According to press release of Operation Mobilisation, which is the one of the world’s leading mission agencies, good navigation is essential for every ship, but God’s grace and provision has been instrumental in keeping OM Ships International’s Logos Hope – the 12,500 tonne ocean-going vessel staffed by 400 volunteers – on course during the last five years. Since her launch on February 19, 2009, from Koege, Denmark, over 3.5 million visitors have walked up the gangways and hundreds of thousands more have benefitted from the service of crewmembers on shore.
“We rejoice in God’s ongoing provision for His Ship Ministry!” said OM Ships International CEO, Peter Nicoll. “We are humbled by His faithfulness throughout the history of this organisation over more than 40 years. It is our privilege to be stewards of this transformational endeavour in partnership with so many around the world.”
Having sailed the equivalent of 2.7 times around the world since her launch, Logos Hope has made 87 port visits in 48 different countries and territories. Beginning in northern Europe, Logos Hope has visited ports in the Caribbean, West and North Africa, the Near East, the Arabian Peninsula, South Asia and the Far East.
God’s provision extends beyond the practical realities of financial and personnel needs. In 2011, Logos Hope was able to visit ports in Libya and Egypt just weeks before the effects of the Arab Spring were felt there. The visit of Logos Hope to several ports in the Arabian Peninsula at the end of 2013 was a remarkable opportunity to bring knowledge, help and hope to a region still in the process of change.
In January 2014, the first-ever visit of an OM Ship to Trincomalee, Sri Lanka highlighted the ongoing interest in the world’s largest floating book fair, with 73,783 people coming aboard in the short five-day visit. A new record for Logos Hope was set with 18,634 visitors in one day. For people who suffered so much in civil war and then had their lives devastated by the 2004 tsunami, the ship visit was a symbol of hope and freedom.
But these life-transforming opportunities don’t come without perseverance through difficulties and the experience of God’s grace. Launching the ship five years ago was the result of a massive undertaking to buy and renovate a 35-year-old passenger and car ferry into a ship that would bring knowledge, help and hope to the people of the world. The Logos Hope Project was OM’s largest project ever, both financially and in terms of its scope. God’s hand was clearly seen by the team tasked with realising the vision of a ship that would provide a platform to ‘reach everyone in a million ’ – alluding to the one million visitors per year on average that OM Ships has hosted on board it’s vessels over the past 43 years.
“As the Director for the Logos Hope Project I experienced God at work over and over again. It was only through His enabling and the participation of thousands of volunteers and partners that we saw the ship launched into ministry service,” recounts Logos Hope’s current Managing Director Lloyd Nicholas. “Since the launch, we have experienced God’s amazing grace every day. There are more opportunities for a ship-based ministry today than ever before. Even so, recruiting personnel, especially qualified maritime crew is an ongoing challenge. Likewise, the sobering realities of fuel costs, maritime regulations, changing social environments and limited resources are sometimes overwhelming. Nevertheless, we are reminded that the LORD is faithful and we continue to hope in Him.”
As the ministry passes this milestone, a look back over the past five years gives much to celebrate, and many more opportunities to see God’s provision as the ship sails into the future. Towards the end of 2014, the installation phase of the Power Up Logos Hope Project will begin – replacing two generators and the main electrical switchboard, as well as installing a heat recovery system. These measures will make the ship more energy efficient and provide a stronger platform for ministry for many years to come. After a terrific response from partners around the world, financial backing for the project is in a very strong position. The two new generators are presently in storage awaiting shipment to the vessel and work is ongoing to confirm the most suitable shipyard, plan the work and organise opportunities for teams that will serve on shore during this time.
Once the project is complete, the ship will be ready to continue her voyage of hope with many more ports in Asia, Africa, South America and the Caribbean anticipated in the coming years. This impact all around the world is only made possible by the generosity of individuals, churches and other groups. As a special incentive to others at the start of this year, a generous friend of the ministry has made a $750,000 matching grant available, effectively doubling the value of any gift towards Logos Hope’s operating costs up to that amount. You can invest in this life-transforming ministry by giving online at www.uk.om.org/fuel