Logos Hope, the world’s largest floating bookfair and current vessel of OM Ships, celebrated its 10th year of mission service on Tuesday.
The unique vessel with a crew of 400 volunteers provides a platform to share the hope of the Gospel and demonstrate Christ’s love in communities around the world and to mobilise the global Church for mission.
The 10th anniversary was be marked on board in Chile, where the ship is currently on a two-year tour of Latin America – her first visit to the South American continent. The focus of the ship’s time there is a special collaboration with OM Latin America, to mobilise Latino believers into mission to least-reached communities across the globe.
It is of note that the ship is currently making OM’s first-ever call in the port of Lirquen, Chile – proving that, almost 50 years after the original Logos ventured out, there are still new places to impact as we share knowledge, help and hope around the world, says OM Ships.
In each port, Logos Hope volunteers go ashore to partner with local churches and initiatives. They offer practical help, invest time and share their calling in compelling ways, to encourage others to think about service for God’s kingdom.
On board, the vast bookstore offers more than 5 000 titles in English and local languages. For many people around the world, this is their first-ever opportunity to purchase from such a selection of quality literature at affordable prices. Logos Hope is also a hub for Christians from all denominations to connect, and where Gospel-based theatre performances, ministry training, conferences and youth events take place.
While Logos Hope has been operating for 10 years, the vessel is actually 46 years old; having been built in Germany in 1973. After a “first career” as a car ferry under the names Gustav Vasa and Norröna, she was purchased by the organisation in 2004. A period of fundraising and extensive renovation followed, which included the addition of two new decks. Logos Hope formally entered service as the fourth “book ship” in service for OM, following in the wake of sister ships Logos, Doulos and Logos II. Logos Hope’s maiden voyage into ministry was from Køge, Denmark to Gothenburg, Sweden on 19 February 2009.
Captain Dirk Colenbrander (Netherlands), who was at the helm on that voyage, said: “We sailed out backwards, being pulled by a tug, because the port of Køge had no space to turn around. Then a tug boat had to break up the ice so we could get alongside in frozen Gothenburg! It was the first time some of our crew had ever experienced snow.”
Captain Dirk still serves as interim Master: “One of the most significant things for me is the sharing of personal stories by the crew as we leave each port and hearing how God has used them to change the lives of people they met in that area,” he said.
In her decade of ministry, Logos Hope has welcomed aboard almost 8 million visitors, visited 68 countries and territories, made over 155 port calls (116 unique ports), sailed over 100 000 nautical miles (equivalent to sailing around the world more than 4.5 times!), and sold more than 8 million books , almost 2.5 million of which have been Christian books and Bibles.
OM Ships’ Chief Executive Officer, Seelan Govender (South Africa), has spent 14 years living on board successive vessels and serving in various capacities.
“I feel blessed to work with dedicated Christians who serve sacrificially on board and on shore to maintain the constant operation of the ship. What I believe continues to draw people to the vessel is that it is a catalytic platform: equipping people and mobilising them to create vibrant communities of Jesus followers wherever they go,” said Seelan.