Before there were roads, there were waterways. The great travellers and explorers of the centuries used this natural means of getting from place to place. Great towns and cities were built on the banks of rivers as places of trading and commerce, that used water to navigate, drink, nourish crops and animals, and sustain life. As the centuries rolled by, their use changed from life-sustaining to a more leisurely enjoyment of journeying from place to place, and with it the coming of the river cruiser to Europe’s waterways.
Andante was one such river cruiser sailing Europe’s rivers since 2007, taking passengers to see the cities of Prague and those along the Rhine. But from December 2017, as OM’s Riverboat, it will have a very different crew and purpose.
Berthed at nearby Arnhem in the Netherlands, its crew will join approximately 2,000 young people gathered for Mission Net, a congress that aims to encourage participants to have a positive influence on their nations, whether at governmental, local or community level. Hester Zoutmann, Director of Mission Net*, is enthusiastic about the link between the congress and the Riverboat project, as it provides a practical demonstration of missions right on the quayside.
From Mission Net, those on board the Riverboat will visit six ports in three European countries over the course of three months.
“Each young person will be sharing and showing Jesus to those they encounter as a living example of a vibrant community,” explains Riverboat Director Ray Strong, “through the Escape Room experience, in the café and in the events the local churches put on for their friends and neighbours.”
OM workers already living and working in the port towns are welcoming the visit of the Riverboat to their patch.
“We are looking forward to host the Riverboat in three German ports,” said Gian Walser of OM Germany. “This will be an amazing opportunity for us to engage with local churches, to share our passion for world mission and to motivate and mobilise Christian to join us on the journey to see ‘vibrant communities of Jesus followers among the least reached.’
“We believe it will help strengthen the churches in their desire to reach out. Our hope is that youth groups, prayer groups and cell groups will come on board and be challenged by what they see, hear and experience about mission—perhaps from a different perspective.”
* See http://mission-net.org/congress-2017-18/ for more details about Mission Net.