"Sometimes, what brings you here and what keeps you going are different stories,” James says.

A sense of calling from God, which James felt compelled to be faithful to, first brought him aboard Logos II in 2006 as part of the deck team. An encounter with OM’s founder, George Verwer, one Sunday morning at a church in Cambridge – where James was in his final year studying Maths – started the process.

Wondering what to do after graduating, the young man asked George several questions. In time, God led James to a growing conviction that he should commit his life to making God known, and that the Ship Ministry was where he could be used most significantly.

Fourteen years on, James continues to serve at sea! In 2019 he became the first British captain of Logos Hope, in charge of a crew numbering around 300 people. “There is a tremendous amount of responsibility and many hard decisions to make that have a big impact on other people’s lives,” he says.

So what keeps him going now, especially amid the challenges and uncertainties posed by the coronavirus pandemic?

Knowing I can turn to God

While he describes himself as an independent person, James loves how God delights in His followers coming to Him for help. A favourite verse of scripture is ‘Pour out your heart like water in the presence of the Lord’ (Lamentations 2:19) and this is exactly what the captain does. “When I struggle with something, I go out on deck and pray about it,” says James.

Taking joy in those around me

One of my great joys is seeing a team grow and accomplish new things,” James explains, “In this season, our marine operations team has had a large number of practical challenges; completely different to normal operations. It has been a joy to watch them overcome these – sometimes in very tricky conditions. It hasn’t been straightforward and yet they made it look routine and easy.”

James is clear about his purpose and focus during this season: “It’s my job to make sure that the ship community is going on in a healthy way, and to care for my crewmembers during this COVID crisis.”

Keeping my eyes on the big picture

For James, it’s important in times such as these to keep his eyes lifted. He is willing to stick through challenging periods to see lives impacted for God’s Kingdom again. Some onshore ministry has resumed: in recent months crewmembers were reaching out to islanders in the Bahamas who are rebuilding their lives after a devastating hurricane. James looks forward to Logos Hope reopening to the public in due course, so that more people can encounter the love of God on board the unique vessel and through wider interaction with her crew.

Knowing that God is in charge

Whilst having the title of Captain, James is quick to clarify that he is not actually in charge of the ship’s journey, or even of his own life. “One perspective that a lot of seafarers probably get is the sense of not being in control. At sea you are so much at the mercy of the weather and elements, compared to some other professions,” he explains.

There seems to be this idea in our society that humans have conquered nature and that people are in control of their own destiny, but as seafarers, we are much more aware of being in God’s hands – and I think that can be a privilege for all of us.”

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OM Ships 50th Anniversary!

“We look back at 50 years of Ship Ministry impact on the world and are incredibly humbled and honoured to be used by God. The message of the Gospel is one of transformation, and millions have experienced its power in their life and community through their encounter with one of our ships. This message continues to drive us forward as we consider that millions more need to experience God’s love.” - Seelan Govender, CEO, OM Ships.

We extend our deepest gratitude for your faithful partnership. We look ahead expectantly for all God will continue to do as we share knowledge, help and hope. Now, as ever, we need your prayerful and financial support. Serve alongside us as the Lord leads you to participate in His mission.

Visit the link below for more info, stories and news throughout our milestone year!

50 years of OM ships