What it means to be 'called'

written by Cristina Amato

The end of commitment for several of Logos Hope’s crew is approaching, and they will be leaving the ship soon. Those remaining on board continue to serve in a ministry that is different to how it used to be, due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Aimed at helping each volunteer find purpose for the present and direction for the future, an overseas mission conference titled It’s Your Calling has taken place on board.

Best-selling author and pastor, Francis Chan (USA) spoke to the ship’s community via video link. 

With travel restrictions making it impossible for Francis to minister in Asia, he told Logos Hope’s crew he could empathise with them being unable to reach out to local communities as they normally would. He pointed to 2 Peter 1:3 (NIV): ‘His divine power has given us everything we need for a godly life through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness;’ explaining that they are equipped, through faith, to deal with circumstances that may not go as planned. He said, “Thank God for these times of hardship, because it makes you fight to worship Him and gives you an opportunity to honour God in the midst of trials. As you have the spirit of God, you would never be content living an ordinary life, because Christians are meant to be pursuing a lifetime of increasing in faith with the goal of God being glorified in everything and not just living an ordinary life!”

Shura Facanha (Ecuador), who recently joined the ship, spoke to her fellow crewmembers about what to do when their journey comes to a stop. Sharing her experience of being on board when Logos hit rocks in 1988, she encouraged the volunteers not to get frustrated about the fact that the current ship’s ministry is not what most of them signed up for; with the bookfair closed to the public for now. She said, “Logos was taking on water but we experienced His presence as we sang songs and declared His promises. When the captain said the words, ‘Abandon ship!’ I thought, ‘I can’t believe that You want this to happen, God, because I know you can change everything’ – but the ship was lost anyway.”

Knowing that the pandemic has taken away the plans the crewmembers had, Shura motivated them not to lean on their own understanding but to remember that God is always working. She illustrated the point by telling them that, less than a year after the pioneering vessel’s shipwreck, the ministry saw God provide a bigger ship for more effective ministry, and the current vessel (Logos Hope) is a further upgrade providing even greater capacity.

The international director of another mission agency told the ship’s community that a Christian’s sense of calling is more often a deep desire, rather than hearing a voice from heaven. He encouraged them not to be afraid of going in the wrong direction because God will correct the steps of those who are living for Him. Steve said, “It’s easy for Him to stop us; but it is difficult to push us, if we don’t move.”

He reminded them that the calling to be involved in sharing the good news with others is already written in the Bible many times; citing John 20:21, which says, ‘Jesus said, “Peace be with you! As the Father has sent me, I am sending you.”’ Steve told crew, “That means that nobody has to wait for another calling because, unless you have the call not to go, you are to go!”

An overseas work fair took place, in which volunteers shared their experiences and informed crew about opportunities to participate in various ministries across the globe.

Andrew Scott, President and CEO of OM in the USA, encouraged the crew not to feel overwhelmed by everything they had heard throughout the day and not to feel anxious if they didn’t hear a clear calling from God about their future. He explained, “You already know what your calling is, as it is your purpose – and God made you in such a way that you can be who you are and do what you like to do. Your calling is more about what is already revealed than what needs to be revealed, because He already put everything in you so you can use it for the world.”

For Andrew, reflecting God to the world is not the calling of a few, but of many; with an estimated three billion people in the world yet to hear of Jesus. Sixty thousand are added to that figure daily, and Andrew encouraged the ship’s community not to wait but to simply obey Jesus’ command. He challenged crew not to use their passions and abilities selfishly, but to surrender them to God, and to consider using their gifts in places where no one may have shared the gospel before.

Nata Vera (Chile) says, “Andrew’s words strengthened me in my plan to use my passion for sports and music, as well as my Business Administrator profession, as ministry. I am happy that I can share my faith while simply doing what I love to do.”