Germany (ASN) — Logos Hope, OM's newest vessel, launched into ministry service, departing from Køge, Denmark on Thursday, February 19, following a massive project of conversion and outfitting. The ship's first port of call will be Gothenburg, Sweden, then ports in the Netherlands, UK, Faroe Islands and Ireland.
International Director for Operation Mobilization, Peter Maiden said: "As Logos Hope sails from Køge, a great day has arrived in the history of OM Ships and, I believe, in the history of OM. It is both encouraging and challenging to think of the huge number of people who will meet with God on this vessel or through teams sent from this vessel in the years to come."
The Faroe Islands-registered Logos Hope will "bring knowledge, help and hope" to people in port cities all over the world. The ship carries vital literature resources, aid supplies and an all-volunteer crew and staff.
"This is a huge milestone and represents a great step forward in the fulfillment of our vision to impact the life of every visitor. Now it is up to us to fill what God and His people have entrusted to us with life and creative opportunities! The launch of Logos Hope moves us a step closer to 'touching everyone in a million.' We are grateful for the prayers and practical participation of God's people worldwide!" said OM Ships International CEO Bernd Guelker.
The huge project to renovate and outfit the ship has included replacing and upgrading fire, safety, electrical, and ventilation systems, renewing accommodation and other community spaces, and installing a whole new deck for the "visitor experience," including the world's largest floating book fair. In recent months, enormous effort has gone into fulfilling all the requirements to obtain the vital Passenger Ship Safety Certificate and ensuring that all the safety procedures and vessel documentation are in order.
Following initial rebuilding work in a Croatian shipyard, almost all the work has been completed by professional volunteers and other willing workers. Individuals, churches, trusts and other community groups have donated over $33,500,000 to make the ship ready for service. A final boost in donations is now needed to help complete remaining projects and cover ongoing operating costs. Work still to be done includes further outfitting in the visitor experience and the 450-seat Hope Theater. This will be ongoing over the first months of ministry service.
"Momentum is building as Logos Hope sails," said Logos Hope Director, Mike Hey. "We still have some more work to do to complete the project, but we are thankful for the opportunities in the coming ports to welcome people into the unique Logos Hope experience and see the potential of this vessel develop. We start with lots of excitement and growing energy but with much need to see more people join the team."
The schedule includes a short visit to Gothenburg, Sweden, followed by two ports in the Netherlands. The ship will visit ports in the UK, the Faroe Islands and Ireland, before setting sail for the West Indies, where Logos II–the ship Logos Hope replaces–was well known and much loved as '"he book ship." Logos Hope crew and staff are thrilled to be able to embark on this first ministry voyage and put the ship's public ministry facilities into service. A number of events have already taken place on board as facilities have become available for use.
"We recognize that we would not be where we are today without the great efforts of skilled people–often accomplished 'behind the scenes' and with much sweat, pain and difficulty. We are grateful for their perseverance, patience and prayer in the face of many challenges. Their work has been a tremendous expression of personal faith and courage. Looking to the future, the investment made will result in millions of people experiencing the grace and love of God," said Logos Hope Project Director Lloyd Nicholas, Australia.
Resources on board the much smaller Logos II were regularly overstretched in hosting the many thousands of people who visited each day. Once all facilities on board Logos Hope are completed, and as additional crew and staff join, Logos Hope will offer significantly larger capacity to serve port communities around the world.
The project to replace Logos II began in September 2001. It gathered momentum with the purchase of Logos Hope in 2004.
Now, after years of complex planning and hard work, the ship has reached the point of launch into operational ministry. Up to 400 volunteer crew and staff can live and work on board and many more people are still needed. There are also Short-Term Exposure Program places available.
For the first time in the history of OM's ship ministry, a significant number of cabins are set aside for teams from churches and other groups to join the ship and serve alongside the crew for one week or more. This is a unique short-term mission service opportunity and one OM Ships International is looking forward to developing in the coming months.
Contributions toward Logos Hope can be made through OM offices around the world or online at: www.omships.org/donate.
OM Ships International (OMSI) exists to bring knowledge, help and hope to the people of the world. OMSI pioneered the concept of using ships to transport literature, humanitarian aid and people resources. The ships are well known for their work providing educational and Christian literature in ports around the world.
OMSI began in 1970 as part of the global Christian training and outreach movement, OM International. The crew and staff of 500, including professional seafarers, are all non-salaried volunteers. With over 70 different nationalities represented, the onboard communities are a fascinating expression of cross-cultural living and understanding that reflect the church around the world. Crew members are unified by their faith and their goal to share God's love as they serve in port communities. The ships remain in port for several weeks and is open to thousands of visitors every day.
Over one million visitors come on board each year to browse the hallmark of the ships–a large floating book fair with 6,000 titles in stock, including books for university studies, professional and career interests, history, science, economics, language learning, hobbies, novels, children's stories, biographies, dictionaries, atlases and a wide variety of Christian resources, including Bibles, study materials and books on Christian living.
The ships also bring aid and relief to needy people and places around the world. Crew members go ashore to provide medical aid, help construct schools, orphanages and homes, and give gifts of food, clothing and books. Teams also visit hospitals, orphanages and prisons to share God's compassion and love.
Since 1970, more than 38 million people have visited the ships during more than 1,350 port visits in 158 nations.
OMSI's operational costs are met by sponsorship of onboard personnel, general donations and gifts, reductions and waivers of fees by civic and port authorities, book sales, and corporate support in each port of call.