My wife Lyn and I recently travelled on the American cruise ship, the Diamond Princess, which left Yokohama Port, Japan, and docked three weeks later at Circular Quay, Sydney.
The cruise ship had a very comprehensive program of activities for each day and night. Those who have been cruising (pretty much everyone over 50 it seems) know that much is offered in activities, exercises, talks, movies, music, shows and entertainment. Our cruise also had a daily Bible study at 8am.
This Bible study was not hosted, meaning that people of common interest simply gathered and organised themselves. On the sixth day of the cruise, we thought that we better rouse ourselves and cut our breakfast short to go along to see who was there. We found about twenty Christians from Australia, New Zealand, Canada, the USA and South Africa.
In this gathering, there were Baptists, Pentecostals, Anglicans, Methodists and Seventh Day Adventists. Some had no present church affiliation.
An elderly couple from NSW were, it seemed, the convenors, and each day someone in the group was asked to lead a Bible study/discussion. I volunteered, of course. I had something I wanted to share from my morning devotion using the ‘Time Out’ book from Australian Church Resources.
On each Sunday spent at sea, a morning service was also scheduled. On the second Sunday of the cruise, I was invited to lead the passengers’ service at 9am and give the message. Dianne, the wife of the ship’s senior engineer, also invited us to attend the crew’s service on Sunday evening. They asked me to give the message to the crew that night at 11pm. Lyn and I happily accepted Dianne’s invitation.
A Filipino and a Ukrainian led the crew’s service and it was a lively, up-beat worship, with keyboard, flute and electronic drums supplying the music. Many of those present were Filipino, but there were also several Ukrainians. Two New Zealanders from our Bible study group also attended, along with Dianne, to introduce Lyn and myself to the fellowship.
About thirty crew members crowded into the room that evening and about a hundred passengers attended the service earlier in the morning. At each service I spoke on Mark 12:28-34.
At the crew’s service, I also told them briefly about our ministry at St Paul’s Lutheran Church, Ferryden Park. The congregation ‘Diamond Princess Christian Fellowship’ then took an offering for the Lutheran ministry at Ferryden Park. US$200. How about that?
It was just a wonderful gesture of love (from people all over the world) for the hearing of the gospel.
Lyn and Pastor Malcolm Pech live at Prospect and Malcolm is the senior pastor at St Paul’s Aboriginal Lutheran Fellowship at Ferryden Park. He was on seven weeks of R&R leave when he travelled on this cruise.
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