Introduction Once again beautiful stories in this Newsletter. If it is on your heart to give a response or would you like to know more about the work that we are doing, just contact us. We’d very much like to visit your church, fellowship or prayer meeting to show or tell more about our port mission activities. Do you have any jackets, jumpers and other good clothing items, We would gladly take them in on behalf of our sailors for they are ever so happy to receive them.
Seafarers mission from the Logos Hope -“Ship-to-Ship” It started suddenly in the following manner: a Cruise ship in front of our noses in Curacao, an e-mail from Alaska, the fact that we were spotted by the Cruise ship and br. Mateus who succeeded in contacting the Logos Hope via his network of port missionaries. The next Sunday we met on-line sharing prayer topics and the Word and Worship, with a group quickly formed out of 7 nationalities and so the “Ship 2 Ship” ministry was born! The news of it spread like wild fire and soon an opportunity came to fit it in aboard as a “Passion group” a new out-reach ministry on our ship . More than ten people volunteered to be part of it. There is much prayer involved and the mission work to and by seafarers became a fact. Our meeting together on the Cruise ship became a weekly highlight with much ICT back-up. Logos Hope was in Curacao for major maintenance. It was very special to observe that most of the work in and around the Dry-dock was being done by the volunteers themselves with only half of the crew staying aboard. It was a busy time. Initially no ship came within our reach. A lonely Ukrainian seaman however was there for a talk but didn’t want any literature. I held in my step for a moment of prayer for a means of contact with an empty looking sea Tugboat “7 seas”. It wasn’t that empty though and later heard that at that moment Logos Hope people were with the crew inside, visiting! The Service Engineer had invited them. One of the Venezuelan crew said: “you are always welcome”. Within a week, the ships almost being neighbours, a warm friendship had developed and at least 75 of our crew paid a visit to the 7 Seas and both crews were blessed by it. Then a group youngsters from our crew organised a Spanish language Sunday Service aboard the Tugboat and the First Officer gave then a tour around his ship. We became close like family, some calling in nearly every day and had many a talk. On another ship, the one of which the lonely Ukrainian was a crewmember, we held a Sunday Service. The network of connected people spread out via the ship-owner who was aboard himself. He was grateful for what we did to the crew. When our ship moved to another dock for bunker, three teams went out and visited other ships. Twice a week now we gather after dinner to share stories, to pray and plan. Our Mission Director was also present and received a good impression of our group. A next team of ship visitors , which will hopefully succeed us in the near future , will hopefully also go out to experience new opportunities in other ports of call. It is not really a strictly organised group but our App-group now counts 41 members. The strength of our group lies among other things in the many languages we speak, our unity in Spirit present in the many backgrounds and the large amount of serving people living together. There is this enthusiasm that we feel when we start out to meet the seafarers. As a last point I’d like to mention the good Biblical basis there is, thanks to the training we receive on-board. Michiel Kramer
Region IJmuiden - “I appreciate your visit very much!” In the beginning of June we visited two large Bulk carriers, moored one behind the other and totalling a length of 600 meters. One had arrived from North Canada, bringing 170 000 tons of iron ore. The other one came to bring 180 000 tons of coal from Australia. The ships both had Greek captains with mainly Philippinos as crew. We often see this combination.
I meet the Master of the first ship in his cabin. His wife reads a magazine in the background and listens to our conversation. I give him a Greek (!) New testament and let him read Philippians 4:6,7. “I agree”, is his reaction. “Peace of God in your heart”. I show him what’s written about the condition: through Jesus. He nods. Then his wife joins the conversation and lets me know that she very much appreciates my visit to the ship. “Bravo”, she says. In the mess room I pray with a large group of Philippinos standing in a circle around me. They receive Bibles and literature. Two men accompany me to the car where Anneke is waiting for us on the pier. They receive nice bags containing a woollen hat, shampoo, toothpaste, socks, a towel and a nice card with a Bible verse. On the second ship the ship’s Master initially said he had no time for me for he had just called for a taxi to go for a Corona test in nearby Beverwijk. I asked him just the same if we couldn’t go to his cabin, awaiting the taxi. There I hear that he is due for his leave and without a negative test he cannot fly. The person to replace him stands nearby and on the bench sits another Greek person, namely the Superintendent of the Company, from Piraeus. These men are mostly former captains and in the hierarchical wayhe stands even above a ship’s Master. A pleasant conversation starts and as a former colleague I tell them I am a servant of Christ and explain why I have come. I tell him also about my wife Anneke waiting on the pier with belated Christmas parcels for the crew. I let the captain due for leave read Philippians 4:6,7 while the new captain listens to it. This Scripture verse appeals to most captains because of the responsibility and position they have. It is expected of them to take decisions by themselves without the possibility of advice from another party, seeing that all crewmembers are in a subordinate position under him. Having explained some about the verses ,the Superintendent says: “On behalf of the Company I appreciate your visit very much”.
From the car Anneke hands out woollen hats and clothing. She has a pair of shoes, size 43. The man who tries them on has exactly size 43! Together we pray for the sailors and their families at home. Most part of the crew will go home only next year. When we drive away from the Docks a taxi is coming our way : God’s timing! Please continue to pray for us, in particulary for Anneke her health. With friendly greetings and God bless you. Jan and Anneke Best
Amsterdam, Scheveningen - “And I will pray the Father, and He shall give you another Comforter (Helper), that He may be with you forever”. ( Joh.14:16) It is always nice to be a host to seafarers. An Indonesian seaman who has been my friend for some time, wanted to go to church with me one Sunday. In April such a chance was there. The message being preached that Sunday was on a difficult subject so it was not easy for me to translate. When I apologised to this, my friend said: “Don’t worry about it for do you know, I find it great to just sit in my chair listening to the songs and to see all these nice people”. After the service a lady from the Molucca islands came to us and talked in Indonesian with my friend. This came as a surprise to my friend but I was suddenly on the alert, especially because that very day it was the Molucca Islands Independence day. But my fear was ungrounded for she said: “Welcome to our church and yes, I am from the Molucca islands and you are from Indonesia and he is a Dutchman , but first of all we are children of the Most High, redeemed by the blood of the Lamb. Only Jesus is our peace”. We could all agree to that with a profound AMEN.
I found this a special moment , taken in account the injustice done by the Dutch to the islanders of Molucca. It is after 2000 years still the Spirit of God that breaks through human barriers and borders and forges together a church out of all people, languages and nations. Some weeks ago on a Tuesday morning I went to the ports. I hadn’t planned to go really but I felt a certain urge inside. I visited a big Coal carrier which was discharging a cargo of coal from Russia. On deck I spoke to several Philippinos and learned that they had been aboard for eleven months but could go home soon. They asked me to pray for them for a safe journey and one seaman was even called from his bunk to attend. In general Philippines are religious and even superstitious but I couldn’t know it at that moment. But I had the chance to bring these people in God’s Presence and the rest I leave to Him. In the meanwhile a Turkish person, the Chief Engineer, is walking around in the background. In the end he asks me if I have a rosary which I didn’t have. We had a good talk about truth and peace and he accepted a Turkish Bible together with a bible study course about Jesus-the way to God. I show him several verses of Scripture and before you know it you are holding a bible study meeting amidst the noise of harbour cranes and the hum of the ventilators: it was not easy. The Turkish seaman is very happy and asks me to write a personal message inside the cover of his Bible.
So it was not “by chance” that on that Tuesday I went to the ports. Shall we join in prayer for this Turkish seaman? Thank you for standing by us in prayer. Hearty greetings, Marien Gijsbertsen
Rotterdam - “We are welcomed with kindness” By the grace of God we can still visit the sailors! Among our seafarers there is a great yearning for contact.Also there is a need for someone to talk to about difficult situations. Johnai’s contract terminates this week. Within two days, after nine Months at sea, he can go home. But his replacement in his country, had been tested positive on corona. What will happen to Johnai and two other Philippine sailors whose contract also has ended? Is there going to be a replacement in their country? Or should they stay aboard and if so, for how long? Johnai tells me his family is already on the lookout for his homecoming. We as port missionaries then realise what it is “to be found in their shoes”. There are still so many seamen we can meet, be it an Eastern European, one from Asia, Russia or one of the Ukraine. Maybe a person from the Philippines, India or Myanmar.
The Word of God speaks about the sinfulness of man . The Law of God is like a mirror to us. Through Jesus we can learn about God’s character, about His Love, Compassion and Goodness. The Shepherd that is looking for that one erring sheep, the Father who waits for the lost son. Sometimes we stand only on the deck of a ship but at other times we can come inside. We are then being met in all kindness and friendliness. Sometimes a surprise is in store for the men when they can receive a Bible or tract in their very own language. Many times we have the opportunity to tell more or can give a testimony about our personal Bible reading and walk with God. We can be thankful also during these times to have the chance to visit sailors at all and have a talk with them, be it in the watchman’s shelter or in the “ships office” or in the mess room but also on deck of the ship. Thank you for standing by. Wout de Vries
Delfzijl, Eemshaven - “Under God’s guidance” Slowly the blue-grey gate slides open and now I can manoeuvre my car into the dock area. There are not many ships. Some I have visited on previous occasions. However, it is getting more difficult to just step aboard of any ship. Huge cranes are busy with loading or unloading and forklifts are moving around at great speed avoiding thereby the many obstacles. I have come to look for and make contact with sailors. At many gangways notices are placed that admittance is forbidden without appointment. With this in mind I drove around last Friday but to no avail. This time however I see two sister ships, moored side by side. Both ships were completely closed in by sea containers. Manoeuvring around them I at last come to the gangway. I can’t see anybody except the tablet saying: No appointment- no entering due to coved restrictions. But I remembered I had the names of some crewmen and via Messenger I send a message to them but to my regret I receive no answer. There were no people aboard. “Father, what to do now?” was my prayer. The next day there was a response to my message. The crew was aboard alright but at work and everything was OK. After a further chat a question was asked if I still had English Bibles for the men of the Philippines. “Yes , of course”. Then the next question: “could you also put Bibles and other literature in the mess room?” “Yes, I And so we made an appointment to come to the port next Sunday to meet at the pier. I was in no way allowed to come aboard but that didn’t matter. In the end a bag with Interactive Bibles, keyrings, woollen hats and a bottle ship went in the direction of the mess room. One of the men told me that some other Philippino boys that he had met were aboard a fishing vessel from Urk.“I think they want these Bibles too”. Also I was asked to buy some chocolate bars in the supermarket and received 30 euro. After taking some photo’s they said goodbye to me: “God bless you, see you later with the chocolates!” Then I went to look for the Urker fishing boat. I saw some Philippinos moving in the wheel house and luckily they spotted me waving to them and out of curiosity they came outside to meet me. Both men belonged to the catholic faith and I had a nice conversation with them on the pier. Yes, woollen hats, Bibles and keyrings were welcome and I asked: ‘would you please pass them on to other crewmembers as well when they come aboard?” It doesn’t always go as I would like it, but when God is there the Gospel will reach the right people in whatever a way. God is good! Jan Peter Kapteijn
Dordrecht -“They accepted our visit and the Word of God with joy and respect” God has given me the chance to spread the Word where ever possible. I’ll tell you about my experiences on the ships and elsewhere.In March I could visit two ships in Dordrecht with Theo. Three of the crew were Philippinos and the captain was from India. He told me he was a Hindu. I also met a Chinese and a Dutchman. On that day I could pass on the Gospel to these men. They accepted our visit and the Word of God with respect.
We visited another ship with a crew of Ukrainians and Russians. We could only share the Gospel with a Russian Officer. Although he was a busy man, he took time off to listen to us and thanked us for telling the Gospel. When I went out on my own to visit the ports, I had access to a Dutch ship with seven Dutch crewmen. One was named Lesse and together with the captain we spoke about God’s message. Before I left and had given out some Bibles and Christian tracts, he smiled and wished me success in my work.
Again on another Saturday I brought the Gospel to another ship, the Rubyland, sailing under the Portuguese flag. The crew consisted of Ukrainians and Russians. A young man invited me to come inside to meet the Russian captain. In his cabin I asked him if he could spare me some of his time , so I could share the Gospel with him; he agreed so I passed on an Interactive Sailor Bible to him and some tracts. He listened to me and wished me God’s blessing. One Sunday something special came in my life and drew my attention. I felt in my heart that I needed to share the Gospel with my colleagues at work. The following Monday I decided to give 4 Christian tracts to two fellows who were Dutch and atheists. Before handing them over I had formerly talked with one of them and had asked if he believed the Bible and in Jesus Christ He had always denied it but on the day that he received the Christian tract, he asked me if I deliver Bibles to the ports. I said yes, so he asked me if I could give him one also. When he received it he thanked me for it. Sometime later when working with him again, I asked him if he still read the Bible. He answered: “sometimes I do”. I believe that God will change his life completely because I’m praying for it. I can write much more but will stop now and ask you to continue praying for my life and for all those that have received the Word of God from our hands in order that God will save every life. The Bible says in Psalm 126:5,6:”They that sow in tears shall reap in joy. He that goes forth weeping, bearing precious seed, shall doubtless come again with rejoicing, bringing sheaves with him”. Fábio Jefferson
Rotterdam -“A freight tanker, a service and a conversation” Many ships are in port for only a few hours or a few days. But Tankers with a cargo of grain stay in port much longer. This is because of the product itself, it must be kept dry at all times. When it rains or snows, work has to be stopped. One of these types of boats with a Philippino crew was nearly a month in port. As a team we were able to visit the ship several times during which we had some good conversations. One day the captain even invited us to organise a Bible study meeting for the men. Nearly all of the crew attended and listened to a message from John 3. During these visits I spoke to Lito, the Third Officer, with whom I also “chatted “on occasions. He told me he read his Bible but was not sure of his salvation. As a young person brought up in the catholic faith , he believed that by doing good works he would be able to attain his salvation. I explained the Gospel to him showing him that his eternal salvation is not dependant of his own works but that salvation can only be his through the grace of God by faith in Jesus Christ. Our colleague René and a new volunteer have visited this ship again after the church service aboard and had a good talk with Lito. After these conversations with René, God opened his eyes for the truth of the Gospel and he was able to surrender to Jesus Christ, now his Lord and Saviour. We thank God for Lito’s salvation and pray that he may grow in his newly found faith. After having been on the lookout for more than two years and much prayer the Lord has enabled us to rent a former business location in Rozenburg. There is enough room for the storage of all our printed matter like Bibles and literature. There is space also for an office or meeting room on the second floor. We are so grateful for this new locality right in the centre of the port area! Felix Henrichs
Amsterdam - “Do you have maybe a Bible for me?” In Amsterdam, because it was Easter, we came aboard ships to hand out presents of tulips. The sailors were so surprised when I arrived with a large pack of tulips containing three bundles each. Their reaction was so encouraging. At the same time this was a grand opening to bring the Gospel. Somebody remembered my name from a former visit and called out:” Theo, you have maybe a Bible for me?” He had heard from a colleague about the “Interactive Sailor Bible” and Key-chain Bible which his friend had received some time before. “Yes, of course I have one”. Another reaction during a visit: “We receive tulips and other gifts and feel happy. Theo loved the food I served him. Thank you!” Also the men from Lithuania, the Ukraine and the Philippines showed their appreciation. Yvonne had prepared 25 so called “First aid bags” and there were exactly 25 people on board. “We never have received anything”, a Rumanian said in surprise. But of course also spiritual food was being given to them by means of the Word and Christian literature. Sailors do expect encouragement from us from the Bible. The men wanted to have a photo take and held their nice white bags high, together with their Interactive Sailor Bible and Qr-Keychain Bible. God even leads in the smallest details. Yvonne had a very nasty fall, 21st of May down some steps on a tiled floor. It resulted in a broken right knee cap and minor fractures to her left hand and had her nose broken. Her right leg is now completely in a plaster cast and from her left hand the cast has now been removed. This fall indeed had quite an aftermath. Would you please pray for Yvonne? A cordial thanks for your standing by us and for your faithful intersession. Theo and Yvonne van Zuilekom.
The seafarers mentioned in this newsletter do have in actual life different names. For privacy reasons the proper names are not mentioned. The photo’s in this bulletin are printed with permission.
Our deep thanks to: City-Bibles, “WIN-NL Seafarers’ Ministry”, 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,, Our Daily Bread Ministries and other unnamed organizations, who all in their own specific way, contribute to do the job well.
Once more we would like you to continue praying for the health of the Havenlicht workers and their families. In particularly for Inez Baat, Anneke Best, Jan Peter Kapteijn and Yvonne van Zuilekom. We need your intersession to go on and persevere in the special work that God has given us to do. Please pray for open doors and open hearts. We believe in a God of miracles! A hearty thanks for all your valued prayers and other tokens of fellowship. This is the way the Lord works through you in order that sailors can hear His Word and accept it.