Friday, October 30, 2009

October Activies

It proably doesn't surprise you to learn that Chim considers evangelism of seafarers a personal thing. It is how he tries to simply and understandably communicate the Gospel to each person he comes in contact with. He tries to rely on the Holy Spirit to use his words and actions to witness to others. He listens and expresses his love and concern by showing genuine interest in the seafarers while trusting the Holy Spirit to lead him into truth while guiding his footsteps, actions and words to minister to the needs of others. As chaplain he tries to demonstrate the Cross by loving others as Christ loves us and gave Himself for us. As I John 3:16 says "This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers." Seafarers are often lonely people and respond to the love Chim shows in tangible ways. He provides transportation, companionship, time and energy that seems in endless supply. He has been available to help seafarers in any way he can. When strict security keeps many on board without shore passes, Chim visits them and tries to care for their needs. He prays for them, has services for them, gives them the cell phones to use and provides phone cards to call their families at home. He hands out Gospel literature, Bibles, DVDs and CDs. On October 20th Chim left for an extended time in New Mexico and the job of taking care of family business. He has postponed this trip many times because of seafarers needs. His fervent prayer involves asking the Lord to sent someone to help him care for the needs of this ministry. Please join us in this prayer and also that the work in New Mexico would be accomplished quickly so he can come back to the ministry he loves.
The Lutheran Church of the Cross in Arcadia provided an opportunity for LMM to receive 29 copies of Chinese New Testaments and Psalms from the Chinese Book Inc. This was an answer to prayer as the opportunity to speak to Chinese seafarers continues to increase. Thank you for the blessing this represents and Pastor Charlie Wang for being the connect the Lord used. On October 25th Chim was invited to speak at Lutheran Redeemer Church Leisure World in Seal Beach but since he was in New Mexico on business I took his place. I shared the mission and short vision of LMM in the Mission Moment portion of the service. It was a beautiful day and we had a wonderful time at their delicious Bratwurst Octoberfest Luncheon following the service. Another speaking opportunity is scheduled for November 8th at St. Stephen's Lutheran Church in Granada Hills during their Education Hour at 10:30 am. More about that next month.

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Last Sunday, August 30th, we were invited on board the APL Illinois. (APL stands for American President Lines. ) Chim was ask to preach. He's done this before on this vessel. Strangely, this time, in the middle of his talk someone started asking questions about why we were trying to convince them that "God was angry and sin was bad"! He wanted to know "What is sin, anyway?" Chim gave a good calm explanation and the meeting came to an end. Turns out the man who ask the questions is into witchcraft! There were 19 men at the meeting and I was proud of how Chim demonstrated Christ's love to this man. He spent the day running around taking the crew to different locations, BestBuy, Cosco, etc. I helped out by taking the crew from another ship to do their errands.

Chim has been busy daily with seafarers. He drove one to a doctor's appointment to see a specialist in Tustin. That was a great opportunity to talk to him about spiritual things on the drive.

We've had 4-5 men from the crew of another ship here the last two nights for dinner and games. One of the seafarers gave Chim a tee shirt and me some Christmas decorations. How thoughtful! We gave them the Mexican Train Dominoes game set we'd been playing for the past 2 evenings!

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Christmas in July 2009

Last Sunday (July 26) Chaplain Chim, Fay and Usha visited the Lutheran Church of Our Savior in San Bernardino for their annual Christmas in July shoebox gift drive for the seafarers. This church has been very faithful in caring for the mariners in this fashion for many years. Praise God they have a heart for this ministry. This year between early and late services, we were treated to a lovely sausage and hotcake breakfast as the church also raised funds for the youth's Christmas program.

On Monday Chaplain Chim and Fay went on board the MOL Presence to hold a service for the men there. About a dozen seamen came including the Muslim captain. He was very gracious to us and he heard the Gospel message along with the others present. We have an invitation to return next time their are in port. We are praying for help in this ministry. We'd love to be able to visit many more ships but manpower is down. However, the Lord's power is always up! Join us in asking Father for more workers for the harvest.

An APL ship came to port on Tuesday and the chief officer invited us on board. The morale has been very low according to the crew and they ask Chim to pray. This brand new ship was involved in an accident on it's maiden voyage. The captain was held responsible and was replaced (even though this ship was at anchor at the time of the accident). After having a conversation with the Chief Officer and Chief Engineer, Chim felt spiritually uncomfortable on this ship. The crew and officers were very concerned and ask for prayer. Chim prayed against the power of darkness and blessed the ship and ask for peace and guidance for the staff and crew. Please join us in praying for them and a very sick family member of one of the crew who's suffering from a very low white blood count.

Friday, June 26, 2009

June Opportunities

For the first time Chaplain Chim was able to attend the annual Southern California Synod meeting. This year it was held June 5-7th in Thousand Oaks on the Cal Lutheran campus. He was able to share a ride with LMM Board of Director's Ron Nelson. They enjoyed the opportunity to spend more time together. Early Saturday morning Fay and Usha drove up to the campus in order to help Chim, Ron, and LMM Board member, Mary Stewart, represent LMM in a 3 minute skit presented to the assemley's members. Ron introduced the skit and we all acted as seafarers (donning watch caps and jackets as costumes) waiting to be picked up by Chim with the blue LMM van. We each gave a very brief message of what LMM's services meant to us. Like Fay said, "I really appreciate going to Chaplain Chim's home and having the opportunity to use the computer and a home cooked meal". Usha said something like how much using the phones and having the phone cards available enabled her to call home to India. In her bit, Mary told how she liked to hear Chaplain Chim's testimony and learn more about God. The skit gave a very brief overview to the assemly's body of what LMM means to the seafarers. Over the weekend, we had a table representing LMM with Christmas shoe boxes, knitted watch caps with instructions and posters with photos of seafarers at different times. We were able to talk with visitors to our table and speak more indepth about this ministry.

The NAMMA (North American Maritime Ministry Association) conference was in Houston, Texas, from June 9-11th. Thanks to the courtesy of LMM's Board of Directors, Chim was able to attend. Fay accompanied him for free (as a spouse) and was also able to spend time with Sister Virginia Sharma who also went to the conference. Virginia seemed to know everyone there and it was a great seg-way for her to be able to introduce Chim as the new Chaplain. While in Houston we were hosted at the Norwegian Seafarers' church for dinner the first evening. There were lots of meetings with good and interesting speakers but the keynote one for Chim was Dr. Robert Creech's address called "Transformed by Chirst and His Community. He also brought the following day's chief address. That evening there was a chartered dinner cruise around the Port of Houston. We were very pleased to be able to see the Port of Houston and compare it to the Ports of LB/LA.! We were very thankful to finally meet Janet Swanson who we have been hearing about for years. She works at the Port Huyenme Seafarers' center and has done some amazing things for the mariners. We missed the banquet on the final evening as we had to drive to Dallas for our flights back to LA. Chim made new friends and contacts and has already heard from the Executive Secretary, Lloyd Burghart of NAMMA. Rev. Andy Krey ask Chim to lead worship service the last morning which he was honored to do. He spoke about Jonah's discouragement after being used by the Lord God in Nineveh to turn the people to repentance. The NAMMA conference was a time of refreshing and connecting with the Lord and other seafarer ministries. A time of sharing discouragement and reconnecting with our vision from the Lord for seafarers.

It was great to see Sister Virginia again. She has lost some weight, had a heart stent placed and seems to have much more energy following her surgery. She is doing very well in her new home along with her daughter, Lauren, and son-in-law, Mike. They have two new adopted dogs since our last visit together in August ' with only three legs called May Lean and as Virginia likes to say "May Lean" or "May not"! May is a Boston terrier. The vet said she had been hit by a car and had her leg broken in 2 places. It had happened perhaps a week before Virginia found her and rescued the poor animal! May is thriving under the fellowship of the other dogs and Virginia love for her! Vishal, Virginia and Vinay's son, is also living in Dallas with his wife Ritu and loves the opportunities Texas offers. They just bought a new 4 bedroom house only 10 minutes from his work and 10 minutes from the shopping area. They are very close to Virginia and the whole family gets together frequently for birthdays, holidays and visits. It was great to see them all again.

Since Chim received his TWIK card he has been able to board the ships again. He's making it a priority to try and visit at least a ship a day along with all the running around he does for the seafarers. We had 3 guys here on Wednesday evening for ice cream sundaes and some fun together. Chim gave his testimony and DVDs with the Gospel message to the fellows.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Three men from Hyundai

In years past, we have had lots of very pleasant dealings with men from Hyundai ships but had somehow lost contact with many as crews and officers change. Last night Chim was able to bring 3 seafarers from a new Hyundai ship for dinner at about 9pm. He had told me that one guy was coming but, thank goodness, our friend Usha is here and she made an extra dish. (She made a succulent chicken curry while I made more rice so it turned out that we had enough food for everyone.) Old friends, Rommel Vather, and his son, Stephen, dropped by for some Christian fellowship at the same. When everyone was leaving, Chim ask Rommel to pray for the men from the ship. They appreciated the prayer. The men will be back in 35 days, God willing, and Rommel promised to stop by and visit with them again. This pleased the men very much. They get very lonely on board the vessel and this gives them something to look forward to. One of the seafarers, Logesh, had been at our house earlier in the week and our granddaughter, Nina (6 months), surprisingly went straight to him and put her head on his shoulder for some time! We were all quite amazed. This young cadet brought her a little sun suit as a gift last night! We are so astonished when seafarers so often bring us gifts of appreciation. It makes us very humble in our service to them.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Visitor during LMM Board meeting

At the LMM Board on Friday, May 15th, Chaplain Chim told how busy he has been at the Port of Los Angeles/Long Beach recently. He reported visiting a total of 14 ships since the last LMM Board meeting. There was a visitor from First Lutheran in Torrance that accompanied Mary Stewart to this month's board meeting. We had the pleasure of meeting Terry Wall at this session and hope that she decides to join us again soon. She expressed an interested in possibly driving the van once a month to provide transportation for the seafarers but has made no commitment at this time. We would love to have her join our board and we are still actively seeking others to assist us in this once a month activity. Think about it?

Chim was recently told by some of the seafarers that 3 of the ships he normally visits are being sent to anchor for 3 months because there is no cargo for them to transport. This contributes to low morale amongst the seafarers at this time of limited job availability. As their contracts come to an end so does their ability to earn a living. Add to that that ships are crewing even more minimally than ever and this leads to further fatigue for the crews! It is more important than ever to be available to the seafarers. Please pray that the Lord would continue to open doors and hearts to the Chaplain. Let's remember Romans 12:5 that affirms that "we are all one body in Christ, we belong to each other, and each of us needs all the others ".

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Captain Parekh of the MOL Presence (middle)

Glad to inform you that Chaplain Chim is back in full swing with the seafarers now. He visits ships and serves seafarers nearly on a daily basis. Yesterday morning he and Rajiv Pathik visited the MOL Presence and held a service for the mariners. It was a wonderful time for the men on board and Chim came back much encouraged. It was wonderful to have Rajiv and Anna Pathik here for the weekend from the Bay area with their 21 month old daughter, Eva. Good news is that they are expecting their second child come the end of July. Chim really appreciated Rajiv's assistance over the weekend and enjoyed fellowshiping together.

WOW! It's been so long since we blogged that we had quite a hassle trying to remember our password and address! We have been busy getting a hard copy newsletter out to all who are signed up to receive them. It's been 2 years since we published our last hard copy and started using the blog but seems some people prefer the old one. If you do not receive one and would like to get a hard copy, just email us your mailing address and we will add you to the list.

There was a seafarer who was left behind when his ship sailed because he had an emergency surgery and was unable to travel. His name is Mr. Chaudhruy. The ship's agent called Chim and ask for assistance in helping him find vegetarian food. We were pleased that he was here for lunch and dinner yesterday. Captain Parekh also joined us from the Presence us for an Indian vegetarian dinner. Chim was able to share the Good News with them both.

On a daily basis we are receiving emails from traveling seafarers. We correspond with them and encourage them to seek peace from our Lord. They express their thanks for our prayers for them and look forward to returning to the Port of Long Beach/Los Angeles.

On May 2nd, Sadie Mursu, our LMM Board secretary, introduced us nicely at the Women's Cluster meeting at Our Redeemer Lutheran Church in Bellflower. We enjoyed meeting Pastor Mary Todd-Pendergast, who gave a devotional about "new life" from II Cor.5:17. The other women of the Cluster listened attentively as we spoke about Lutheran Maritime Ministry. We are available with PowerPoint and Open Office presentations as needed if you'd like someone to share about the ministry.

Monday, February 23, 2009

The return to normal LA time has taken a while! Jetlag hung onto us for nearly 2 weeks. Happy to report Chim is finally back to normal. We enjoyed our LMM board meeting here on 13th as it gave us opportunity to update all the members at once. Hearnen continues to supply the telephones to the seafarers and Chim is beginning to get back into the routine of visiting ships. Chim had the chance to share the Gospel with Raymond, a Phillipino seafarer from a Maersk vessel, while driving him back to his ship prior to departure. Pray the seed of the Word was planted in receptive soil of the heart.

We'd like to report that the port of Long Beach is going "green" by supplying power to ships that are equiped with special fittings so that they can turn off their diesel engines while docked thus saving the port pollution. Using shoreside power is about 90 percent cleaner than burning diesel fuel. So far only 5 "K" Line vessels have been equipped with the necessary fittings to plug into the new wharf. More will come as Long Beach continues to go green.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

The care of seafarers during November thru January

Hearen Christian and the Board of Lutheran Maritime Ministries have done a superior job of maintaining support for the seafarers at the ports of Long Beach and Los Angeles during our absence. Not only did they distribute the wonderful Christmas boxes provided by faithful Lutheran churches but Hearen continued the daily availability for transportation and spiritual services the folks at the ports have come to expect from LMM. Thank you does not say how very grateful we are to the Lord and His servants!

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Our visit to India ends tomorrow!

Tomorrow is our last day in India. The time has slipped by very quickly in terms of seeing different places and enhancing friendships. We have visited many of the seafarers that ask us to but by no means all.

At present we are with Captain Sanjay Bhatia and his family in Delhi. We have known him for several years. Four years ago Fay was able to take them to Sea World in San Diego. The kids have grown up so much since then. Neha is in her 3rd year of law school and Manish is in 7th grade. Sanjay’s wife, Geeta, is a wonderful cook so we’ve enjoyed her talent very much.

The Lord has used this time in India to impress upon me the importance of hospitality and how we express our love through it’s use. Chim says he's learnt the importance of love in action and is looking forward to returning home to put into practice what he's learnt. The next 10 days we will be in Thailand with Handclasp ministry and then home.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Visiting South India

Yesterday we arrived in Trivandrum, the capital of Kerala, India. We are visiting the chief Electrician, Ranjan, that we met from the Spar Lupus in Long Beach. We actually changed our travel plans because of this man's insistence that we visit him! He is most gracious and a wonderful host. We tried saying we wanted to stay at a hotel but he refused and I'm glad he did because he lives in a very peaceful, tree surrounded area that is beautiful. Plus this gives us time to meet his family, wife and 2 daughters. Last night he drove us around the city and we met his friend, Father Peter at St. Joesph's 100+ year old Catholic church and visited a 2,000 year old temple in the middle of town!

Since our last entry on this blog we visited Jaipur, the pink city in Gujarat. What a treat! It was so well planned out 300 years ago that cars can drive in even the oldest part of town. The bazaars are lively and colorful, unfortunately, our bags are full and the weight we can carry by plane has been lowered so Chim informed me there would be no shopping for me!

We traveled back to Punjab for Christmas. The day turned out to be just like all others as no one celebrates like we do unless they are in big cities! We had 2 speaking engagements without a Christmas tree in sight! Needless to say there were no gifts and their "Christmas carols" are regular worship songs. Nevertheless we remembered the birth and death of our Lord Jesus Christ.

We did cut our trip short in Punjab to increase our opportunities to visit our other friends around India. New Year's found us in the far north at Dehradun a city very near the Himalayas. We visited the Torchbearers' school with Satish John and his lovely wife. (Chim and I first met at the Torchbearers' school at Capernwray, Carnforth, England in 1966! Satish was a student there too.) We were invited to stayed with Captain Jayant Kumboli and family and were treated like royalty. His wife and daughter were so sweet to us we were sad to leave. They insisted we visit Missouri, a famous hill station during our stay. Amazing to see how they build a city on the edge of a mountain ridge!