Rather than asking Teus Kappers for permission to upload that little film to YouTube I just did it, as I believe the more people who see it the better.
Teus did the graveside service when my Mother died. It so touched me that this man would come from Vancouver on little notice to do this for us, the family.
The Ministry used to have rather a more graphic depiction of life at sea for these sailors in an earlier documentary which they would show at any Church that would let them.
My involvement with this Ministry is the same as yours.
I watch from afar.
My mother and father were founders of the local chapter of this ministry and every year my mother would get her friends to knit toques and scarves for these sailors.
Being young and knowing everything, it would embarress me that she would think this was really something worth doing. THEN I saw the earlier documentary.
What alot of people do not know is that many of these sailors go to sea untrained, uneducated, living a life of virtual endentured servitude at the behest of their multi-national employers who do not prepare them at all for what life at sea in the wild Pacific is like. Every year, dozens, if not hundreds of these men are lost at sea, swept away to their deaths unreported and unremembered.
I asked one of the women who went aboard the ships to share her version of the Gospel why she thought it was something the sailors would even want to hear.
"Would you rather they heard it when they were dead? Because some of them will be in days or weeks."
What a trite little idiot I was.
I met Mina Rowney and her husband Elias last week.
My dear father wanted me to drive down unannounced to see them. I was hestitant but I did it. Mina and Elias just retired from their unpaid service to mariners from the Port of Nanaimo. They went aboard every foreign ship that came into Nanaimo harbour.
The Sailors do not just get bombarded with "this is the word of God" they are given shirts to choose from, sweaters, toques, coats, anything Mina and Elias can carry.
Then they sit down to share with these men, and from there deep friendships and spiritual connections are formed.
Mina and Elias had to retired. Elias's heart will no longer take the long walks up the gangplanks. Some of those can be five stories high. In fact Mina told me that a great burly longshoreman asked her to deliver a letter to the Ship's Captain as he was afraid of the gangplank. Mina is 83 years old.
Now they have retired from this unpaid position, I am sure they will find something equally dynamic to do.
I love passion in people. When I saw Mina last week I cried as I listened to her.
She is on fire.
SO: Perhaps you do not understand this Ministry thing. Perhaps you think it archaic of them to engage in such things. But the men who go down to the sea in ships respect them as much or more than I do.
My father is a retired Marine Pilot who spent his life working the coastline of British Columbia. He lost deckhands, cooks and fellow pilots to the savage seas.
I am proud that he was a founder of this mission out of Nanaimo.
As for Teus: love and respect to him.
I know God is looking out for him.