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 '08...one 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.