The Ship Ministry of the global charity Operation Mobilization (OM) has visited 1,400 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 draw thousands of people on board at any port, aiming to share the hope of the gospel with people, even in closed countries.
Now OM is expanding its fleet with a new smaller ship, the Doulos Hope. Due to enter service next year, the boat is the first in a planned fleet designed to reach new regions and share knowledge, aid, and hope with vulnerable or marginalized communities.
The Doulos Hope is a smaller vessel with less draft – the vertical distance between the waterline and the bottom of the hull – than her sister, Logos Hope. This allows it to operate in shallower waters and travels to new regions. The ship will be stationed in Southeast Asia and remain in ports for an extended period to allow for greater cultural engagement.
“Our Ship Ministry is about spreading the gospel to the most unreached areas of the world,” said Jason McEwen, OM’s Head of Marketing & Partner Engagement in Australia.
“It’s a catalytic ministry because we have a book fair on the ship, so we bring literacy to different countries and tell them about the gospel. Sometimes thousands of people come on board when we are in port. The ship can go in with literature – and we have even been invited to closed and Muslim countries.”
“We have even been invited to closed and Muslim countries.” -Jason McEwen.
McEwen explains that Doulos’s original ship came to Australia in 2009 before retiring. The Logos followed, then Logos 2, and now Logos Hope. The Public Prosecution Service is enthusiastic about the new shallower Doulos Hope because it will be more environmentally friendly and can call at more ports. However, the Logos Hope is a large ship with a deep bow that cannot enter some ports.
“We are excited about this new phase of our ministry; we have always been passionate about building a community of disciples around the world, and ships like Doulos Hope will help us make this a reality,” said Seelan Govender, CEO of OM’s Ship Ministry.
“Our vision is that the Ministry of Ships is pushing people to work together to accomplish something they could never do as an individual church, denomination, or even a missionary organization.”
The new vessel will be fitted and outfitted for a year and enter service in 2023.
The two ships will be crewed by skilled, experienced, normal volunteers, who will collect their support to live and work on board as missionaries for three months to two years. Volunteers include teachers for the children of families on board.
As OM builds the fleet, each new vessel will have a geographic focus in line with OM’s vision to invest in disciple-making, leadership training, holistic community engagement, and working with the local church community.