The Ship Ministry of global charity Operation Mobilisation (OM) has visited 1400 ports in 150 countries with a crew of 400 volunteers from more than 50 countries. A floating book fair of Christian and educational literature, it can attract thousands of people on board at each port, with the goal of sharing the hope of the gospel with the people of the world.
Now OM is expanding its fleet with a new smaller ship, Doulos Hope. The vessel, which will come into service next year, is the first new ship of a planned fleet designed to reach new regions, sharing knowledge, help and hope with vulnerable or marginalised communities.
Doulos Hope is a smaller vessel with less draft – the vertical distance between the waterline and the bottom of the hull – than her sister ship, Logos Hope. This will enable it to operate in shallower waters and travel to new regions. The ship will be based in Southeast Asia and stay in ports for extended periods to enable greater cultural engagement.
“Our Ship Ministry is about getting the gospel out to most unreached areas of the world,” says Jason McEwen, OM’s Head of Marketing & Partner Engagement based in Australia.
“It’s a catalytic ministry in that we have a book fair on the ship, so we’re taking literacy into different countries and telling them about the gospel. Sometimes thousands of people come on board when we’re in port. The ship has the opportunity to go in with literature.”
“We’re taking literacy into different countries and telling them about the gospel.” – Jason McEwen
McEwen explains that the original ship, called Doulos, came to Australia in 2009 before it was retired. The Logos followed that, then the Logos 2 and now the Logos Hope. However, the Logos Hope is a large ship with a deep bow that cannot enter some ports. OM is excited about the new shallower Doulos Hope because it will be more environmentally friendly and can enter more ports.
“We are excited for this new phase of our ministry; we have always been passionate about building a community of disciples worldwide and vessels like Doulos Hope will help us realise this,” says Seelan Govender, CEO of OM’s Ship Ministry.
“Our vision is for the Ships Ministry to draw people to work together in order to accomplish something they could never do as an individual church, denomination or even mission agency.”
The new ship will spend a year being outfitted and equipped and will start its ministry in 2023.
The two ships will be staffed by skilled and experienced and normal volunteers, who raise their own support to come to live and work as on-board missionaries for three months up to two years. The volunteers include teachers for the children of on-board families.
As OM builds the fleet in the future, each new ship will have a geographical focus in line with OM’s vision to invest in disciple-making, leadership training, holistic community engagement and collaboration with the local church community.