Yes, Father Christmas does his bit of course but not all the gifts under your Christmas tree arrive in sacks on a sleigh! The remote-control cars, mobile phones and ﬂuffy slippers mostly travel thousands of miles in containers onboard cargo ships in all kinds of weather.
The lead up to Christmas is undoubtedly the busiest in the shipping calendar. But while seafarers are transporting our gifts – who helps them do their shopping? Well, for one seafarer, it was you! With your help, we welcomed 673,000 seafarers into our port centres across the world last year. That’s an impressive number. What’s even more impressive are the relationships we build with those men and women.
One seafarer we’ve got to know is Felix. Felix regularly travels through the port of Fowey, in Cornwall. Back in August, he told us just how tough being at sea can be, especially for 11 months at a time. Felix had missed birthdays, anniversaries and feared his ﬁve-year-old daughter, Emily, would forget him.
As he prepared to return home to Ghana, Felix wanted to buy Emily a really special gift. He’d seen a princess guitar he knew she’d love. Despite the fact that Felix transports goods across the globe for a living – he had no idea how to get the guitar for his daughter in time.
This was where The Mission to Seafarers stepped in. Our chaplain in Fowey, Evette Hall, posted a request to the wider Mission family. Within half an hour, someone had purchased the guitar for Felix. By the time he dropped in to say goodbye to Evette, the guitar was ready and waiting for him. Felix was overwhelmed by the generosity. When he delivered the guitar to his own little princess – Felix knew it came with love from his extended Mission to Seafarers’ family.
Small acts of kindness like this demonstrate the commitment of our global team. They really do go the extra mile to support seafarers across the world. Sometimes that means delivering gifts, giving out phone cards or praying for crews. It also means we’re there to support seafarers in the really tough times as well.
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