Seafarer's Ministry Newsletter

September 2016

Caring for the Port Community

The month of August brought with it many exciting opportunities to minister to the crew members of the ships that called on Port Tampa Bay.  We were able to visit 51 ships in August.  We transported 68 seafarers to shopping areas and to the seafarers center.  We had 21 Seafarers visit the center during the month.  Each month we are able to minister to approximately 1,000 crew members on cruise ships and 1,100 crew members on cargo vessels.  We appreciate your prayers and support which makes all of this possible.

Cruise Ship Ministry: How we do it

We are blessed to be able to board the cruise ships as they come into Port Tampa Bay and minister to the crew members who are from all around the world.  Cruise ship life is not easy and includes long hours, very little time off and hard work.  The crew members have few resources and many are hungry for a relationship with Jesus Christ.  Faithful volunteers like Ben and Doris Findsen (pictured below) who are members of Idlewild Baptist Church go on board the cruise ship and provide a Christian presence for the crew members. 

Some of the things we are able to do is take on board are Bibles, Christian books, Gospel tracts, Christian music CD’s and Sermon CD’s from local churches.  These items are very popular among the crew.  I always judge how my day was on the ship on how heavy my bag is when I leave.  It is heavy when I go on board and if it is light when I leave, it has been a good day.  Most days it is very light.  One of the most important items that we have available for the crew members is a prayer list.  They can list their request or simply their name and we pray for them during the week until their return.  I have had several crew members come to me and tell me how much it means to them to know someone is praying for them. 

Another items we are able to offer the crew is a book written by Martin Otto the port missionary in Hamburg Germany that deals with temptation, one of the worst problems we deal with onboard a cruise ship.  Because Martin has spent over 25 years in port missions he understands the problems seafarers face and can relate to them from their perspective and point them to the Savior to help them with whatever temptation they are dealing with.  One crew member on the cruise ship came to us and said that for the last five years he had been an alcoholic but after reading the book Help:  How Can I Overcome Temptation that he has been able to remain sober.  In the second picture below you can see two beautiful young ladies that work on the cruise ship.  One is from Zimbabwe and one is from Thailand.  The girl from Zimbabwe is a Christian and said she hopes to be able to lead her friend to Christ with the help of Martin’s book. 

It is such a blessing for us to be able to be a part of these wonderful people’s lives and to have a part in them coming to know Jesus Christ the Savior.  If you would like to partner with us in providing books like the one Martin Otto wrote you can make a donation specifically for that purpose.

UPCOMING EVENTS
Mark your calendars for October 8th for our big fundraiser the Anchor Ball.  You can sign up for sponsorships or buy tickets at the website www.AnchorBall.org


VOLUNTEER OPPORTUNITIES
We have many exciting volunteer opportunities available at the Tampa Seafarers Center.  The most critical need we have right now is for volunteer drivers to help transport the crew members from the cruise ship to the mall and Walmart.  If you are interested in helping out with this project please let us know.  The dates we need drivers for are as follows: 
Saturday September 3rd
Thursday September 8th
Monday September 12th
Saturday September 17th
Thursday September 22nd
Monday September 26th

The hours needed are 9:00 am until 3:00 pm.  This is an awesome opportunity to interact with seafarers from all around the globe. 

You can see many other volunteer opportunities on our website at www.tampaportministries.com/volunteer/our-need/ or call us at 813-247-5237 or by email at info@tampaportministries.com