided all that we have needed. That is not to say that it has been without both sickness and sadness too. But God is faithful!

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When we first arrived in Australia

As many of you know Dot suffered a heart attack and has made good progress. She was fit enough for us to visit Australia to see family and that was good. Sadly, while we were away we had news that Dot’s younger sister passed away, this was a great shock to us all. We were thankful to be able to arrive home in time for the funeral, but Jean will be greatly missed by all especially Dot who was very close to her. 

Since our arrival back we have been collecting items for Seafarer parcels. And I have to say that since the appeal in our last prayer/ newsletter the response has been fantastic. We reckon over 17 fellowships and Churches have contributed to this endeavour. As well as this, many individuals have also contributed both items and finance. So on the last weekend of November a number of folk gathered at our Church to help in the Christmas wrap which is always a great time of friendship and fellowship. We have since added more parcels and now have approximately 650 gifts to distribute – thanks to everyone.

Helpers at our Christmas Wrap

Helpers at our Christmas Wrap

Already I have visited a number of ships and given out parcels to seafarers. These have been gratefully received as always. And afford opportunity to show kindness too many who are far away from home at Christmas time.  It also enables me to focus on why we give gifts and to bring it back to what I said at the beginning of this newsletter. That God sent his son at just the right time. Below are some pictures of men I met so far:

 

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20161206_110145Sometimes we get responses back from these men and one such response was from the 2nd Mate Gabriel on the MT Tequila (last Picture) not soon after I was on board. We don’t ask for a response but it is good to know that an act of kindness can make a difference for good. 

 

Gabriel on the MT Tequila

Gabriel on the MT Tequila

….“Once again thank you for the early Christmas gift, the crew was very happy and excited receiving their gift packs and I can see the happiness in their faces while I am distributing and handing it to them. This is my first experience handing gifts to the crew it was rewarding and fulfilling just to see the unpretentious smile pure and real wow, I am amazed what a simple token of kindness can change our robotic atmosphere on board.”…

During November I made several contacts – on the Sbi Tango I met 3rd Mate Ruje Agustino.

Ruje on the Sbi Tango

Ruje on the Sbi Tango

Ruje is a believer and it was good to spend some time with him and encourage him in his faith. He had also met Colin Jenkins previously in Cork.    

I also had a good time on the Global Genesis where I found a very warm and open response to my visit.

Engine crew on the Global Genesis

Engine crew on the Global Genesis

One of the engine crew took me into the engine room to visit the 2nd Engineer who he told me was a Christian – there was several crew down there and I had a small opportunity to share something of the hope of the gospel with them and leave them some scriptures in Burmese.

 

Can we  wish all our friends and prayer supporters a very Happy Christmas and peaceful New Year for 2017.

Report for September-October 2016 – Port of Liverpool UK

“ 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.Ramon Nina and 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.  

Jun wang

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. 

Junrey

Junrey

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.

Crew at Church

Crew at Church

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.

Crew at Starbucks with Dot

Crew at Starbucks with Dot

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 !

Nico at Church

Nico at Church

Report for July – August 2016 – Port of Liverpool UK

“ Teach us to number our days aright that we may gain a heart of Wisdom” Psalm 90 :12 

Derek Tidball in his book ‘Signposts’ says of Psalm 90 that “No psalm contrasts the greatness of God and the fragility of humans so effectively.” Another commentator says “Only Isaiah 40 can compare with this psalm for its presentation of God’s grandeur and eternity over against the frailty of man”

And of course that is a wonderful thought God’s grandeur and eternity – and our place in it. On a ship I visited recently I saw this picture.20160704_095402

That’s a very challenging question – and one that each of us should consider in the light of our human frailty. It is part of a question that we as Chaplains look to answer when we encounter the men of the sea. For we believe that the answer to that question is given to us in God’s Word the Bible. And the security and satisfaction of answering that question is found in Jesus Christ, and in the salvation he alone can provide.

Dot’s Heart Attack

This Psalm hit home to me as well when in the middle of July my wife Dot suffered a massive Heart attack. Forgive me if I am repeating what so many already know, but there is a quite number who do not know until they read this letter. She is recovering well but there will be a long rehabilitation. Prayers and support has been overwhelming and we are so grateful to family and friends who have blessed us in so many ways Thank You. Indeed as we number our days we do pray for a heart of wisdom as we consider the way ahead.   

Prior to this I had been visiting the ships on a regular basis and once again there had been some good encounters with the men that I had met.

When visiting the Pantazis L with Filipino and one Indonesian crew I had a had a very warm welcome from these men. Here I had the opportunity to meet two Christians Danny the C/Engineer and Bert (Fitter) who is Indonesian. Danny has strong links with SCFS in the Philippines so it was really great to meet these guys.

Danny & Bert

Danny & Bert

The following Sunday I was able to get them to Church along with another crew member. And then the following Wednesday they attended along with two other crew our Church small group. They all seemed to enjoy the time together and it was good to encourage and bless these men. (See Below)

Crew at small group

Crew at small group

It is always good to catch up with friends who we know and have been in our house.

Carmelo on the Blue Note

Carmelo on the Blue Note

So when I visited the Blue Note who was there but my good friend and Cook Carmel Espirito. He was pleased to see me and we had a good time speaking with one another.

The crew on the Tatjana were very friendly and I had some good times with these men, I promised to return with a yearly devotional for the oiler Rommel

Crew from the Tatjana (Rommel 2nd Left)

Crew from the Tatjana (Rommel 2nd Left)

I returned back to the Tatjana with the yearly devotional that I had promised Rommel. But remembered a crew member called Eshetu from Ethiopia, so I took a Bible for him in Amharic in his own language which was well received. Also Anecio the Engine cadet took a yearly devotional from me as well at the same time.

There is always opportunity to share a testimony as the conversation allows. When I was on the Hedvig Bulker crew were coming and going –  some for a cup of Coffee in the mess. Con’t

The Boson stopped to chat and we had some conversation which turned to think about what it was to be a believer in the Lord Jesus. And it also afforded me the chance to share my testimony on  how I had come to put my trust in the Lord Jesus.

Often when you visit a ship several times as allowed you can begin to get a good understanding of the crew. On the Nba Monet several of the crew were leaving with a crew exchange. Also the Captain Donald Danao, came into the mess and wanted to know why his internet allowance on his smart phone had expired so quickly. I helped him check his balance and offered some explanations.

Captain Donald on the Nba Monet

Captain Donald on the Nba Monet

He offered me lunch so I accepted his invitation – from this he took several pieces of literature and a yearly devotional. The next day I visited  the ship again as I had a bag to give to the Captain that had been left at the Seaman’s Centre. This gave me opportunity to have more conversation with the Captain who I learned had met Ian Dennis several years ago in Melbourne as a Third Mate. Here he had been challenged with the tenants of the Christian faith as opposed to tradition and religion, we had some good conversation and he is certainly thinking about what the Christian faith really is. As I left the ship I found out that 3rd Mate on watch was Chinese – so I gave him a Chinese/ English NT as I left.

When I returned the next day I was greatly encouraged to find him engrossed reading it while on watch. I stood there for a couple of minutes just watching him, he was oblivious to my presence. I had returned to give the  Captain a study in Mark’s gospel. We continue to pray that as men receive  and read the Word of God that it will be as good seed planted in their lives.    

Report for May – June 2016 – Port of Liverpool UK

“…. Because the gracious hand of my God was upon me…” Neh Ch 2:8       

Nehemiah is one of the most outstanding leaders found in the whole of the Bible. It has been said that in every generation God equips trusted servants for effective leadership. And surely Nehemiah comes within that description. At a time when there was no King, Priest (save Ezra) or Prophet in Jerusalem of significance.

Nehemiah is a visible reminder to those in authority at the time. That though he held neither of these offices he was a living embodiment, witness and testimony to them all. He shows nobility of Character, undertaking like many Kings great building projects, advocating spiritual renewal and dedication to God. At the same time he is outspoken and confrontational to Israel’s nobles and leaders – reflecting the role of Priest and Prophet. Truly God finds his servants in surprising places, often in the everyday circumstances of life. And from there takes them to fulfil his plans and purposes  – Nehemiah summarises that as being the ‘gracious hand of his God’ being upon him. May we count like Nehemiah the blessings in our lives as the gracious hand of our God.

I reflected on this as we met one of our dearest friends and sister in Christ  Durga. We have known Durga many years and she came into Liverpool on the Bank Holiday Monday on the Cruise ship Boudicca. Because of her position she is able to get us access onto the vessel to meet her.

Durga Dot May 16'

Dot & Durga

Amongst other things she told us the story of how she became a seafarer, and it seemed to reflect the providence of God in her life – even coming from a Hindu background in Nepal. It showed the story that God had used many Christian Chaplains around the world which had an impact on her life for good. Men and women from the US, Ireland, and the UK – and even her crew mates too. But also how that through the circumstances of family, she found herself working for Fred Olsen Cruise Line. Without which she would not have met many of us. We all Praise and thank God that she finally made that decision to commit her life to Jesus many years ago. And that she was baptised in N Ireland by our friends there. Since then we have all sought to encourage and bless her in her faith and will continue to do so.

I guess we can say that it was because the ‘gracious hand of our God was on her life’ that she is now wonderfully part of God’s family and that she will always be part of our prayers and lives.    

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John Anthony Francis and Jonas

At the beginning of the month on the M.V. Golf I met John Mark Ma-aon who was the 2nd Mate and is a believer he told me how that the C/ Officer Anthony had met with a friend of his when they were in London and had come to faith. In the evening I picked them up and we did a little sightseeing in the city.

2016-05-02 20.51.33Later John, Anthony, Francis and Jonas came back home and we had a good evening of friendship and hospitality. It was good to give the resources to encourage them in their faith.

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Evans & Yasher

On the M V Oslo I met Evans Moses an O/S from Ghana it was his first trip, we had some good conversation I found out he was a believer. I found out that he did not have a Bible with him. So I shared the importance of reading the Word of God, his Grandmother was a great spiritual influence on his life. As I left him the Bible his Ukrainian friend Yasher also  wanted a Bible from me too. I encouraged Evans to spend some time with his crew mate with the Word of God.

 Visiting a vessel one day I had a good welcome from the C/Officer Jay and also met his cousin Marvin who was also another C/officer. Marvin is a believer but I only met him briefly, I had some good conversation with Jay, who spoke about good works in the Christian faith which of themselves are fine. But with regard to recieving Eternal Life have no effect or value, and I explained that to him. While he accepted this I suspected he did not fully grasp the importance of trusting in Christ alone for Salvation. He was pleased for his cousin but considered it just a change of religion and not a change of lifestyle.

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Alex & Crew Mate

It is not too often that we get a ship visiting from Bulgaria, but when the MV Kom came in I was afforded a good welcome. Here I met Alexander a young O/S who was very personable and we got on well. We talked about may things and when I finally introduced the Word of God to him, he told me he was a Christian and had been since birth! When I probed a bit deeper it seems his Grandmother had taught him the scriptures from an early age. He told me of a time when he first joined the ship and he had prayed that someone may come and help and encourage him. The next day a man came from the local Mission and was able to pray with him and encourage him. This was a blessing to him, I said that I would return with a Bulgarian Bible and also some devotional material. This I did about two days later, he was very pleased to receive it, and thanked me for my concern for his welfare.

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GIno

The Ben Maye was on standby waiting for another vessel to finish discharging. So it probably was a good time to visit and I got a good welcome. I left a number of resources for them, the C/Engineer (Gino) from Cape Verde who was on placement from another vessel, he spoke about a booklet I left with him ‘Away from Home’. He said how relevant it was to life at sea. I had a good conversation with him and had opportunity to share the Word of God and the hope that is found in the Lord Jesus. I pray that God’s Word would be as seed sown in their lives.

 

Report for March – April 16′ – Port of Liverpool

“ For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do ” Eph Ch 2;10 

The book of Ephesians which we are currently looking at in our morning devotions provides a majestic view of several Christian themes. Ranging from our lost condition ‘dead in trespasses and sins’ to our reconciliation through the grace and mercy of God. To the gift of every spiritual blessing in Christ Jesus, which he has won for each of us who confess his name. We have the wonderful paradox of being saved by Grace not by any form of works. Yet at the same time, this wonderful miracle and power of the Grace of God working in us produces ‘a work of art’ (workmanship) in us that yields good works for us to do. Not only this but he ordained it, planned and purposed it, before we were formed. How great is the love and mercy of God to us guilty lost sinners. Thank you Lord.

Ship visiting provides hope and encouragement in what is generally indifference and a hard slog on a good number of vessels. And I always find it encouraging when I am reacquainted with people who we met several years ago. Sometimes these people contact me again because of difficulties in their lives.

One such person was Anto who was back home and having problems with his parents due to his lifestyle and current friends who were perhaps not the best help in his life at the moment. He seemed thoroughly miserable and depressed, and sought advice about how he should deal with this.

And of course once he opened up about this, other situations arose for him as well. I offered advice and counsel and promised to pray for his ongoing situation. He is now back at sea which gets him out of the immediate situation. I continue to keep in touch through social media, and pray for him.

Visiting the Avax I received a good welcome, in the course of my conversation with some of the crew I met Ayson the 2nd Mate. He was in Liverpool back in 1997 and had corresponded with my predecessor Stan he asked me if I knew him.20160207_123603 As we spoke about this it was clear that he was a believer so I spent most of the morning with him and stayed by invitation for Lunch. It is always good to encourage believers, as they can be influential to other crew. So it was great that Ayson (Center) was able to come to Church and bring two of his crew mates with him.

On the Ultra Tolhuaca the crew were Chinese I was taken to the Captain who was very hospitable and welcomed me warmly  – we talked generally. I left some scriptures with him and explained that I was a Christian – by then the C/Engineer had joined us his name was Charlie (below) which seemed strange for a Chinese man!

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When he saw the literature he asked if I had a Bible in English. He then asked if I could provide some more as it would distribute them among the crew, so I gave him four more Gideon Bibles I suspected that it was to help some of the crew with their English. But he was a very personable, and I was encouraged that here was the Word of God being read by this crew.

I visited a Russian / Ukrainian vessel the Zina it had been in some days and I had not got round to visiting her. Usually when they have been in a while, they have become familiar with the locality and the various Missions. So to visit again can lead to indifference, and difficulty getting on board. So I was greatly encouraged when the C/ Officer Ivan invited me on board and inside. When he saw bring me out various scriptures he told me that the C/ Engineer wanted a Bible. Did I have one?20160307_114435

I also found out that previously he had been in Dublin and had met Jae from SCFS. When the C/Engineer arrived he spoke only Basic English but was pleased to get his Bible. When the C/Mate saw that I more than one Bible he too asked for a copy so it was good to be able to give him one too.

On the Nordrhone there was a multi-national crew and I had a really good welcome. The crew were busy but I got into great conversation with the Steward Teemai Riinga (Below) from Kiribati who asked me what I believed?

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It was a good opportunity to share the Good News, and I spent some time explaining the gospel to him and the implications of following Jesus. I left him some further resources for him to study and to consider also.

Ongoing Work

Over the past couple of months we have been looking at the means of communicating the core work that we do to others for their consideration. To that end we have produced a DVD on the work – which gives a brief synopsis of the work in Liverpool. (7 Minutes) If you have access to the internet then you can view this on your Mobile or Desktop/laptop/Tablet on UTube under ‘Maritime Christian Ministries’ 

If after watching it you would like to know more about the Ministry then you can contact me from the details at the top of the Newsletter. Let us know what you think. (But please do not repost link on Social media without contacting myself first – Thanks)

 

Report for Jan – Feb 16′ – Port of Liverpool

“ Whatever you have commanded us we will do, and wherever you send us we will go” 

Joshua Ch 1: 16  

This was the response of several of the tribes of Israel to Joshua when he reminded them of their responsibility to the rest of Israel. The fighting men were to cross the Jordan River ahead of their brothers and help them to take possession of the land. It seems a good maxim for us also to do, and to go where God would have us be. As we enter another New Year, again we sense the conviction to carry on in the work that God has laid on our hearts to continue. And we look as always to God to lead and guide us on in this Ministry. Again, we are ever grateful to those who partner with us in Prayer and in practical provision of resources and finance to keep the work sustained.  Thank You

The Work

As it turned out by the end of December I had distributed 444 Christmas parcels, and from that had some good opportunities. It was good to get several emails from ship’s Captain, saying how appreciative and relevant the gifts were to meeting the needs of the crew. And it is always good to know that you have met specific needs of crew who ask for it. One ship in particular the crew was in need, the Nord Melbourne had been in earlier in the year so it was good to re-visit, but all was not what it seemed. One of the Oilers Elmer was quite ill, and looked really miserable but had not been sent to the hospital. Also many of the crew asked did I have any warm clothing as they were cold. The consequence of all this was that we took some sponsorship money that I had received for Christmas parcels and went out and bought fleeces and some tee shirts for all the men.

The crew were very happy to receive these, I also went to see the Captain on behalf of Elmer (below) to see if I could take him to hospital. But the Captain informed me that they were waiting for a response from the company and that they were looking to send him home – it was frustrating as I sensed he needed to go to hospital/doctors straight away and I knew that intervention was required – so ITF became involved. A day or so later It was good to go back to the Nord Melbourne and see that a lot of the issues that they had faced had been resolved.

Elmer Nord MelbourneIt was also good to see Elmer who had received some medical attention and was to go home the next day – he looked so much better. He was really pleased to see me and thanked me for my intervention and support in getting ITF involved in the ships situation.

I was able to distribute gifts to may ships (below) and from that many good conversations took place. I was able to leave many scriptures and Bibles and further opportunities to share the gospel arose also.

Go Pegasus Peter & Argi

Lorban

It was especially good to have quite a long conversation with Lorban and Chris (left) From this I was able to share the gospel with them. Later I was to return with Bibles and some further resources for them both it was a great opportunity.

On the Blue Tune I met Marek the Polish C/EngMarek who was a devout R/C but had a love to talk about the Lord. He was caught up in a lot of dogma and religion and tradition although he had a very affable personality, we had some good conversation. I sought to explain my testimony and the final authority of Holy Scripture over Church tradition.

The ship was sailing to Cork so I passed on his details to Colin Jenkins SCFS Chaplain there. He followed Marek up and had some good conversation with him too. Subsequent to this I had further conversations with him on Social media. Here again I reminded him about making a decision to follow the Lord Jesus, and give his life to him over Church dogma and tradition. While he affirmed this I saw no evidence that this is what he did.

Early in January I heard from the sister of a seafarer who had gone missing last June feared lost over board in Argentina. I had sought to support the family by contacting the company to ask for information as to what was being done to locate their brother. This seafarer’s sister had heard that a body had been found but Authorities could not identify it. She asked for help in that did I know of any Pastors in Argentina that could help if they went to identify the body. Unfortunately I did not know of any Pastors in that locality, and as always with these things it turns out more complicated than first thought. I then spent very early morning emailing various authorities if they could update us on this. This conversation carried on throughout the day – At the same time I was also dealing with another seafarer who was asking for help with his family back home and again we had to make some difficult decisions in what we could and should do, this too carried on for most of the day as well. These things take a lot of time and energy and in truth I don’t always know what is the wise thing to do – so I pray, and then do the very best that I can. We still wait for an outcome from this; please pray that the family might get some closure in this situation.

 

Report for Nov-Dec 15′ Port of Liverpool

 

“They are a fragrant offering an acceptable sacrifice, pleasing to God” Phil Ch 4:18 

The summer has ended and autumn has come and now gone, winter is here and soon Christmas will be upon us. As is our annual event we have looked to provide items for the Seafarers Christmas parcels. And this year we have started from nothing as it were, as we made our appeal to our wonderful supporters. And we have not been disappointed as Churches and people and others have been so wonderfully generous. (Helpers wrapping the Christmas gifts)2015-11-28 11.34.16 HDR

I was reminded of the apostle who could say to the Philippian Church how they had provided that acceptable gift time and time again. So you too have been unstinting in your generosity and we have received time and time again. Thank you so much to each and every one of you for this year’s contributions.

Even one of my Church buddies John Ashcroft (Below Right) who will be involved in this year’s Liverpool Santa Dash. Offered his sponsorship to contribute to the Seafarers parcels in support of MCM.

John Santa Dash

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And so I have already begun to distribute the gifts amongst the seafarers. The crew on the Amyntor (left) cheered loudly when I walked into the mess room with all the gifts and Calendars. Again there was a reminder to them when they had quietened down. That while these gifts had come with our love and prayers. It was a reminder of the fact that God had sent his inexpressible gift to each one of us. I told them again that one of the most important verses was John 3:16 and that God has sent his Son for them and that was why he came at Christmas.

So it will be a busy month climbing the gangways and taking the Christmas gifts for the seafarers. Please pray for safety as I board the vessels and for good opportunities to explain why I do this.

The previous month or so as provided various opportunities with various crew. On one ship the Halki the Border Force where on doing their routine inspections. So I was pleased to get permission to come on board and I ended up in the duty mess, I did not think that I may see many crews but quite a few came through.Lito on the Halki

The Mess man Lito (Right in Picture) was friendly enough and his cabin was just outside the door to the duty mess, in the course of morning – customs inspected his cabin and found a bottle of whiskey and cigarettes in a part of the ceiling in his cabin.

His reaction was one of utter horror and dismay knowing that he could be sent home and lose his contract – it was clear that he was innocent and that these items had been there prior to his embarkation (Customs told us this). But he was still visibly upset and crying, it made me realise how important this work is to them in providing for their families back home

On the Fortunagracht I had some good conversation with the 3rd Mate Ralp (Right in Picture) This was his first stint as 3rd Mate he was only a young guy who was clearly feeling the weight of responsibility on the ship. Fortunagracht He told me he prayed every day and from this I shared something of trusting God and reading his Word – I shared with Ps 107 : 23-35. He was impressed with this scripture and wrote it down to consider later.

 

When I visited the Arklow Rose I had a good welcome and got into conversation With Aldrin (below right) who I found out attended a Mormon Church. Aldrin on the Arklow RoseWe chatted and I shared several scriptures about testing what we receive and what is truth and sound doctrine and faith. He seemed to know what the Gospel was and I explained that this cannot be added too, he listened and I pray he took some of these things on board.

I was contacted by my friend and fellow ship visitor Paul Ratsoy from Vancouver telling me about a vessel that was to visit us here in Liverpool the Elsa Oldendorff. Paul told me that there were several Maldivian crew on board. Paul has a heart for the Maldivian seafarer and he asked me to visit.20151118_110737 As it was there were two Maldivian crew (left Picture on board and I was able to give them some scriptures in their own language Divehi.  

I also met a Fernando who was the Motorman on board and he asked me for a Sinhalese Bible, I was unsure if I had one but was pleased to find that I did. I also left him a number of scripture resources too.

It was really encouraging that when I visited a small vessel the Luhnau with some Russian crew on board the Chief Engineer Leonid asked me specifically for a Russian Bible.  He  was a man of few words but it was good to be able to do this for him I also gave him a Russian copy of ‘What the Bible teaches’ too,  as well a Russian DVD.

Another year draws to a close and 2016 is just around the corner and we are uncertain humanely speaking what it will bring. But we know our God hold our lives in his hand and it is our intention to continue and carry on the work God has laid on our hearts to undertake. He has been faithful in all his provision for us over the last 12 years and we look to him for 2016. We are grateful for all the prayerful and practical support that is undertaken on our behalf. We have our regular Prayer meeting for the work the 1st Monday of every month 2pm at Old Roan Baptist. Several folk join with us to pray, everyone is welcome.

At the moment I have taking bookings for deputation and Ministry for 2016. If you would like to hear more about the work then please contact me (details above). I would love to come and share with you the work and Ministry of MCM.

Our intention is to have a couple of ‘road shows’ in the New Year to introduce the work to new Churches and fellowships that may be interested in this Ministry. Details will follow in the New Year. In the meantime please pray for both the Chairman and Committee members of MCM as they look to promote this work ‘abroad’.

Thanks for all your support and prayers.