OM Riverboat’s first month of ministry spent in the Netherlands has been bountiful with God’s favor and provision. Generous amounts of food donations, free laundry services, free garbage disposal services, and above all – witnessing thousands of people come onboard and being impacted by their experience at The Agency.
“It has been a huge adventure starting in October last year,” shared Dordrecht line-up leader, Bas Groen (Netherlands), during the appreciation event for supporters and donors. “It’s completely beyond my expectations that more than a thousand visitors would come during our short stay here.”
Up until the day the ship was due to arrive in Dordrecht, Bas did not have a solution with regard to garbage disposal. He had just received a call from the garbage services department that the original goodwill to dispose for free was no longer allowed, due to a rule change. A church member who had close connections with a local Christian organisation stepped up to help and arranged to have Riverboat’s garbage disposed at their location instead – much to Bas’ relief.
De Hoop is a Christian mental healthcare institution offering help to people with psychological and addiction problems. Because of this partnership with the Riverboat, many heard about the ship and had a chance to go through The Agency. “These people know what it is like to be dark in their lives because of the drug and alcohol abuse,” shared Sandra Jagroep (Netherlands), who debriefed the group from De Hoop. “When they exclaimed that they experienced God being with them in the escape room, they really do know what it’s like.” One of them who has claustrophobia even cried because she felt sad that she didn’t trust God enough. All of them took two bibles back, one for themselves and one for a friend.
People from churches and local organisations who have supported the Riverboat project in various ways came to attend the appreciation event, held both in Arnhem and Dordrecht. Some were port volunteers who helped with practical duties on board like cleaning and cooking. Every contribution has led towards the transformation of lives. “Our desire is that the Riverboat will be a catalyst for what God is doing in these communities we visit,” said Riverboat Director, Peter Nicoll (South Africa), in his address. “Through this touch point, people will take a step closer to what God has made them to be.”
The Riverboat project is born out of a desire to see a fresh approach to mobilise tens of thousands of people to live out a missional lifestyle, aiming to see vibrant communities among the least reached. More than 70 volunteers who are passionate about sharing the gospel and mobilising churches are on board. The pilot project is taking place from January to March 2018 and travelling to ports in Arnhem, Dordrecht, Bonn, Mainz, Strasbourg and Mannheim.