Thursday, July 31, 2008

Christmas in July in San Bernardino

Sunday, July 29th, Chim and Fay visited the Lutheran Church of Our Savior, ELCA, on Sierra Way in San Bernardino. We spoke with the congration at two services. We were able to present a PowerPoint presentation featuring the responsibilities of a chaplain for the seafarers. These responsibilities include providing for the seafarers spiritual needs, transportation needs, communication needs (providing cell phones and computer access), visiting the sick and hospitalized when needed, visiting the ships and praying for the vessels and crews. Providing Bible study and the Gospel is also done as the Lord opens the doors. We also feel that inviting the crews to our home for fellowship and a home cooked meal or snack is part of our responsiblities as these activities have a huge impact on the mariners.

The folks at Our Savior were very welcoming and encouraging to us. Once again they provided many, many Christmas gift boxes (wrapped shoe boxes with personal toiletteries). Last Christmas at the ports of Long Beach and Los Angeles, we gave out about 3,000 gifts mostly provided by Lutheran churches! Many of the boxes contain homemade "watch caps" which the men use at sea to keep their heads covered and warm while on duty.

Many people at Our Savior gave us gifts of money to be used for the seafarers. We were very grateful for their thoughtfulness. After our visist we felt refreshed and strengthen by the warm fellowship and support provided by Our Savior. In fact, as soon as we arrived home, Chim was out the door again to visit the Yang Ming March that had docked the previous night. We have a long relationship with this ship and her crew as we have been able to visit her since her maiden voyage some years ago. She has a complete new crew and as well as a new Captain. The Captain ask Chim to pray, give communion and to bless the ship before it sailed. This is particularily unusual as the Captain is an Indian of the Hindu faith! He simply said he wanted his ship blessed and we were the only ones willing to do it!

Intervarsity Missionaries from Guyana Visit Us

Our friends, Parrot & Devi Sahayam are visiting us in route to India. Their Thai Airlines flight was cancelled and we have several more days than anticipated together. Mr. Devi Sahayam chose to use this time to visit a ship with Chaplain Chim and this was his comment following the visit:


Yesterday was my first experience of accompanying Chaplain Chim Mandalia on a ship visit. My wife and I were his house guests on transit from Guyana to India. We reached the port quite early and were waiting for the bus to take us to the ship. Bro Chim was carrying a box full of Gospels, New Testaments and Bibles. I realized that it is a hard job, carrying these boxes and climbing steep steps of the ship, day after day.

The bus dropped us near the ship. When we climbed the steps, there was no one on the reception place and we had to wait patiently for the man to come and let us in. Again we had to wait in the Ship Office for sometime before the officer took us to the dining hall where we had the service.

The Captain walked in and welcomed us warmly. He appeared to be extremely happy to have us visit and bless his ship and the crew. The were sailing the same evening. The service was very good. Bro Chim explained the gospel clearly from john chapter 3. The crew listened well. During the Holy Communion service I could further explain the gospel and allow them to pray, before the prayer of confession.

After the service, the captain spent some time with us. He is a middle aged gentleman from a Hindu family in India. He appeared to be greatly blessed by the ministry this morning. When he took us to the bridge, we prayed with him and blessed the ship, the captain, the crew and their families. His eyes swelled with tears and he was very grateful to God for His blessings.

As we were coming out, a sailer came and shared about a death in the family, another wanted a Bible to read, and the others thanked us for coming. We were very touched by their response. One of the crew wanted to check his emails as he had left his wife just after their first baby was born. Bro Chim took him home and allowed him to use the computer. Sis Fay and my wife dropped him in the port when he was through.

I am very grateful for the ministry to the sailors. It is like Philip meeting the Ethiopean Officer on the road and ministring to him. History says, the gospel went to his country through him and blessed the land. The Day of the Lord will reveal how many families and nations were blessed through this effective ministry. As a family we would like to continue to be prayer partners with this ministry to sailers.

Thank you.

intervarsity missionary staff in Guyana

P 0 B0X 10586

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

2nd week of July starts with a bang!

Sunday, July 6th, Chim was able visit 3 ships and 4 crews. Cosco Yokohama came back from the European route after 6 months. Most of the crew was European and some Pilipinos. Chim was able to provide their needs for phone cards and telephones. Chim was able to visit MOL Prosperity and the crew was excited to see him again. Good to see some old friends on board but new Captain and Chief Engineer. Took them to "Little India" in Artesia for a good dinner and then touring in Hollywood. This is always a treat for the seafarers. After dropping them off, Chim found 3 cadets and the 3rd Engineer from a Maersk ship and brought them home with 4 guys from another ship. We gave them snacks and freedom to use the computer and telephones and just make themselves at home. We stocked up the new Indian lads with some store bought Indian food we had on hand. (European ships don't usually cater to the Indian palate!) The new cadets were particular amazed at this hospitality. After leaving our home Chim took the 8 guys all to Walmart until closing. He then dropped them back to the ships they came from.

Monday, July 7th, Chim picked up the 2nd Engineer, his wife, 3 year old daughter, 4nd Engineer, and the wife of the Chief Engineer from the Prosperity. He took them to Best Buys, sightseeing in Signal Hill, Cosco for shopping and then brought them home for fellowship and a bit of home time for them. In the evening Chim took them back to the ship and proceeded to pick-up a crew (6 people) from Maersk. One of the seafarers had a stomach problem and ask to hear Chim's testimony. Chim later prayed for him.

Tuesday, July 8th, Chim picked up some crew from Yang Ming March for drop-off and then he proceded to pick up our telephones from ships leaving the harbor.

Sunday, July 6, 2008

The first week of July

This week found Chim very busy as he visited at least one or more ships each day before the holiday (4th of July). He found one Chinese ship where only one officer had a shore pass - so Chim took both phones down for the crew to use to call home. He spent a whole day with the Chief Engineer from that ship helping him get all his shopping needs taken care of.

On Tuesday the Lord brought a man that we had visited on a ship 2 years ago back into our lives. Lobo, from India, reminded us that we met on the Yang Ming March when Captain Bhati was in command. We clearly remembered him. He had lost our card and therefore contact with us. Anyway, he ask if he could come to the house for prayer! Chim invited him home and we had a lovely, unhurried time of Bible study and pray together. Later we had a barbecue lunch on the front patio that included tandoori chicken, grilled shrimp, rice and salad. Lobo was thrilled that he had so much one-on-one time with Chim and very encouraged in his Christian walk. We also shared the joy of fellowshipping together with him and felt encouraged that he wanted to pray with us.

On my birthday, Chim took me and our family out to dinner at the local Greek restaurant, George's. As we walked to the restaurant after parking the car on Pine Street, Chim was greeted by 3 seafarers' that recognized him from previous visits! He was so busy chatting to them as we walked to the restaurant that he didn't even notice when we arrived! (He made arrangements to met with them again later and we had a great dinner!)

Thursday evening we had a chance to attend a Bible study on the book of Psalms reading chapter 92. The particular passage that struck me was 92:12-14

"The righteous flourish like the palm tree

and grow like a cedar in Lebanon.

They still bear fruit in old age;

they are ever full of sap and green"

What a wonderful promise He has given us! Vitality and a meaningful
time seeking Him and spending time in His word!