Reaching the World Without Leaving Home

27 Apr

On the Porch 

Onisha Ellis

 

 

Many people know of Kennedy Space Center, world-famous as the heart of America’s space launches to explore the heavens. On Thursday the Legacy adults (old folks) of our church, traveled  45 minutes south to the small town of Cape Canaveral, Florida. It is located adjacent to the space center and Port Canaveral a popular cruise ship terminal. We were on a mission to share some food and spread some love at the Space Coast Seafarers Ministry, where they share the good news of the eternal heaven. The teasing aroma from 100 pieces of Publix fried chicken greeted us as we boarded the church van. Along with the chicken, the van was loaded with 97 packages of cookies that church members donated during the months of March and April.

 

 

 

I wish I had taken a photo of the exterior. It is a converted Post Office!  When we arrived we were met by the director Rev Mark Wodka, and this delightful crew member. I believe he said he is from Bali. He had a mile wide smile and has a reputation as a jokester.

 

The kitchen staff had  prepared several dishes and deserts for lunch before we arrived. At this time they have a tiny kitchen and rely on electric skillets and pots. On some days this tiny kitchen is used to feed lunch  over 300 people! They are all excited at the prospect of a new kitchen being installed that would include a huge gas range, stainless steel work spaces and built-in refrigeration and freezer. It has taken a long time but the renovation will be completed debt free!

 

 

 

The director walked us through the facility and his passion for the ministry was evident. He shared stories of interactions between volunteers and crew members who spend time talking with them and especially asking if they need prayer for anything.

 

 

 

Walking through the rooms I was touched to see crew members video chatting with friends and family. Some were speaking languages I could not identify. Most work 6 month contracts with no time away so being able to keep in touch using the free wi-fi provided there is a blessing. According to the director, they often have over 200 devices logged onto the internet.

Not only does the center provide food and wi-fi, they have buses that make trips to the shopping areas three times a day. And if shopping at the mall isn’t their thing, or they can’t find what they want, online shopping is an option. Online shopping for crew members was a time-consuming affair before Space Coast Seafarers came up with a solution. Previously, the packages were sent to the location of the cruise line office, then they were sorted and sent to the ship. It could take as long as three weeks to receive a package! Now packages for crew are delivered to the Seafarers where they are sorted and ready for pickup. The program was so successful, a part-time person was hired to manage it. To my amazement, the packages are sorted by ship name and placed in this small room. What a job! The cool part is that the salary is paid for by volunteer donations of those getting packages. On a normal day they receive over 100 packages and don’t even think  about the onslaught after Black Friday!

 

 

One of the things we take for granted is being able to see outside. But for some crew members, their long days are spent in parts of the ship with no view. As part of the renovation from Post Office to the center, an enclosed porch with wide sliding doors was added, along with an outside porch. Colorful flower baskets hang from the porch rails, providing splashes of color. So much heart and creativity is put into sharing God’s love with our visitors from across the globe. The center hangs a flag from each country that visits. At this time I think they have 130! In an effort to stay connected, they even have an app.

 

 

Since I was a child, I have had a tender heart for missions and I enjoyed the time we spent there. I hope that next winter, I can be a volunteer a few times per month. I have a weird fascination for commercial quality kitchens and I think it would be fun to be a part of the food preparation.

This video of crew members telling what the center means to them is from the Space Coast Seafarers Ministry website. I hope you will take a look. If you live near a port, check to see if there is a Seafarer Ministry. Their work is not limited to cruise ships, but cargo ship crews as well. Volunteer or donate and be blessed!

 

 

One Response to “Reaching the World Without Leaving Home”

  1. ludyja April 27, 2018 at 6:35 pm #

    That is really amazing! I love stories like that. Our church has a ministry to the Appalatian (sp?) mountains in the summer. The crew builds, repairs and just does all kinds of things for the mountain folks. It is a blessing, indeed. Thanks for sharing.

    Liked by 1 person

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