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About seafarers and Port of Hope...

A seafarer's life is always lonely, often boring, sometimes dangerous and occasionally terrifying.
Port of Hope Ministries exists to glorify God by bringing the care and compassion of Christ to international seafarers.
We help lift their burden of loneliness and boredom, listen to their stories from home and to their hurts and worries.
We build the spirit of the seafarer with encouragement and words of hope.
We encourage morality and integrity in their personal lives.
We strengthen their spiritual character and when appropriate, share our faith in Jesus Christ with gentleness and respect.

Phil DuFrene
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Phil and Debbie DuFrene started Port of Hope Ministries in 2002. Because they lived on the Canadian border and have US and Canadian nationality, a year later they started Port of Hope Ministries Canada.

Phil has been a missionary and missionary pilot in Indonesia and northern Canada. He was a flight instructor at Trinity Western University in Langley, British Columbia. While teaching at Trinity, Phil was exposed to seafarers ministry and his interest grew from there.


He and Debbie worked with Campus Crusade for Christ's (now CRU) JESUS Film Project from 1991 to 2006.

Phil is originally from Minnesota. He is a commissioned Workplace Chaplain with the North American Mission Board of the Southern Baptists.

Sadly, Debbie passed from cancer in 2018. They have four adult kids (Jesse, Pete, Steve and Raman Elizabeth) and six grandchildren. Phil lives three blocks south of the Canadian border in Sumas, Washington.

Phil was a Civil War re-enactor battlefield chaplain (Union) for 16 years, and later a Southern war journalist. (Privately, though, he is a Northern spy in the Southern camp!) He says his experience as a re-enactor chaplain was his best school of chaplaincy. These experiences, plus experience in the military, police, private security and prison ministry, became the foundation of Port of Hope's ministry style.


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His hobbies are woodworking and writing. He specializes in turning pens and unique wooden boxes. He's always has a story or poem he's working on.


And yes, he always writes with a fountain pen.

Why focus on "...building strong Christian seafarers."
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I look for them on every ship, but there aren't many of them out there...true, committed Christian seafarers. One Filipino officer said to me, "I've sailed for 25 years. Most of the time I've been the only true believer on board."

This is the greatest reason we exist: to find Christian seafarers, bless and help them in their Christian walk.

Just like you and me, Christian seafarers live and work among people who have no interest in Christ. But they have no church or fellowship to retreat to. Subtle harassment is common. Temptation is everywhere.

Our goal is to find them, listen to their stories, encourage them and let them know they're not alone. Then stay in contact on social media. During the COVID days increasing our online chaplain ministry.

One seaman said, "I just want to keep my faith strong and return home without being ashamed of anything I've done."

In the early 2000s, I was visiting with a Burmese officer. He was the only Christian on his vessel. I asked him, "If I have 10 minutes to spend with someone before I have to leave...should I spend it with a non-Christian or a Christian?"

In an instant he replied, "The Christian. The non-Christian will just want to about anything. But you don't know where the Christian is in his life. He may be ready to give up. The devil would love that. Plus, he can tell them about Christ better than you. He knows the language, the culture and the men. Spend those 10 minutes with the Christian."

That short conversation changed Port of Hope.


Jesus served people with deep love and compassion. He never had prerequisites for his care and he expected anything in return. He just fed and healed them, spoke about the Father and true faith and asked them to follow him. Some followed. Some didn't.


Our seafarers are Hindus, Sikhs, Buddhists, Muslims, humanists and atheists, and Christians of all kinds. We're not evangelists, preachers or missionaries to them. We are chaplains. Chaplains care for people without regard to their rank or status, political beliefs, lifestyle preferences or religion. A troubled or grieving heart needs a gentle touch.

We truly believe our task is to simply serve our Lord, and by our deeds, attitude and words, bring others one step closer to

Jesus...whatever that step might be.

We believe his Message of forgiveness, peace and hope is so precious we are obliged to share our hope in Christ with gentleness and respect when the time is proper and the setting appropriate. (1 Peter 3:15)


Seafarers know we're Christians, and sometimes the greatest message for that moment is simply that they see Christ in us...see his deep love and compassion...with no prerequisites and asking nothing in return.

That's chaplaincy.

Statement of Faith

We believe the Holy Scriptures of the Old Testament and New Testament are the inerrant, inspired, and infallible Word of God. God’s Word is the final authority for faith and life.

We believe there is only one God, and He has chosen to reveal Himself as God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit.

We believe man was created in the image of God and the sin of Adam (the first man) marred that image, creating an eternal divide between God and man. Every person is born in sin.


We believe the only way a person can have a true, forgiven relationship with God is through Jesus Christ’s sacrifice on the cross. Jesus was born of the Virgin Mary and conceived by the Holy Spirit. Jesus became man without ceasing to be God. Our right standing with God is made sure because of His literal, physical resurrection.

We believe in the literal, physical return of Jesus to judge the living and the dead. 


We believe God offers eternal life as a free gift and that it must be received by faith alone through God’s grace alone. Rebirth from spiritual death in sin to spiritual life in Christ is granted by God the Holy Spirit and is a permanent possession of the one receiving it.


We believe in the present ministry of the Holy Spirit to indwell the Christian and enable them to live a godly life.

We believe in the spiritual unity of all true believers in our Lord Jesus Christ regardless of their culture, style or means of worship, and devotion. It is each believers duty to share the message of Christ within their context of home, work and culture.

We believe believer’s baptism and the Lord’s Supper are the two ordinances of the church.

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