Introduction Beautiful things have happened in the ports, some of which you can read in this newsletter, despite all the bad conditions in the world today. We would be very happy to be able to tell things in your church and show something about the work. Do you have jackets, sweaters, and other good clothes that you no longer wear? We gladly receive them for the sailors. You can also be a blessing to sailors by knitting hats. We will send you with love the knitting pattern. It regularly happens that seafarers no longer have travel bags. If you have a travel bag or a cabin bag you no longer need? Sailors are grateful for it.
Region IJmuiden-We pray with them and thank the Lord for their rescue It is the end of January 2022, along the Dutch coast rages a northwest storm. All day long the drifting bulk carrier JULIETTA D made newspaper headlines. The ship is knocked off her anchor, then rams another anchored ship on her beam causing a large hole at the height of the engine room as a result. The stormy waves begin to enter the ship. An emergency arises.
Meanwhile, the rudderless ship drifts through a wind farm. Damage is also caused here. The captain decides that the crew must leave the ship. A rescue operation is underway. With this help the entire crew is evacuated by helicopters. That is faster written than done. The turbulent conditions affect both the ship and the helicopter hovering above it.
https://youtube.com/watch?v=KAM8pGrzNOM&feature=share The men only dressed in survival overalls, are not allowed anything else and are taken off the ship one by one and taken onboard the wildly moving helicopter. A nerve-wracking event! That same day we are called around dinnertime by the pastor of the Seamen’s Centre Amsterdam: If maybe we have warm clothes available for the rescued sailors. Of course Anneke is happy to oblige. At 19:00 hrs. we drive with a car through the storm full of coats, woolen hats, sweaters, pants and underwear to the hotel where the crew is temporarily accommodated. Of course we also take a stock of Bibles and Bible literature, as well as cards with encouraging Bible verses. The hotel lobby is crowded with men in need of other clothes. Anneke also provides them with small bags containing shampoo, toothpaste and a toothbrush, a towel etc.. Some men suffer from the emotions endured during the rescue and are literally standing there with trembling legs. We pray with them and thank the Lord for their salvation and also pray for their home front, their wives and children, living on the other side of the world, who are now being informed of this spectacular event. The Bibles and literature are thankfully accepted. With grateful feelings we drive home through the storm. Grateful because the Lord wanted to use us to give substance to the texts in Matthew 25:34-40, “Inasmuch as you did this to my brethren, you have done it to me.” Please keep praying for us, especially for Anneke her health. Kind regards and God bless you,
Jan and Anneke Best
Delfzijl, Eemshaven We would like to ask specific prayer for Jan Peter Kapteijn. He has been struggling with serious balance problems for some time and is undergoing treatment from a neurologist. Because of this, he can't get on the ships to talk to sailors and teach them and encourage them.
Please also pray for new workers for these ports to help Jan Peter help to visit the sailors there. Thank you so much for all your loyal support and prayers! God is the God of miracles!
Rotterdam - They are open to the message of Jesus When I came on this "ship on the chain" for the second time, I had a meeting with Nelson. He had just arrived from India. He is the only Christian on board and therefore the only one I could talk to about God so far, telling who He is and what His will is for us. It's good to meet someone like Nelson, but also meeting another Indian, Djalik; they expressed having an interest in seeing something of the countryside of the Netherlands. By inviting them for such a trip is how we got to know each other in a better and relaxed atmosphere.
They enjoyed visiting a tall flour mill with moving windmill blades and meeting the miller personally. Also that afternoon we paid a visit to a small and a large dairy farm.
On a coaster I spoke for a while with an Albanian called Mert. In Albania he’d had his education at High School. He doesn't know much about believing yet or faith in God. I was able to tell him something of who God is and what He can do in a human life. After a while he was called away from the conversation. I hope that the seed sown, also through the literature offered ,will bear fruit in Mert's life. Brian and Mark are two young people I find on board. They are from the Philippines and are happy to have someone from "us" - from the “seamen’s mission" – coming on board. They are open for the message of Jesus - who after His death on the cross - rose again, thus He conquered death and can and will give eternal life. They listen to the simple message of the Gospel and respond to it. Woollen hats, we had the chance to distribute these to the sailors - thanks to the efforts of the ladies who knitted them. They were gratefully accepted . Russians and Ukrainians also need the Gospel. Very often they know the Biblical story.
They are very happy to receive a copy and read the Gospel in their own language .Ukrainian and Russian sailors, they often have a hard time - like other seamen - even though they usually don't tell us openly. Please pray - and give thanks for: - the sailors of whatever nationality : they need Jesus. - Djalik, Nelson (a Christian) and the 1st Officer (all from India) - Mert (of an Albanian background) – and Brian and Mark, two young sailors from the Philippines. - for the opportunities to meet the seamen in the ports of Rotterdam (and elsewhere) and give them God’s message, -To pass on the Word. "God is able to do infinitely more than we ask or can imagine."
Wout de Vries
Amsterdam - Great to have you back! "Good afternoon how are you?" I thus greeted the crew in the mess room as I stood in the doorway. A man, at the end of the table ,looked up in surprise and shouted: "Hey Theo, you're back, welcome!" That's how I was greeted by the captain, whom I had met a year ago. It was nice talking to everyone who was present to have them listen to what I had to share from the gospel. Of course I'm going back to this ship again. A Russian sailor expressed his gratitude by saying “Thank you Jesus” with tears in his eyes.
Several times I have been on board cruise ships resulting in good and valuable contacts. It was suggested to me to regularly hold a service on board for the crew. The captain of another large cargo ship had given permission and special time to his Philippino crew to spend a while to talk to me. Very special! First I opened the Bible with them for a short evangelical message that I passed on, then we all went to the car for clothing, knitted hats, etc. and as conclusion in the end, prayed for them. "Good afternoon, hello, you are the pastor! Very nice that you are back!" With enormous enthusiasm I was greeted warmly by a Canadian captain. Great was his gratitude! We met seafarers from many countries including: Canada, Latvia, Lithuania, Ukraine, Russia, Poland, Philippines, Indonesia, India, Croatia, Romania, the Netherlands and England.
In the meantime, Yvonne has been busy again to prepare interesting Easter gifts for seafarers. Just like we do at Christmas time, we also share Easter gift bags, accompanied of course with the evangelical message.
Thank you for all your faithful prayers and other expressions of sympathy. Theo and Yvonne van Zuilekom
Amsterdam, Scheveningen - Cast your bread on the water A lot has happened in the past period. This is how I met sailors from Mauritania for the first time: we were invited to a meeting of inland skippers, and I started a survey among these seafarers to better understand their life on board, some of the answers to this are really surprising! In the meanwhile we have rolled from one crisis to the next crisis: the current situation in Ukraine has also major consequences for shipping. About 15% of all sailors come from Russia and Ukraine. A ship that I visited turns out to have 4 Russians and 4 Ukrainians as crew, but tensions on the home front are absent, they do not bother each other on board; “we are sailors and at sea we need each other”, is the sober reply. In meanwhile, the Ukrainians are in some stress because they haven't heard anything from home for a while. In Dutch ports fortunately, emergency funds have been made available for this occasion to help sailors with free phone cards. In addition, I was allowed to pray for them and could also share the Gospel. Let's pray for peace in Ukraine but also for all seafarers from Russia and Ukraine! A sailor gets a big smile when I say his name, I still recognize him from last year and also could remember his name.
I also recognize his colleague but his name I unfortunately forgot for he has a very difficult Russian name. But he has a memory trick for me and answers: just say: “what-is-love” and sure enough that works well, I can still say his name fluently! But this incident also has a beautiful application: asking the men on the Bridge: what is love?
Another ship is moored to the side of the dock. Because of this I cannot board it, only from a kind of platform In the end am I able to have a conversation with the men on deck. They want a Bible and from where I am it feels somewhat uncomfortable but I throw it at them like a Frisbee and it goes well, the Bible lands on the deck. I had to think of the sentence from Ecclesiastes 11: “cast your bread on the water”… now I threw it over the water but the promise remains:” for you will find it after many days”. I usually don't avoid a long conversation, but we also have to let the Word of God speak, I see myself above all as a sower and “whoever trusts in God in this matter will not be ashamed!”
Warm regards, Marien Gijsbertsen
Proclaim Jesus from Ship to Ship - Along the Coast of Africa In this way we are able to comply with the Great Commission in several ways, directly and indirectly. Our group has been reinforced by a number of newcomers and although the shipwork is only part-time, dozens are again actively involved. We teach each other the practical side of ship- visits as written in 2 Tim 2:2. That's how, in a busy port, there went sometimes 3 teams at the same time to the various ships, every time well equipped with a gift bag of gospel material per ship plus a backpack with deeper study materials, multilingual reading means and digital media. We design and manufacture special tracts to attract young seamen to the worldwide seafaring mission services and resources of Truth to be found on the Internet.
We bought 1000 laminating sheets from the ship dealer for this kind of work. The USB sticks are also starting to do their part in the work. Incoming gifts and access to a larger literature fund are a blessing. The teams often come back with great stories, having spent hours with lone sailors from Turkey, Russia, Philippines, Ukraine, China, etc. Sometimes in a very personal way as for instance organising a family evening with the beautiful melodious sounds of guitars played by our sisters from Brazil and Papua New Guinea. At other times the emphasis is on Bible education , resulting in people taking a stand for the faith.
It can also result in a lively conversation with the local dock workers who already know the Lord. We have prayed with them earnestly and shared the tracts for this special group, with the call to share with others of what one has received. Other dock workers were able to guide us to hard-to-reach places and terminals. In watching us they could see how we prepare ship visits, in fact, they started fully participating with us!
At the last minute I was able to introduce them to the harbour chaplain who has been a great blessing to us and was blessed himself. Hopefully these will be the new workers to spread the Word in the harbour! After all, they are already here in these ports. With the tracts as a help and their telephones they have the Word in all languages in their pocket. May the Holy Spirit fill them and lead them to a life devoted to Him!
This page is too short to tell you everything like the big question & answer sessions we hold at the International Maritime Academy. Also I want to mention the true church planting seminar (Church on the Oceans) arranged in collaboration with three local organizations as well as the big meetings with the dock workers at 5:30 in the morning!
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Rotterdam - God led me to meet you Many sailors from all over the world have been reached with the gospel, believers have been encouraged in their faith and have been made disciples. The Lord also gave us a new ministry- base with storage space, an office and a meeting room. It is located in Rozenburg in the middle of a huge 40 km long harbour area - Rotterdam, the largest sea port in Europe. In the past 12 years our team had to move all of our gear four times - from a fishing shed to a garage, from there to a Christian bookstore and then to a shipping container.
Always that feeling of uncertainty - when is the next time we have to pack up again, another place to search for, to put everything away and wrap the Christmas presents, etc. We often prayed and asked God for a more permanent location. In May 2021 René found commercial unit for rent in Rozenburg. The owners are two brothers, who are retired seamen themselves.
They grew up in a Christian home and although they are not religious, they fully support our ministry. So it was clear that this was the answer to our prayers. God took care of everything. This is the place where we can stay for the long term. It is easily accessible for both the ship visitors as well as the sailors. God is so good! He gives what we need - but in its own time. In December we also enjoyed the benefits of our storage for packing and handing out the Christmas gifts for the sailors.
We have established a new record by handing out 2394 gifts at 134ships. The reactions of the sailors on board were very cordial and grateful. And the conversations during the visits also resulted in many sailors reading the Bible and accepted Bible study materials. On a container ship with a full Filipino crew the guard at the last minute didn't want to give us permission to enter the ship. But he told us that the captain was a believing Christian and that he gave a Bible study to the crew. I asked to meet him and so I was admitted to the office of the ship. I had a great time with the captain. But then he had to leave and an elderly sailor came to me. He told me that in the past two years he had lost two brothers and a daughter. What could I say to such a downcast man? I prayed silently for God's wisdom and the right words from God. I was able to lovingly share the gospel with this experienced ship’s Engineer. After accepting a Bible, he thanked me warmly for the message. He said: “I felt the urge to leave the engine room and come to the office, but I didn't know why. Now I know. God has led me to meet you.”
All glory to God! Felix Henrichs
Dordrecht, Rotterdam- very happy with our visit My last visit on board was very uplifting. I had visited three ships. We had a really good day: most of the crew members were Filipinos, Romanians, Greeks and Turks. They gladly accepted the Word of God and were very pleased with our visit. At a certain moment four Philippinos stopped being busy with their work in the kitchen to pray with us as well. I had the opportunity to speak the Word of God to them . I had a personal conversation with another person from the Philippines and explained to him about the Blessed Person of Jesus Christ, His Transforming Power and the reason why Christ died for our sins. Because I formerly had worked aboard another ship, a cruise ship, I explained to one of them how difficult it really is to have a happy life far from home.
But there's always a door of hope for it, a happy life and that is through Jesus. It is always good to talk to Him through prayer and put all our worries and our life in His hand. I felt that this Philippino crew member was very grateful for that. On another ship, this time from Turkey, we were allowed on board and left behind some children's books in which is openly spoken about Jesus Christ and we shared the Christian message about the life of Jesus and His return. A Turkish captain and a Spanish captain were very happy with Gert Huisman's bottle ships.
It was a blessed day for us. Fábio Jefferson
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 Het Havenlicht workers and their families. In particularly for Jan Peter Kapteijn, Hanny de Vries, Inez de Baat and Anneke Best. 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.
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