The seven seas, and the adventure they promise, has been the basis of much intrigue throughout history and the location for many thrilling fictional stories.
There are some of us who feel drawn to experience life at sea. Operation Mobilisation's (OM) Ship Ministry allows Christians to join people from every nation, with diverse backgrounds to serve God, as discovered by four young people who shared their stories.
Hyunsoo, a 20-year-old from New Zealand and South Korea, joined OM's Ship Ministry because of someone's recommendation. Hyunsoo boarded Logos Hope and after onboard training, he was allocated to the bookfair department, affectionately known on board as the 'bookfairies'.
"I was so happy, but also, I knew God put me in the bookfair to grow me. Talking to visitors was especially challenging because I wouldn't know what to say to them. Before the ship, I stayed in my comfort zone, now I'm learning to connect with people and build relationships," Hyunsoo says. "I think the Ship Ministry is for anyone who wants to challenge themselves or change their environment."
Moises, who is 22 years old and hails from Panama, joined Logos Hope during the pandemic. He thought to "use this time for something more significant". Moises was placed in the ship's cleaning department, known on board as the 'Angels'. He planned to stay for three months for the Short-Term Exposure Programme (STEP) but stayed longer because of the ship's community: "I'd never experienced such a close community of people who wanted to get to know you, genuinely cared for you and were there in your life. I felt integrated and a part of the community. And despite all the differences, we could work together in the same way towards a common goal. I like this unity in diversity."
In Botswana, Wawa, aged 31, worked as an assistant teacher in a primary school and was a football coach for teens. Wawa explains that he "knew nothing about sharing God's love with others", but once he got involved in OM, he "learned about the great need for God's love around the world". He felt God was leading him to join Logos Hope: "I saw the ship as a place to be trained and equipped for the future, to be exposed to a different environment, to a different community and to be taken out of my comfort zone."
Wawa serves onboard as a Short-Term Exposure Programme (STEP) coordinator. Every few months, new crewmembers join the ship for STEP and Wawa prepares the programme and walks the journey with them. He says, "As a bonus ... when the sky is clear, there's no better place than a ship to see the stars at night."
Based in the US, 25-year-old Katie and her husband, Eric, prayed about how they would serve God. Katie and Eric ended up joining Logos Hope's crew in February 2021. "Leaving your family, your home, your culture, everything, to go to a ship full of people from everywhere is a scary thing. But the ship community is very welcoming."
After a year, Katie became the business services department head, leading the finance, business, and travel teams. "We handle the onboard income and expenses, administration work and travel for people leaving the ship. The first team I led included people from Brazil, Japan, Germany, and China," Katie explains. "My husband and I play games with people in the dining room or staff lounge [when we have free time]. I love reading, so I like the library on board. And we're always visiting interesting countries, so we enjoy going out, learning about the local people, and experiencing what each port has to offer."
Katie spoke of the importance of the Ship Ministry and her part in it, saying, "We know our goal is to share knowledge, help and hope. But it can't happen without all of us working together. The bookfair shares knowledge by selling books, but without finance behind it, there wouldn't be a bookfair. Without people to clean the ship, we couldn't have guests on board. Without the kitchen team, we wouldn't have food to eat. We are all needed for this ministry to function effectively."
Do you have an interest in living out your dream, experiencing what it would be like to live on a ship and travel the world's oceans? With OM's Ship Ministry, everyone can play a part regardless of background or training. If you would be keen to get involved in OM's Ship Ministry, then visit uk.om.org/about-om-ships.