40 Years on the Sea
Operation Mobilization has been running ships for 40 years. Logos, Doulos, Logos II, and now Logos Hope, are names impressed in the minds many people across the world, some as volunteers who have worked on the ships, millions who have visited the book fairs held on board, and others whose lives have been touched by the “on shore ministry”. A few years ago Emily Fennell went from Carley to be one of the volunteer crew members.
The Christian volunteers are usually in their late teens and 20s and do not just grow in their faith but flourish. The experiences they gained during the two years outreach training programme lay a ministry foundation for life.
2l year-old Hanna Tamang from Nepal offers such an example and she shares her story:
‘"l can't swim" That was my reaction when I first considered joining OM's ship ministry. Growing up in landlocked Nepal I never imagined myself living on the sea. But the crewmembers' testimonies on the OM Ships' website really touched me and I thought, "l want my story to be there one day. "Besides learning to swim to meet the safety requirements, my biggest challenge in joining the crew was raising money for my living expenses, OM Nepal gave me some advice and God provided finances through my church. Soon afterwards, I was ocean-bound. At that time, I only knew about life in Nepal and a little of India. Just being at an airport to fly to the ship was exciting.
My first assignment on board was to work in housekeeping' which really taught me humility. My new hobby became singing praise songs while cleaning toilets. Now I work at the reception desk. When I talk to people on the phone or welcome visitors on board, it is their first glimpse of what makes this ship special. l try to give a positive impression as Jesus would and most people are really happy that someone cares. Among my ministry highlights is the time I spent with a local family when the ship visited the Caribbean island of Dominica. They were interested and totally surprised by life on board and the crew's commitment to God. They thought of Christianity as something that people do on a Sunday and that's it. They were fascinated to learn why we left home to live on a ship and I am still in touch with them today.
When I was in Nepal, I never thought about the situation in my own country. Coming to this different environment has given me a desire for ministry at home, Nepal has so many needs. l want to attend Bible school and work with OM Nepal taking the Gospel into villages and do something with what l've learned on board. From now on, I want everything I do to be for the Kingdom of God even if it's as crazy as living on a ship!’
OM's ships have visited over 500 different ports, more than 160 countries and territories, and welcomed over 40 million visitors on board.
Logos Hope is currently in Colombo having had a repaint in dry dock and is due to sail to India and Thailand in May. Work has also been progressing to change the fuel the ship uses to heavy fuel oil which will save $1000 a day in running costs.
Pray for the safety of the ships and the crew members, and pray for the ministry of the ships.
Also watch “ship shots” link from www.omships.org, it brings the ship life alive!