Our Secret: (Jellybeans and Wi-Fi)
What do seafarers want most? A Wi-Fi connection to home
This picture sums up the joy of this ministry. It's morning for us, but it's evening in his home country in Europe. I wish you could see the screen on his smartphone. Thanks to our free Wi-Fi, he's putting each of his kids to bed. A "goodnight kiss" from dad from half a world away.
When we come on board to bless the crew. We bring our 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, pens and pocket notebooks. They cheer when we bring out the huge jar of jelly beans. Finally we lay out some Gospel literature and JESUS DVDs.
Then we just sit back and visit for three or four hours. We eat together, laugh, talk about work, family and our respective countries. 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 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."
This is the beauty of focusing on repeat vessels. Sometimes we meet after a few weeks and pick up the conversation right where it left off. Friendships deepen. Trust is built. Christ is shared and taught freely. And we hear about Buddha and Krishna. That's okay. We're men at peace. Christ is honored.