Ministering to ship crew members over Christmas break

by Yancy Perkins on January 23, 2023 in Collegiate Ministry

Yancy is a student at Sul Ross State University and served on a mission trip with Go Now Missions. Yancy’s team ministered to cruise and cargo ship crew members as they docked in Cape Canaveral, Florida.

To say this mission trip was easy would be a long stretch! Crew Christmas had its ups and downs, but every mission trip does. It was a blessing to serve in Florida. Going into the trip I had no idea what to expect, and I was just following what the leader said to do. I thought it was going to be a whole bunch of Americans that were working on the ships. I was wrong– there were only two Americans that came to the ministry from the ships and the rest were from foreign countries!

During the day, I had many tasks, and it was great because I like to stay busy. When we weren’t working, we talked with some of the people from the cruise ships, hoping that it might turn into a gospel conversation. Then during the 10:00 a.m. rush, we would be greeting people, or we would be in the mail room handing packages to people or taking out the trash; whatever jobs needed to be done. We would feed people lunch, and the afternoons would be super busy filled with sorting mail. The crew members can have their personal packages shipped to the ministry and get their items delivered to them from there. We would get pages from the postman, then the deliveries came in. We would be sorting and processing over 100 to 200 packages a day and putting them with their ships, and then we would arrange them alphabetically. By the time we got that done, we were worn out!

After that, we went to the cargo ships, and we would sit and talk to the workers and laugh with them. Eventually, we would take them in a van to go do their shopping since they did not have vehicles. It was crazy what people asked us to bring back if if they were not able to get off the cargo ship. We would ask them what they wanted, and they would say things like American shampoo or American lotion-- whatever they wanted, they put American in front of it!

I also found out that on cargo ships there are a lot of people that want lotion because of their cracked hands. Several languages were spoken by the crew, and communication was challenging sometimes.

The most joyous part of the trip was that even though we were not from the same country and we couldn’t even speak the same language, we could still get the message of our ministry across. The message of Jesus was there in spirit even though we could not fully understand each other.

Most of the crew members needed to come in and get some relaxation, Some crew members visited their families via social media video. For a moment, we could provide them a place of comfort where they did not worry about their job or their boss. Sometimes they just needed someone to talk to, maybe a sympathetic friend to feel their pain or just talk through their life on the boat.

That is just a little bit about Crew Christmas. I know we touched the crew in our actions and spread the love of Jesus.

Texas Baptists is a movement of God’s people to share Christ and show love by strengthening churches and ministers, engaging culture and connecting the nations to Jesus.

The ministry of the convention is made possible by giving through the Texas Baptists Cooperative Program, Mary Hill Davis Offering® for Texas Missions, Texas Baptists Worldwide and Texas Baptist Missions Foundation. Thank you for your faithful and generous support.

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