Our Secret: Relationships
What do seafarers want most? Relationships
Seafarers live in their own world. Almost everyone they meet is on board because it's their job.
What they appreciate is someone who comes on board who simply kicks back, chats, laughs, shares a meal, listens and gives encouragement and hope.
We come on board to bless the crew. We bring our free portable Wi-Fi router to the mess room and let them connect. For a while they are almost home. One man said to me, "Your Wi-Fi helps us stay faithful. Talking with my wife takes away temptations."
And we bring free socks, knit hats, toothbrushes, pens and pocket notebooks. They cheer when they see us coming with two dozen donuts. Then we lay out a couple Bibles, some Jesus Calling books, a few JESUS DVDs and Our Daily Bread.
Then we just sit back and visit for as long as we can. Sometimes we talk about life and our faiths...and that naturally brings Jesus into the conversation. No pressure. They discover we're safe to talk with.
And before leaving, we share a few Words from the Bible with whoever is around. Then we pray for their safe travels and their family at home.
A captain once said to me,
"You are the only one who visits our ship. I have pleaded at other ports for them to send someone,
but no one comes."
By focusing on repeat vessels, we often renew conversations that began two months earlier. Friendships deepen. Trust is built. Christ is shared and taught freely. Sure, we hear about Buddha and Krishna. But that's okay. We're men at peace. We're safe to talk to. Christ is honored. If they trust us, hopefully they will trust our Message of Jesus Christ.