The Philippines still holds the crown as the world’s manning capital in the maritime industry Filipino seafarers still represent the highest number in terms of population in the seafaring industry. We often hear that there is no single ship sailing without a Filipino on board.
But there is something unique among the seafarers. When former OSM president Rear Adm. Adonis Donato went on the air over Radyo Inquirer dzIQ 990AM, he jokingly said that there are only three types of people in the world. “The living, the dead and the seafarers,” with special mention of the seafarers among hundreds of professions.
Donato says, it is because half of seafarers live dangerously because of the nature of their work.
He had served as a ship captain for a long time. During those years, he said they always start the day thanking God for the gift of life. They always pray to God and devote more time to meditate and focus on their spiritual needs.
Change of heart
According to Delia, wife of a seafarer who’s been in the industry for almost 10 years, her husband became prayerful when he started seafaring.
She was surprised because he never fails to remind them to pray to God daily. During his vacation, she immediately noticed her husband’s change of heart. He prayed before they ate, and always prayed as needed.
Marine Transportation fresh graduate Chito from Leyte, boarded a cruise vessel for the first time and shared his story to us. When he was applying for a job in Makati City, he was offered a Bible study by a Jehovah’s Witness which he accepted.
He regularly attends their Kingdom hall meetings. Now that he is on board, he frequently visits the jw.org website for any question on spiritual matters and that website search served as his spiritual food.
He said, there are witnesses who preach on the ship anywhere in the world. And he would always make it a point to speak with them. Chito said no questions were left unanswered every time he speaks with them.
Another ship captain who requested anonymity said that he would like to correct the common impression about seafarers: that they are womanizers, cheaters and unfaithful husbands or boyfriends. He said those were sweeping statements and baseless accusations. According to him, a lot of them are faithful and loyal to their partners because they fear God.
Well, we agree because no two people are the same. But the very same people in the maritime industry acknowledge the closeness of the seafarers to God, whatever their nationalities are.
All seafarers, officers or not, faced the same risks and challenges all the time while on board, including the growing threat on piracy. They may face and encounter pirates any time. We can’t imagine the effect of that fear to the seafarers and their families. More so, when they get captured and held hostage in exchange for money from their principals, these things are beyond their control, but not beyond the infinite One.
There comes the power of prayer. Our God has provided an open, yet simple, means of communication through prayer. It enables us to transmit our most complex, intimate thoughts and feelings—even the painful ones that we find difficult to put into words. Even a very young child can pray to God in faith, doing so in the name of Jesus.
Vast ocean, great skies
We know that anything can happen anywhere, anytime. Seafarers, whatever their nationalities are, see only two things while sailing: the vast ocean and the great skies.
Every time seafarers watch the astonishing creations of Jehovah God, as they were exposed to it day by day, they can’t help but be amazed by His greatness, goodness and power.
They believe that there is a powerful creator in the universe who made all things for us. The more it strengthens their faith and belief that there is one true God who created heaven and earth.
Basically those were sound reasons why seafarers are closer to God. Being exposed to nature in their everyday lives, give them a stronger spiritual belief.
Chito added that since we are living in a world with fast-paced technology, everything seems possible now. He was very thankful as he gets his timely spiritual food using the website jw.org., where he learned the most important things in life: to be faithful with our Creator as we value his gift of life to us.
(Susan Andes, also known as Susan K., can be heard over Radyo Inquirer dzIQ 990AM, Monday to Friday, 10:30 a.m. to 12 noon. For audio and video live streaming, visit www.ustream.tv/channel/dziq. For more information, visit www.bantayocwfoundation.
org. The Bantay OCW Foundation satellite office is located at 3/F 24H City Hotel, 1406 Vito Cruz Extension corner Balagtas Street, Makati City. Telephone: (632) 899-2424, Bantay OCW Helpline: 0998-9912629. E-mail: bantayocwfoundation@
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