The West African sun was already intense the morning we walked down the gangway for our final farewell. It was 2001 and our family of three was leaving the first home we had shared together. Our time of serving on board the hospital ship Anastasis had come to an end, and we were disembarking in Cotonou, Benin; a French-speaking nation sandwiched between Togo and Nigeria. I had served as Bosun and Sherry in the purser's office. The emotion of the moment was not lost when the ship's whistle blared loudly, thanks to a long-time friend who wanted to honor the moment.
Sailing the Solent
Friendships run deep when you work in community with a common purpose of serving the poor and needy around the world. In the early years I worked alongside Chris and Gillian Bamber; a British couple who like us had met while working onboard ship. After serving together as a couple, they later returned to the UK to raise their family. Their now 20-year-old son Matt, has followed his dad's passion for sailing, growing up sailing small boats on the Solent, a strait between the Isle of Wight and UK's south coast.
In 2020, at the height of the global pandemic, I sailed with Matt on board the ministry vessel SY Next Wave, as we repositioned the vessel from Turkey to the Bahamas, where it was to begin operating as base for a Divemaster Discipleship Training School. During that time, I worked closely alongside Matt and recognized his natural aptitude for seamanship. We became Big Matt and Little Matt to ease communication on board! He recently started further training, a 4.5-month course to earn his Yachtmaster certificate from the Royal Yacht Association, the national governing body for all forms of boating in the UK.
Paris Fellowship Center, lindale
We were joined by family and friends in-person and watching the livestream.
A New Generation
The mission of MAST Global is preparing and mentoring trainees at whichever stage they find themselves. We see a new generation of mariners wanting to use their skills to make an eternal impact. Matt already had a solid foundation in sailing and wanted to gain the more practical skills of ship husbandry and marlinspike seamanship. Others are just starting out and require foundational skills to build on.
"Through Matthew's attentive eye and love for seamanship, our Matt has been encouraged to follow his passion for the sea and hopes to use and build on these skills to serve the Kingdom in whatever place God places him" - The Bambers
We are grateful to those who partner in the mission to encourage, invest in and train mariners like Matt, enabling ministry vessels to provide essential services like basic healthcare, clean water, shelter, education, and increase their reach globally.