Saturday, September 12, 2009

It's Here! Hope is here!

You can imagine how people respond when you say that you're going to spend almost 3 weeks in the Caribbean... a roll of the eyes when you mention that it's a "mission trip"... a groan of jealousy... an incredulous look that says, "seriously?"


On this side of my trip with Operation Mobilization on board the Logos Hope, I'm still processing the impact of an amazing and encouraging experience. I was deeply blessed, had my eyes opened to a pretty neat and, previously, unknown context for ministry. I also was blessed with a new network of godly people from some 43 countries.

OM has found a unique niche ministry in ports all over the world by visiting countries by ship. This spring, they finished work on the latest edition to their fleet, the Logos Hope, a former ferry boat from the Faroe Islands. The Logos Hope set sail in Europe and is now visiting the islands of the Caribbean, bringing "knowledge, help, and hope."

I was invited on this adventure by friends, Jim and Shirley
Goering, attenders of GCC where I used to serve, and
supporters of OM's ministry. (They have great hearts for God
and for people, and regularly travel to serve).

There are 350-some people on board, serving in a variety of ways-- from the 'deck crew' who help ensure the safety and reliability of the ship's operations, to the 'line up crew' who enter port cities to prepare the way months before the ship, to the 'galley and pantry crew' who serve some 1500 meals a day. That's only a fractional view of the amazing ministry taking place on board, not to mention the teams that go ashore to serve in churches, schools, and neighborhoods.

The Logos Hope has an entire deck (Deck 4) set aside for visitors. People enter the boat and purchase books from a bookstore (offering thousands of titles), hear about the ministry of OM globally, and even can buy ice cream or snacks in an onboard cafe. Throughout their time on board, these visitors have several encounters with crew members who are looking for opportunities to bless, encourage, and share eternal 'hope' with them. I was able to be with the ship on its visits to Grenada and Tobago. 43,500 people visited in St. Vincent (the port before Grenada), and close to 23,000 in Grenada. They were still coming to the ship in Tobago when I left.

I served in the galley/pantry and
then helped greet and talk to
visitors on Deck 4. Both experiences
were a blessing, and a neat look
at people using their unique gifts to serve.
And that was the lasting impression...
the "gifts of the body" in so many ways contributing to the whole of the ministry.

Another opportunity I had was to show how out of shape I was by playing with the soccer ministry team. 14 people from the ship went and played against a local club team. After the game, one of the guys from the Logos Hope shared his testimony and encouraged the young men and women to think eternally about what God has in store for their lives. I was able to 'encourage' a young man by allowing him to juke me... my ministry heart at work...

I was deeply blessed in a time of worship led by people from 10 different nations... a vivid illustration of Revelation 7...
9After this I looked and there before me was a great multitude that no one could count, from every nation, tribe, people and language, standing before the throne
and in front of the Lamb.They were wearing white robes and were holding palm branches in their hands.10And they cried out in a loud voice: "Salvation belongs to our God, who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb."

And... they even sang The Happy Song... here's a short preview from the band warmup...

I had some great times with Jesus... sunset devotions on deck, witnessing the amazing beauty of our "God of Wonders," and being blessed and challenged through testimonies and sharing of some very godly people...

yep... seriously...

and one final glimpse that sums up the beauty and blessing of this trip... (compliments of another gifted crew member- the ship's photographer)


We the Hornings September 13, 2009 at 3:09 PM  

Love the pictures and the brief description of your trip. It does sound like a totally different experience of ministry that I have experienced, but a totally rich one, too...can't wait to see and hear more. Awesome pictures.
We love you.

Rebecca. Harlan, IN September 13, 2009 at 3:21 PM  

Oh so good to "find" you in the blogosphere! I enjoy keeping up with you via technology. Your life continues to be a "ministry".

DeMo September 23, 2009 at 4:43 PM  

That's awesome, Jim. Makes me miss you and your ministry, but I think that this new adventure is perfect for you. Thanks for sharing what's going on.


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