Freedom behind bars in the Philippines

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Logos Hope teams bring transformation to Philippine inmates - and beyond

Once my eyes were closed, but now I can see!

OM Ships International’s vessel Logos Hope continues to undergo maintenance work to ensure safe and reliable future operation in her unique mission to bring knowledge, help and hope. At the same time, lives are being transformed around the Philippines as teams from the ship serve local communities on shore.

“Once my eyes were closed, but now I can see!” exclaimed one of the 46 inmates at Olongapo District Jail who found freedom in Jesus Christ through visits by Logos Hope teams.

As the “book ship” remains in Subic Bay for vessel upgrades, local pastor Tony Paras invited crewmembers to visit women in Olongapo District Jail to help lead Sunday Bible studies. Through these weekly events, the ship’s crewmembers built friendships with inmates, who openly shared their struggles with them. Many inmates accepted God’s unconditional love and committed their lives to follow Jesus.

Warden Emily Bueno stated, “These meetings have quickly become the most well-attended meetings in this prison. We are so blessed to have the local pastor and crewmembers coming here to share about God’s love.”

Two months of discipleship resulted in a baptism service where 46 inmates were baptized by Pastor Tony Paras. “The fruit of the discipleship was evident, for which we all give thanks to God,” he said.

During that time crewmembers distributed Bibles in English and Tagalog, the national language, as well as Gospels of John. Seeing that some inmates suffer from poor eyesight, crewmembers also performed eye exams, testing all 88 inmates and several guards and giving out 63 pairs of glasses.

In addition to prison ministry, Logos Hope teams led week-long Bible schools in tribal groups, installed water purifiers, set up community libraries and rebuilt houses destroyed in the recent earthquake, restoring hope to local communities.

In all, over 70 teams went out in six phases to live among locals for three-weeks. While most outreach was planned in advance, crewmembers also responded to the immediate needs of people, including restoring neighborhoods devastated by flooding caused by heavy rains.

“Logos Hope was one of the first organizations to respond to our distress and call for help,” said Rolando Domingo, who facilitated donations from crewmembers for Philippine flood victims. Thirteen large bags of clothes, water purifiers, food and blankets were financed through gifts from the UK and Germany and given to 200 needy families in Lower Kalaklan, Olongapo and 400 members of the Aeta indigenous people group also living in the area.

Honourable Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr., of the Presidential Communications Operations Office of the Philippines, expressed appreciation for Logos Hope’s humanitarian efforts on behalf of the government. “I wish to commend the volunteer crewmembers of MV Logos Hope. Indeed, you are messengers of God’s Word and carriers of Hope.”

While the past six months of vessel upgrades have been a marathon for those on board, God’s faithfulness and provision has been clearly evident. The ship’s extended time in the Philippines has become a life-changing blessing to hundreds of local people, and even life-saving for 46 women in Olongapo District Jail.

To find out more about the life-changing ministry of OM Ships, visit our website at http://www.omships.org The organization is funded by the generosity of people all around the world and you can help provide life change through a one-time or recurring gift via http://www.omships.org/donate

ABOUT OM SHIPS INTERNATIONAL

OM Ships International (OMSI) exists to transform lives by bringing 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 organization’s 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. On board Logos Hope the crew and staff of 400, including professional seafarers, are all non-salaried volunteers. With over 45 different nationalities represented, the onboard community is a fascinating expression of cross-cultural living and understanding that reflect the church around the world. Crewmembers are unified by their faith and goal to share God’s love as they serve in port communities. The ship remains in port for several weeks and opens to thousands of visitors every day.

Over one million visitors come on board each year to browse the hallmark of the Ship Ministry—a large floating book fair with over 5,000 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. Crewmembers 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, over 42 million people have visited the ships during more than 1,400 port visits in 151 nations. People from all walks of life, from presidents and prime ministers to street children and the homeless, have been welcomed on board.

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.

Logos Hope is operated on behalf of OMSI by GBA Ships e.V. (formerly Good Books for All), a private, non-profit, entity registered in Germany.

For latest news, further information, port schedules and opportunities to participate visit http://www.omships.org

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Jon Crowe
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