New Address

Please note that the SCFS has a new postal address.

Seamen's Christian Friend Society

PO Box 210

BOOTLE

L20 9WR

Telephone Number 01625 610050

The Slow Fast!

I have never done any actual fundraising before, and I'm certainly not going to enter for a sponsored run or anything like that! But I have decided to do a sponsored fast – known as the SLOW FAST – from Monday to Friday, 14-18 May. So I have decided to do this through the new Stewardship facility, give.net.

https://my.give.net/theslowfast

I am going on a dawn-to-dusk fast from Monday to Friday, 14 – 18 May 2012. But I'm not just going to starve himself. Each day there will be a specific activity or challenge with a particular purpose in mind.

This is in support of the SCFS with particular reference to the work we do in the Philippines. If you would like to sponsor me, that would be great – although I would be the first to accept that we all receive a lot of such requests these days. If you know of anyone who might be interested, please do pass this on.

Please also pray that each day's activity will be fruitful and that the ministry of the SCFS will be built up in the process. Here is my itinerary for the week.

Monday 14 May

A day of fasting and prayer for all SCFS workers worldwide. We have something like 40 workers, some full time and others part time. But all will be prayed for. Mike is going to speak to as many workers as possible during the day so that much of the prayer will be telephone prayers as Mike joins with each SCFS worker in lifting his particular need to God. Will Mike manage to speak to and pray for every worker?

Tuesday 15 May

A day of fasting, Bible study and reflection. What does God have in store for the SCFS? Mike will make this a day of seeking God's guidance and direction for the ministry of SCFS.

Wednesday 16 May

A day of fasting and encouragement. Mike has long admired the work of a number of Christians engaged in other ministries. Today he will finally have the time to contact them, just to tell them so! These people are doing a brilliant job, and Mike wants to encourage them, and also tell them why he believes they are so effective. But the encouragement won't be all one-way – Mike also hopes to learn from the experience and practices of these other mission leaders.

Thursday 17 May

The Fast Write! How many 350 word articles will Mike be able to write in one day? Each article must be of sufficient quality to be published by the website www.parishpump.co.uk and suitable for use in church magazines.

Friday 18 May

Knit Fast! SCFS missionaries always need a steady supply of woolly hats for giving out on board ship. And the SCFS is truly grateful to all their supporters who beaver away with the knitting needles as their way of serving this ministry. But should SCFS Director Mike expect SCFS supporters to do something he wouldn't do himself? So – even though Mike has never even touched a pair of knitting needles in his life, he is determined to knit one woolly hat. He has eight hours to learn what to do, how to read a knitting pattern and to turn out a hat of sufficiently good quality that it would be a suitable gift for a seafarer. And whatever Mike produces – good or bad – he will put on his head and post a photograph on Give.net to show it off!

Thanks for your support!

Mike

Can I get you a CD player?

Sam had recently been struck by how much of the ministry of SCFS not only in Belfast but by all our staff is not to the multitudes, or to whole crews, but to the individual seafarer. Some like Ian, from the Philippines that he meet firstly in the year 2000 and on and off over the years, who is very appreciative of the ministry of SCFS in the ports.

Ian was appreciative of Sam's concern for him to hear services through CD's, his only problem was that he didn't have a CD player in his cabin. Sam was able to supply Ian with a micro hi-fi system and for the rest of the crew two bicycles, clothing and toiletries.

This act of kindness really spoke to the 2nd Officer who was from the Ukraine, as he couldn't believe that all that they had received was a gift from Christians in Belfast to show them how much God loves them.

Sam Cowan, Belfast

New Service to Seafarers!

Colin was on a liner and people flocked around the table of Christian 'goodies'. However, because he had turned on his wi-fi device there was soon an internet cafe set up with 6 people checking their mail etc. They really appreciated this and it hadn't been done before.

Colin had to put his device inside the porthole to get a better signal, but it worked great.

Colin Jenkins, Cork

And please bring more books!

These words were part of an email Ecki received a few weeks ago from a Christian captain. He had already known this brother for some years and he is leading a weekly bible study where everyone attends.

Besides his leadership skills, he is also a very humble man and as you can imagine Ecki was really looking forward to meeting him and also to fulfill his request. Ecki brought two big bags full of literature and the book table was after a very short time very crowded. The seafarers wanted books about spiritual growth, marriage, books about sin, bibles and study material, worship music and Christian movies. As they are sitting under the teaching of the captain every week, they were really hungry for more spiritual food. This time was also very encouraging for the captain.

Ecki Breitenmoser, Bremerhaven

On Yer Bike!

Again the effect of the recession and the new Solis 2010 regulations has been having an effect on the crews. During a visit to the Ben Maye, I was informed that one of the sister ships was being sold for scrap and a captain made redundant.

During the deputation meetings I made an appeal for some bikes as I had received a few requests for bikes from crews. It was a joy to be able to receive a number of bikes and to give out half of them so far to crews that requested them.

Sam Cowan – Belfast

The Harsh Reality Of Separation

December is one of our busiest months, but the snow came, the temperature dropped and more snow came so for a while ship visiting had to stop. This makes it even more lonely for the seamen, as they are away from home and families at Christmas. When conditions improved, John was talking to a Filipino seaman who said that this would be another Christmas away from home. When he was young he did not mind how much time he spent at sea, but now when he leaves home his footsteps are heavy, because he leaves behind a wife and children. He needs to continue to work at sea to support his family.

John Barnard – Grimsby

Wakey Wakey!

Bringing mobile broadband to ships is becoming very popular, and in conjunction with phone cards, this means I can help seafarers connect more easily with their loved ones. Again and again I am setting up mini "internet cafes" on board where 5 laptops can run from the portable wifi modem I bring. Until ships have broadband (if ever), this technology will be very useful for all seafarers missions seeking to help seafarers.

It was a Romanian seaman who first suggested the idea to me and now ships are phoning me asking me to come! One Filipino immediately tried to call his wife on Skype – it was only 5am. However she was up and they were able to talk (and see each other). In the background we could hear a rooster crowing. This felt strange as it was around 8pm in Cork!

Colin Jenkins – Cork

Time on a ship, by John Barnard

Time on a ship

Life on a ship is governed by time. From the moment a seaman joins his ship, he starts to mark the days on the calendar to the time that he should return home.

Time for keeping watch on deck or in the engine room.
Time for meals and sleep.
Time to sail on the ebb or high tide,
Time to berth in a new port.

We are often told by the seamen, that just knowing we were there on the ship is such an encouragement and means so much for them, even if they do not have much time to speak to us.

The time we spend with seamen, however brief, is never wasted or unappreciated.

Colin Jenkins tells of the dangers and hardships seamen face on a daily basis

Colin Jenkins in Cork, tells of the variety of his ship visits and the dangers and hardships seamen face on a daily basis.

On a ship there can be from 5 to 30 different people. Each represents a different family and often 2-6 different nationalities are represented. On a cruise liner this is magnified and can be likened to visiting a whole village made up of different nationalities. My average in Cork each day is to visit 5/6 different ships which can come to any 9 different areas of the port. However sometimes I may spend all day (or evening) visiting one or two ships. It all depends on the needs of the people I meet and how much time they have free. It is important that as many of the ships can be touched in some way by God's love through human hands.

Please pray for my SCFS colleagues in other ports which are much busier than Cork.

On one ship, the men were so excited and really touched not only by the Christmas presents but also by letters, drawings, stories and poems which had been included by some local children.

One Chinese ship was surrounded by barbed wire! I was shocked and wondered if this was some kind of 'prison ship'. No, "it is to prevent pirates from Africa", I was told. There is also an armed guard aboard the ship who has to fire warning shots.

On another Chinese ship, one man who only spoke Chinese took me to his cabin. He was beside himself with joy as he showed me his open Bible and notebook on the table. Also, there was a Chinese booklet I had left the last time the ship was in Cork. Please pray for him – the only English word he could say and kept repeating was "Halleluiah!" He sang Psalm 96 to me in Chinese and cried. I let him phone his wife from my mobile phone.

Finally I boarded an LPG tanker with 16 presents and found 16 Filipino crew. On the notice board it said, "No provisions… food for today, but none for tomorrow… no soap etc. Please Help!" They were quite desperate, and all we could do was bring more presents and groceries as well as a bag of rice from home. They were overcome with gratitude.

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