You’re gonna do what??

So, when I was fundraising for my YAV year, I had many people ask me to explain what I was going to be doing this year. Now that I have had my first week at Global Maritime Ministries, I feel that I can answer this question. Global Maritime Ministries is a port ministry that provides services to seafarers, port security and port officials. They have a facility located 5 minutes from the port that has computers with internet, a ping-pong table, a TV, private booths with phones, and a large assortment of books. This facility is available to the seafarers from 9am until 9:30pm. They also have phone and internet cards for sale that allow the seafarers to call home and use the internet while they are in port. Many of the seafarers that I have met so far work on cargo ships. They usually have contracts that range from 6 months at sea to 11 months at sea. Some of them have families and some do not. They come from all over the world. This last week I met people from China, Russia, Ukraine, Poland, Italy, Sri Lanka, the Philippines and many other places. The cargo ships are very fascinating to me. I understood how stuff arrives in the stores that I shop at, but to see this process in action is amazing. The ships come into port with many cargo containers on it and the crew has 9-12 hours before they are back at sea with a different set of containers on the ship. While the ship is in port, the containers are taken off the ship by cranes which are operated by the port personnel and placed on the trailers of 18-wheelers. Then once the ship is empty, they put new containers on the ship. During this process the seafarers are taking shore leave to go to stores and other places in the city. That is where Global Maritime Ministries comes into play. One of the many services Global offers is free transportation from the ship to the Wal-Mart or to the near by Riverwalk. We will also bring the guest to the centerĀ  for them to use the facilities. Then, whenever they are ready to go back to their ships, we will take them back. This is just a short description of what I have participating in so far. I am excited to meet all the new people and hear their stories. If you want more information Global’s website is portministry.com. Here are some pictures from my first week:

I get to drive this big 15 passenger van!

I get to drive this big 15 passenger van!

The Mississippi from the port.

The Mississippi from the port.

 

A cargo ship

A cargo ship

Cargo containers on the port

Cargo containers on the port

So one of the ships that we visited with, we were invited up to Captain's cabin to talk to him about our services. This is me in the Captain's cabin.

So one of the ships that we visited with, we were invited up to Captain’s cabin to talk to him about our services. This is me in the Captain’s cabin.