High fuel costs hits ship ministry

By October 25, 2004

USA (MNN) — As the price of oil hovers around $55 a barrel, Christian outreach is feeling the pinch. In part two of our series, we’re talking about how the high costs are affecting Operation Mobilization’s ship ministry.

OM ships have been serving the nations since 1970. Over the past thirty years the vessels have visited ports in over 135 countries in the Americas, Africa, Europe, Asia and the Pacific. The ships project promotes international understanding and world-wide education. The ships carry a multinational crew and staff of 500 volunteers whose service is a practical expression of their faith and commitment to serving the nations.

But, high costs for fuel are having an impact on their ministry, says OM’s Myles Toews. “We buy fuel by the ton for our ships. It’s now costing us about $750 more per ton than we had planned. Fuel costs are our greatest cost in the ship ministry.”

So far the fuel prices haven’t effected the ships schedules, but it has caused budget problems. “We’ve had to draw from other operating reserves to cover these costs. So far we’ve been able to keep those commitments. We’ve been able to manage those trips, but it’s going to catch up on us.” Toews says contributions haven’t kept pace with the rising fuel costs, so prayer is needed.

They do have other prayer needs. Toews says they need crew members. “We’ve really been stretched to get the volunteer engineering officers that we need. (So), just pray that we can get these professional see farers that we need to keep these ships operating. We had to post-pone one visit earlier this year due to unavailability of officers.”

When these trips don’t happen, outreach doesn’t happen and many go without hearing the Gospel.

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