SERVING THE NATIONS
The OM ships visit port cities throughout the world, supplying vital literature resources, encouraging cross-cultural understanding, training young people for more effective life and service, providing needed relief and sharing a message of hope in God wherever there is opportunity. Since 1970, OM's ships have visited over 470 different ports in more than 150 nations around the globe. On average, over one million visitors are welcomed on board every year!
A UNIQUE EXPERIENCE
An international crew and staff, representing around 60 nations, lives and works on board the OM ships. All are volunteers, usually staying for two years. Some serve in their professional capacity as deck or engineering officers, seamen, carpenters, welders and electricians, or as a doctor, nurse or cook, while others come to participate in the training programme on board.
Each training programme participant combines a full working week in their assigned department with other training programme elements such as devotional studies, discipleship, prayer and learning ministry skills. Teaching is strongly linked with opportunities to translate theory into first-hand experience. Some participants also work toward recognised qualifications in engineering or seamanship.
Crewmembers receive cross-cultural exposure through life as an international community. Port visits offer unique opportunities to see the needs around the world and join with local believers in sharing God's love with port residents.
A highlight in many ports is the International Night programme, usually held in a high profile onshore venue and attended by hundreds or even thousands of local people. The event focuses on the multinational nature of the ship community through costume, song, dance and drama and provides a platform to share the hope in God that brings life, unity and purpose to the ship's crew and staff.
Maintaining the engines, cooking for the crew, supplying literature, speaking to individuals or crowds, sharing about their cultures and faith, or providing relief to needy people are all opportunities for ship people to learn and serve.
FLOATING BOOK FAIRS
In total, over 45 million visitors have come aboard to purchase from the selection of over 5,000 titles available. Titles cover a wide range of subjects, such as science, sports, hobbies, cookery, the arts, philosophy, medicine and children's books, as well as faith in God and living a life honouring to Him. The books have been carefully chosen to be of interest to every member of the family, and with the educational, social and moral needs of the local community in mind. Books are on offer at a fraction of their retail value, while in certain ports, books are also donated.
Additionally, every visitor to an OM ship (where possible) is given the opportunity to take a piece of free literature which explains more about the need for a right relationship with God.
AID AND RELIEF
Aid and relief work, as an expression of God's love and concern for people in needy countries visited by the OM ships, may take many forms - medical aid, construction projects, or major donations of literature, as well as spontaneous gifts of food and clothing. In the past, ship personnel have donated textbooks and reference volumes to schools, libraries, colleges and universities, distributed medical or food supplies, renovated clinics and orphanages, and assisted in the construction of schools and church buildings.
Each ship is owned and operated by a registered charitable trust and is financed mainly through sponsorship of individuals on board and general giving. Each individual working with the OM ships volunteers their time and is sponsored by friends, supporters and their local church.
Books are supplied by respected publishers and shipped by container to restock the bookshops on board. Local language materials published in the countries visited supplement stocks of books. Income received from sales in the bookshops is used to purchase more literature and other supplies, and to pay freight and customs charges.
Technical projects, relief projects and fuel costs are often financed by designated gifts from supporters around the world.
PROFESSIONALS AT SEA
Most of the all-volunteer crew and staff serve on board for two years, although there are always opportunities for professional crew to serve with the ships for shorter periods of time. Needed professionals include deck and engineering officers, seamen, electricians, plumbers, carpenters, welders, doctors, dentists, nurses and cooks.
MEETING THE STANDARDS
The ships are maintained and continually upgraded to comply with international shipping regulations and safety standards. Without this dedication to keeping the ships in top condition, there would be no ship ministry.
Technical projects often require the services of additional skilled workers - engineers, electricians, plumbers, carpenters and welders. Both long and short-term volunteers are always welcome.
Just as individuals serving on the ships trust God for their support, OM Ships also trusts God for the finances needed for these major technical projects. Donations of equipment and supplies are invaluable, and projects are financed by specially designated gifts from supporters around the world.
WANT TO KNOW MORE?
To serve as a crewmember or to partner financially with OM Ships, contact your local OM office for more information.
CURRENTS - a bi-weekly Ships e-mail update, is available in English, German, Spanish, French and Korean. To subscribe, contact OM Ships at: firstname.lastname@example.org
For further information, including news and port schedules, visit the OM Ships web site at: www.omships.org