NEWSLETTER SUMMER-EDITION 2017 Nr. 149
From the desk.
Sometimes people ask us what the letters SCFS behind the name Het Havenlicht, stand for. In the year 1991 Het Havenlicht Port mission became associated in a sound way with the English sister organisation Seaman’s Christian Friends Society. Since then we bear the name Havenlicht/SCFS but still carry within this bond our own structure and responsibility. We would very much like to tell about this fine work among sailors of so many nationalities in your church or fellowship. We would appreciate it when you would contact us about this matter.
In the winter edition of our Newsletter I informed you about the health situation of Anneke. For some years now she is severely troubled with rheumatic pains and the malfunctioning of her thyroid gland. Last January another problem arose, namely trouble affecting her equilibrium. The latter now makes it impossible for Anneke to climb the steps of the high gangways in order to get on the ships. She often feels very dizzy like as if she is seasick. Never the less, we tried to call on some ships to visit the crews but it proved to be too dangerous. I can’t undertake this work on my own for it means leaving Anneke by herself for half a day. She might get in trouble again. We experience this work among sailors as a work of God that He has called us to do and over the last 11 years have seen this being blessed and being confirmed in the effects it has had. This port mission work has captivated our hearts. So many possibilities are open to us in this area. However, due to the present ill health of Anneke we have temporally put a stop to ship visitation. We do not understand what the reason to all this is. The fields are “white unto harvest” but one of the workers is suffering from an illness with the above mentioned consequences. Certainly a reason to ask for your prayers, pleading with the Lord of the harvest. We are so willing to go!
With friendly greetings and may God bless you in the bonds of Christ our Saviour.
Jan & Anneke Best.
Between the waves
Offshore North Sea Campaign – 2017.
The ship has its full crew again with sub-contractors, many coming from the UK and the USA. The first meeting with believers from Malaysia and the Philippines was quite successful with men praying for the whole crew. Time will tell. On deck, behind a container I spotted the soles of two shoes. “Are you praying? “Oh, I often pray”. In this way I made contact with the Americans. They knew there was a church fellowship on board. Knowing this comforts people. God is present here. “Jesus gave his life for you so that whosoever believes in Him will not perish but have everlasting life.”
Inside the coffee accommodation. It is full of British scaffolding workers. The Word was presented and nobody could deny its meaning. Be invited! The next day on a cold morning on the rusty remnants of what once was England’s greatest Oil platform, a lively face showed up between the collar of a raincoat, revealing a helmet and safety glasses: ” I visited the tomb where Jesus was”. Now. Five years later, the light starts shining for him again, a passion for the living God. Overjoyed with a Bible he could hardly wait for the next meeting to give his testimony to the startled scaffolding workers. God prepares hearts. Telling about Christ’s finished work on the cross touched other people as well. A Scottish hydro-blaster at first couldn’t bear to hear the word of God at all. Nor the fact that I, being an engineer, could be a believer. But in the end he went ashore with a smile, having heard the name of the Saviour again. Another person from Britain had barriers within himself that held him back from church. I felt the urge to simply say to him : “are you sitting inside these barriers or outside”. That struck home. Finally, at the end, I heard from one of his colleagues that his life had changed.
On face book appeared messages from colleagues. It proved there was a prayer meeting on of the two other ships ( see the photo made in the ship’s lounge). This is the ship where my adventure started. Many Bibles were distributed and teaching material from GRN ( 5 fish) and films via smart phones and other means. Often a demand comes to us from a pastor at Sarawak ( via crewmembers) for English Bible material. Herein I can help him by taking some from the ships stock of gospel material. Time has gone by in the meantime. We work for 5 weeks and then go home for 5 weeks. We now have a big group when we are on our tour of duty. A group that gives the Word a warm place in their hearts. Having read Martin Otto’s book about port mission work, I now frankly dare to call the meeting we have here a church. One must be frank in this otherwise it only hinders one’s view. It is true that nobody before actually cared for or felt any responsibility on board as to being a proper member of the body of Christ.
With hearty greetings,
Since December 2016 I visit ships on a regular basis, working under the auspices of Het Havenlicht in the port of Amsterdam. Also, since writing a report in the last Bulletin, I have become even more enthusiastic and am beginning to see the necessity of this work. In spite of all our technical progress and rules to bar out the risks, the profession of seaman still holds the record of being one of the ten most dangerous jobs in the world. And remarkable also is the fact that suicide is the No.1 cause of death among seafarers. Not by drowning or other industrial hazards. This shows that spiritual stress or need aboard ships is very evident. I experience it so often that a crewmember in an almost exaggerated way reacts to my arrival aboard. So happy are they for the fact that someone has taken the trouble to come to look for them. Oftentimes I feel like a tourist when they give me a guided tour on the bridge, including an extensive explanation about the different types of compasses they have. Seamen from Asia also like to have their picture taken with me because I am rather big. Port mission work, as a mission, has become a near to forgotten area of service. Of course, it is one of the oldest forms of mission work, and in maritime circles it is generally well recognised but to the many people I mix with, it is still an unknown form of mission work . To some at the same time it is an eye-opener: mission work at one’s doorstep is very well possible. Many sailors are coming from what we call the 10/40 window. This is an area where still many people have no knowledge of the gospel. Especially in these regions are many conflicts where it is impossible or hardly possible to do mission work.
In this region are many countries which score high on the list of Open Doors, ( a mission) where Christians are persecuted and missionaries are not welcome. Just by the means of port mission people coming from these countries can be reached with the Gospel. Only just recently I experienced this myself. After that a Bulgarian Officer had shown me, without any misunderstanding about it, that he had no need for my visit, I felt very insecure and uncomfortable. The crew on this ship counted different 12 nationalities with 5 different religions .To maintain peace and quiet aboard his ship, “vendors of religion” were not welcome. Sometimes you have great chances, other times none. Seen from the perspective of this Officer, I could somehow share his point of view. Still, a conversation with him got started and we talked some about his church. Just on the point of leaving his ship, a dark person with a huge crop of hair comes walking towards me. “Hello sir, how are you, who are you?” we start talking and it proves that this man comes from a country closed to all missions and I could give him a St Luke gospel in his own language. It was also his lucky day for I could help him to some good clothing for apparently he wasn’t dressed up for the ship’s next destination: Russia. With this gift the deed and the Word came together! The ship’s visit started in a bad way but luckily ended well. I hope to meet this man again one of these days. My brother in law, he is from Paraguay, is curious as to what port mission actually is and decided to come with me to the ports. That day we had very good weather and it is good to have company, for normally I am on my own. A setback is that my brother in law can’t speak English. Spanish is his mother-language so we hope this day to meet some Spanish speaking sailors. It is a busy day and we visit many ships where we meet people from China, the Philippines, Russia, Ukrainians and Albanians. To our regret no Spanish speaking sailors. That day I experienced a great liberty in speech and had more chances than I normally have in telling about the gospel and praying with my sailor friends. So it was a good and also a happy day. Tired and content we drove home. Even though my brother in law didn’t take part in the conversation with the sailors, he said: ”every time you started talking, I started praying”. Now comes to my mind the verse that is written in James5:16...”the prayer of the righteous man has great power in its effects...!”
In our work as port missionaries we can completely bog down through all kinds of practical issues but prayer must be first and foremost. Would you, dear readers of this Bulletin, unite with us in prayer?
Hearty greetings from
In this Bulletin we only report about a few of our experiences. There are many more. On the ships I noticed an increase in activity. “We are so pressed for time!” Many captains shared this with me. But never the less, everybody was thankful for our visit. On board one ship the heating system had broken down, just during a very cold period. Only a day before we had received a large bag with many items, warm coats and jumpers. Shoes and knitted woollen hats. And were the men from the Philippines happy to put on something warm!! But also we were also able to serve them in bringing the Gospel. This always has our priority. Apart from the many talks we had with them, many Bibles, calendars and other literature were passed on to them, as well as CD’s. All of this in the sailors own language. The Philippine steward on one ship made his way among the men directly towards me when spotting me. He told me this was his first ship and first contact with me. He was so thankful for meeting me: he was the only Christian on board and we had an encouraging conversation. The Russian captain on another ship was very friendly and open to my message for him and his crew. That was outstanding!
Surrounded by some crewmembers from South Africa, the Ukraine and the Philippines I held my talk. I decided to give the captain a bottle ship souvenir and the Cook received one also. An Ukrainian seaman received a wooden cross. All of these gifts were craftily made by our co-worker Gerrit Huisman. Two Officers from Lithuania were much surprised by our visit and were so all the more when I came aboard a second time a few days later. That time I had to actually search for them for they were way below in the engine control room. I finally arrived there, taking many awkward steps on those steel grated stairs downward. We maintain our contacts with the seamen via messenger of face book but sometimes via e-mail. We received the following message from a good Dutch friend who lives in the Philippines. ”Oh how wide the arms of God stretch out! Just walking in Leyte I run into this Philippine gentleman. We talked some about general things. Turns out to be a sailor! Told me he had just returned from Hamburg via Amsterdam. He had received from pastor Theo a scarf and a woollen had and was so happy about it. It had become nearly a custom to receive things from him. Happy in the true sense for in a heat of 40 degrees Celsius he was still wearing scarf and hat!. Gods works are great!”
A hearty greeting from
Theo en Yvonne van Zuilekom
Just a while ago I was together with Henk on some ships handing out, among other things, nice T-shirts. This visit was above our expectations for we experienced this time that on a “Chinese” ship a real interest was shown. Someone wanted by all means to have a Bible. We were able to give two Chinese Bibles- one for a sister and one for his mother-. Above all, Liang listened carefully when the Gospel was being explained. Then we were invited to a meal aboard. We were the only ones who didn’t use chopsticks. On a mixed ship ( diverse nationalities): The Indian Cadet probably listened for the first time to the Good News: Jesus, in your stead, bore the punishment for sins, the punishment that you deserved and that God’s Name be glorified by a life that is set apart for Him”. Henk presented this man with a Bible. On a ship with a complete Indian crew. The cook asked for an English Bible. He and the Mess-boy were the only Christians on board. We also talked to other crewmembers. We pass on Bibles only when specifically asked for and inside the cover write the name of the sailor and “something” encouraging out of the Word of God. A testimony ( a week ago) from a ship: Francis is 23 and a Philippino. He has signed on just this April on a massive Tanker with a mixed crew. He, as a believer is really an example for others. He shares his faith with Dave who appreciates this very much, it all being new to him. There are also 4 other Philippine colleagues who appreciate it to receive an encouraging bible text from Francis. He writes it on the gummed leaves of a small yellow notebook and fixes it to their steel wardrobe doors.
Last weekend, during a second visit, we could help them to Bibles in their own language together with some other literature plus a bottle ship souvenir. We love sharing news items with you for reason that, as some of you already do, to remember us in prayer.
With thanksgiving and hearty greetings.
Wout de Vries
Romans 1:16...”For I am not ashamed of the gospel: it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who has faith, to the Jew first and also to the Greek”. A new office situated right in the middle of the port area!
For years I have been praying for an office in this port area. Now God has given it to us. April we, as a team, celebrated the official opening of this new location in Emma straat 41 in Rozenburg. It was pleasant to see many people present from the village to inquire about us and our work. What a blessing to be able to work from this strategic place to serve the sailors. Rozenburg lies really in the middle of this harbour area and has a good access from all sides. We thank the Lord that all this could happen. Encounters onboard ships: Apart from all the renovations taking place at Rozenburg and the many trips we undertake, René and I are busy to train our new Philippine colleague Daniel Lua. We have a good understanding one with another. God leads in the encounters with sailors every time. Many of them ask for Bibles and sometime for a bible study course. We are glad about this for one of our main goals is that sailors will start to read and understand the Bible themselves.
On a large Container ship I happen to meet Achmet. He is Second Mate and comes from Pakistan. Achmet is a serious Muslim. Already two years previously
I had met him on another ship and now he was glad to see me again. Being busy at work, he still reserved some time for me to talk to me. During our conversation he asked: ”have you brought anything for me by chance?” I said: ”Of course. I have a DVD about Jesus, a bible study book and a Bible in Urdu”. “Oh, is that all for me, can I take it all?” asked Achmet. I nodded and he gathered it all up with joy. Please pray that Achmet reads the Bible and that He may come to a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ.
Furlough in Germany: For two weeks already of a total of three months I am on furlough in Germany. The first three weeks I travel alone. My wife Kirsten comes to join me when the children have their annual school holidays. It is so nice to meet up with friends and supporters of the mission and members of church fellowships. I would kindly ask for prayer for safety on the road for me Felix , and much strength for Kirsten when she is with the children in Holland.
A hearty greeting from Germany,
We’d like to present ourselves to you. Now that our Dutch is getting better and better. We are Anna and René Reifel and we work in the port of Rotterdam. I ( René ) came to Rotterdam from South East Germany almost two years ago. Before, I worked for the Board of works on the German Motorways. Then I received the call of God to go to a bible school. I was there for three years and was wondering as to what would happen next. Then within a span of 6 weeks I met people working with sailors in the ports. I understood that God wanted to use me also in this capacity. It is a reality that in Rotterdam much work needed to be done. At the present day I am a colleague of Felix, Wout, Henk and Dan in the Rotterdam ports. I ( Anna ) lived in the neighbourhood of René, some 45 minutes away in the easterly direction. There I was a schoolteacher for pré-school age children. In between I attended a bible school for one year. René and I came to know each other when he started to attend our church fellowship group on a regular basis. Our German mission organisation has its main office close to where I live. René often had appointments there during the evening and visited our cell group. In this way we met. Before he was going to Holland we were already going steady. In August 2016 we married. I am happy to be involved with the work. I sometimes work in the new office or accompany René on his visits.
René and Anna Reifel.
WIN-NL SEAFARERS’ MINISTRY (in Holland WIN-NL) WIN-NL SEAFARERS’ MINISTRY
Word International Ministeries in the Netherlands (WIN-NL) has formally launched its ministry to the seafarers in the Port of Rotterdam during a Mission Dinner held last May 27 in Schiedam. Ptr. Dan Lua, will head the ministry as a Filipino Port Chaplain. WIN-NL Seafarers’ Ministry is working in partnership with Het Havenlicht/SCFS, and with the Seaman’s Christian Friend Society (SCFS) where Ptr. Dan gets his training. Together with the SCFS Rotterdam team, headed by Bro. Felix Henrichs, Ptr. Dan is able to visit ships and minister to the seamen. Every now and then volunteers from the WIN church also visit ships. Lately, ministering to the seafarers has gone beyond the ships. WIN now connects with them on social media where they can be followed up. It is such a blessing to receive messages from the seafarers across the ocean on their spiritual journey with Christ. Paul Harold Paras is thanking us for the Bible we gave him. He said that he regularly reads it now and is learning more and more about Christ. Joel Dela Pena is now starting a new bible study group in his new ship, the New Orleans. He is asking for our prayers as he will lead this new cell group. Rogelio Atajar with Junel de Castro is also continuing to hold bible study on board. We continue to pray for more seafarers will come to know Christ.
Our deep thanks to: Dutch Seamen Society, Seamen's Centre Amsterdam, Global Recordings Network, Ark Mission, Evangelism Foreigners Service, The Bible Society, Pocket Testament League, Christian Aid Ministries, Operation Mobilization and other unnamed organizations, who all in their own specific way, contribute to do the job well. We are also very grateful for the wonderful cooperation with the Philippine seafarers mission:
"WIN-NL Seafarers' Ministry".
Again we would like to make an urgent request for specific prayer concerning the health situation of Anneke Best. Also for prayer for new workers in the ports of Harlingen and Delfzijl. We are grateful towards God for the many opportunities given to us to be a blessing to sailors. A hearty thanks for all you faithful and treasured prayers and other tokens of fellowship. We do appreciate this very much!.