The Ministry to Seafarers (M2S)

September 2019 Newsletter

Experiences of an Intern

By Donielle Goad

Doni with TFS
Interning at The Ministry to Seafarers (M2S) has been one of the greatest and most unexpected learning experiences of my life so far. If you had asked me a year ago if I wanted to be better equipped for ministry work I would have responded with a wholehearted, “Yes!” but would have had an inaccurate idea of what that equipping would look like. In fact, I would be sitting in a suburban-sized apartment in Columbus, Ohio, looking up the book list for my first seminary course. God had plans to use and equip me, but they were far more creative—and far better— than any I could have come up with.

Shortly after moving to Montreal for my husband’s job this winter, I was introduced to M2S by Sheila Margerrison, whom I met at a Bible study. We folded newsletters together at the Centre and I got to know the ministry better. Thus began a relationship with M2S and its wonderful staff and volunteers.

Fast forward to warmer days and I was a full-time intern working with Patty and going on ship visits with Michelle.

Our New App Unveiled!

Patty has taught me so much about the admin part of my role, which has largely involved the development of the M2S app. I have increasingly learned how to use this valuable technology and am creating content for seafarers and you!

This new app provides resources to supporters, but also opens up MANY new doors of service to seafarers. They can schedule a ride to the Seafarers' Centre, share prayer requests, and download scripture/devotional recordings— all for free! Most importantly, it allows us to stay in touch with them even when they are not in our Port. Seafarers can also connect with one another by discussing what they are learning from the scripture and devotionals we post.

Introducing seafarers to the app is a joy! Recently I had the chance to meet crew members from Turkey and had good conversations with the cook and cadet. The cadet downloaded the app on the spot and wanted me to give her a tour of its features.

With this new technology, we’re working to strengthen the relationship seafarers have with God, one another, and M2S.

One easy and completely free way you can support us in this endeavor is through downloading our app. Why YOU should download our free app:
-Donate easily from your mobile device
-Download free Scripture recordings for non-native English speakers
-Know how to pray for us
-Access timely information (like Christmas parcel videos!)
Thank you for considering supporting us in this way. If you like what you see, please take a minute to give us a sparkling review! :)

Ship Visiting

Though much of my work this summer has been administrative, I also had the privilege of shadowing our chaplain two days a week. I’ve learned much from Michelle about ministry and the value of being available for people. Ship visits are unpredictable. Sometimes seafarers want to talk and sometimes they’re busy or tired…but the very act of going to the ship and being available expresses the love of a God who pursues us. Yes, we offer many physical resources to seafarers, but we also offer the gift of being present— letting them know they are WORTH our time, even if we don’t have a spiritual conversation or sell SIM cards.

In an intern webinar training session with Dr. Jason Zuidema of NAMMA, he brought to our attention the part of Matthew 25 when Jesus talks about visiting those who are sick and in prison. We see in the passage that caring for people’s material needs obviously matters, but making the effort to be with them does as well.

Often in the course of serving others we find ourselves being served by them. I can’t tell you how many times the hospitality of a seafarer has encouraged my heart. I’m incredibly grateful for the opportunities I’ve had to serve, learn, and grow at M2S and pray that God continues to use this amazing ministry for His honor and glory.

Editor’s Note: We wish to thank the North American Maritime Ministry Association for their generous funding for our summer intern.

The Lazy Volunteer

By Evert de Boer

Now that I'm retired and I am still in good health, I like to go overseas to volunteer. But that takes SO much effort: fundraising, visiting churches to get donations, long flights, staying in non-standard accommodations, etc. Yes, I like to volunteer and help people, but some of the effort required holds me back. So, am I a 'lazy volunteer'? (Well, until I volunteer, I cannot be a lazy one, right?)

Is there a way to volunteer without the hassle I described above? Yes, there is a way! With prayer support from some friends of my home church, I volunteered for a week at M2S in Montreal. I drove seafarers from their ship to the Seafarers’ Centre and, later in the evening, back again. After a long time on their ships, the seafarers were glad to be on shore in a relaxed environment. Seafarers really appreciate this break from the ship.

While driving the seafarers, It can be a good time to start a conversation. Most of them enjoy a conversation with somebody else beside the crew they have been with for many (up to 9) months.
A couple of highlights of my week at M2S were:
- During a ride back to their ship, two seafarers and I talked about the church each of us attended.
- One evening I attended the prayer service with some seafarers.
- I was also able to join the M2S chaplain for a ship visit and pray with and for the chief-engineer.
So, by volunteering at M2S I did become ‘the lazy volunteer’. The people I wanted to help came to me. I didn't need to do any fundraising and M2S provided a well-equipped apartment and a transit pass for my stay.

I hope to do it all over again in October.

We also thank Mustafa Altun, Gerard Bondt, Sheila Margerrison and Hans & Cathy Vink for faithfully serving seafarers. Congratulations to Ellen Gao for completing her 60-hour internship at the Seafarers’ Centre. She loved it so much she wants to continue being a regular volunteer! Contact Patty if you’d like to join our dynamic team.

Christmas Parcels

Boxes to Bags

CPD Bag example
Through you we gave 1,600 seafarers Christmas gifts in 2018! With your help, each of these seafarers was given a taste of Christ’s love during the holiday season.

We especially need your help this year because we’re transitioning from BOXES to BAGS. The bags should be approximately 12” by 15”— start with a 14” by 32” piece of any sturdy fabric. Here you’ll find a video on how to make an easy drawstring bag, what you can include in your gift, and more.  This year we also have a short Christmas parcel video for kids:
...and another one for adults:
Both can also be viewed from within the app under Supporters - Get Involved.  

Also, check out our Blog post for the latest information on locations that will be accepting parcels for delivery to Montreal. We will keep updating that information through the fall.

Prayer Requests

  • For safety as our chaplains, Michelle and David, travel to Taiwan for the ICMA Conference (Oct 21-25). Pray for fruitful dialogue and encouragement as they meet with other seafarer welfare agencies around the theme of “Working Together.”
  • Chaplaincy and Care Sunday (Nov 17): For Michelle and David’s encouragement as they extend God’s activity and mission to seafarers visiting the Port of Montreal. Our website and Facebook page will have a message from our chaplains on November 17th. Be sure to “drop by” and leave a comment.
  • That the Christmas Parcel Drive would glorify God and bring joy to seafarers and donors. That the parcels would provide opportunity to share the Gospel. 
  • We continue to seek funding for a new van from various organizations. Pray we’d find favour to cover the remaining $20,000 needed.
  • For discernment as we pray through plans to adapt to the new Ministry Shares system being implemented in 2021.

We covet your regular prayers. LIFEBOAT, our monthly prayer guide has seven prayer requests for the whole month.  Sign up on our website or request to be added.
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