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All at sea without a Bible


Thursday 23 April 2015

When Nailuis Marcel had his luggage stolen in Paris, the most keenly felt loss was of his Bible. The Polish seafarer did not have time to replace it before joining the crew of bulk carrier MV Star Aurora. As a result, he had no access to the word of God in his own language on the long trip from Paris to Western Australia. So when the cargo ship docked at Dampier in northwest WA, he walked into the Dampier Seafarers Centre.

As well as finding hospitality, Marcel was surprised and delighted to be given a Polish Bible to replace his lost one. In a letter of thanks, he praised the chaplains and volunteers for their warmth and love, saying they “always made us feel at home”. He also thanked them for their prayers for his family in Ukraine.

Marcel was one of more than 7000 foreign seafarers who were welcomed at the Dampier Seafarers Centre last year. As well receiving practical help and hospitality, hundreds of them accepted Bibles, John’s Gospel and Christian DVDs, largely provided by Bible Society.

Leading a ministry to seafarers called the Flying Angel Club, Rev Ian McGilvray visits every ship that comes to port in Dampier and shares the gospel with crew members wherever appropriate.

Port Hedland Seafarers Centre in WA received a Bible Society scripture grant in 2013.“Many of these ships are on a regular route between eastern Asia and Dampier, so on many of them we have been able to establish good relationships,” he says. “I always leave several gospels and tracts. Later this frequently leads to a request for a full Bible or New Testament. We now have about 20 ships visiting Dampier that are doing a regular Bible study.”

One grateful crew member, Peter Arturu of the MV Spring Bright, wrote to thank McGilvray “for the Bibles and the Bible study material  helps us in our walk with God. In our last meeting before arriving in Dampier we had nine members of the crew at the study.  Thank you also for supporting us in prayer while we are at sea.”

McGilvray estimates that about 24,000 people were reached last year through the ministry of the Dampier Seafarers Centre supported by Bible Society.

“The Bibles we give out encourage seafarers to be part of the studies and to grow in their faith and knowledge of God,” he says.

“Most if not all are delighted to receive a Bible and I know that those ships that have Bible studies enjoy the fellowship as they search the scriptures together.”

McGilvray says it would be very helpful to have gospels in more languages, such as Mandarin, Hindi, Indonesian, Tagalog and Ukrainian.

Captain Ramos Jabain commented that thanks to all the donated Bibles and studies, “We are now able to have a service every Sunday at 1900.  As we meet we remember your service in the chapel at the same time. May God bless you and those who work with you.”

 To help Bible Society provide Scriptures to chaplains in frontline services, please click on the link below.











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