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Caring for seafarers

Working on the seas away from home and family can be a lonely business. But help is at hand …

Working on the seas away from home and family can be a lonely business. But help is at hand …

Last year, chaplains and ship visitors from international Christian maritime charity Sailors’ Society reached almost 340,000 seafarers. Below are extracts from letters by Jim*, a 29-year-old Filipino seafarer touched by the charity’s work.

“I started seafaring in 2011 and married the following year. My wife works in a hospital in the UK.

“Last year we separated due to our long-distance relationship and the nature of our work. She met someone else and now I’m lonely. I didn’t expect being away from her would have such an effect – I was devastated but no matter what life brings me, I know God is always there to guide me.”

Jim spent last Christmas in port, desperately homesick and missing his family; he didn’t have a lot to celebrate.

“I got sad thinking about the life I had, but then I received a gift from Sailors’ Society which touched my heart.”

Sailors’ Society delivers Christmas parcels to seafarers away from home every year, with the help of kind and generous volunteers.

Jim wrote again to update the Society on his progress.

“I plan to fly to the UK; I haven’t seen my wife since we separated over the phone and if I don’t at least talk to her a big part of my life will be left in question.

“I know she is happy and I don’t want to interfere with that. I just want closure and to say goodbye.

“I have suffered from what happened and will carry it for a lifetime.

“I lost the love of my life and am in pain but I know God always has something for me. Right now, I am focusing on supporting a Filipino child with cancer while also helping my parents in sending my brother to school. Life must go on, as they say.”

*Name changed for privacy reasons

Founded in 1818, Sailors’ Society aims to transform the lives of seafarers and their families at home, in port and at sea. In 2015, the Society’s chaplains and ship visitors transported 1,052 seafarers to a place of worship, distributed 4,378 Bibles and undertook 18,918 ship visits.

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