We all are quite bored of hearing this question these days, aren’t we? Well, there is quite a different ring to it when you hear it from a seafarer. When a ship is moored in the docks, out-of-the-ship is the only place they think of going. This cannot be compared to us thinking “well, out-of-the-house is where I want to go,” because when we say that, we can visualize a destination in our mind, even if it is just a supermarket aisle. For most seafarers, the shores they visit are foreign lands that they have no imagination of.
The first time I realised this, I was taking a picture of a very welcoming crew at the end of a gangway. What you see in this side image is all the Liverpool, and all the England the crew has ever seen in his life. It was hard for me to imagine what a lockdown on land would mean to a seafarer who is virtually on a lockdown on steel, sailing the oceans for months on end. As I left the ship and walked towards my car, quite a profound thought dawned on me. The very question, “where else can we go?” brought peace to me. When the plans of a million missions teams across Churches everywhere are shattered, my mission is to just wake up every morning and visit ships on the docks. While many preachers and evangelists cannot travel to share the gospel during a global pandemic, God brings the peoples to my workplace. Wow! “Where else can I go?”
That said, very recently, I was chatting with a Tamil seafarer on the gangway as he came to the end of his shift. When I learned that he was a Christian, I asked him if he would join me in the messroom for a Bible study. And he answered… (well, take a wild guess!) “Where else can we go?” But the response came with a hearty smile!
Even during this time of frustration and uncertainty, as Christians, we can say along with Peter and all the saints through the ages that there is nowhere else we would go than to Jesus, for He Alone has the words of eternal life. The Bibles and gospel literature that we distribute to seafarers are truly a great resource of hope and comfort that they can go to every day! Amen!
Where shall I go from your Spirit? Or where shall I flee from your presence? …How precious to me are your thoughts, O God! How vast is the sum of them!
Psalm 139: 7 &17