Celebrating one year of Doulos Hope!

Doulos Hope :: Looking back on one year of service for OM's fifth vessel

Doulos Hope, the latest addition to the Ship Ministry, celebrates one year of service on 7 May 2024. Purchased in 2022, the vessel underwent a year of renovations before opening to the public in Singapore. Since then, the ship and her crew have visited ten ports in five countries throughout Asia, sharing knowledge, help and hope.

Doulos Hope “has seen the hand of God in a mighty way — over her and around her,” shared Nathan Schmutz (Switzerland), managing director of Doulos Hope. He described the past year as “an amazing journey” of shaping and establishing both the ship’s ministry and identity as an onboard community.

Yet the first few months were not without their share of waves. From technical repairs to air conditioner issues, crewmembers encountered challenges. The crew remained focused on their task and bonded together as a community through it all.  

On board, Doulos Hope has over 2,000 titles covering a wide range of subjects. Crewmember Wilma (Paraguay) shared that her favourite part of working in the bookfair is “to see the excitement when [visitors] come on board, especially the kids.” 

Many visitors already know the work of the Ship Ministry from previous visits. In the Philippines, a woman showed Wilma a photo of her young son on board Logos Hope. The pair were both excited to visit Doulos Hope and recreate the picture. 

Doulos Hope has also impacted thousands of people on shore through crewmember visits to nearby communities on their ‘Connect Days.’ Highlights from land include helping distribute water filtration buckets in Subic Bay, Philippines, spending time with older adults in Singapore and taking part in a construction project in Sihanoukville, Cambodia. 

In the Philippines, Caleb (Mexico) visited a school with more than 1,000 students. The team went from room to room telling the students about the ship, sharing their personal stories and donating books. “For many of [the students], it was the first time they heard about the ship, so it was exciting for us to share about our home — and who knows, maybe one day we can see them serving on board!” 

Volunteers

In every port, Doulos Hope has depended on  local volunteers to keep things running smoothly. As a result, crewmembers and volunteers work side-by-side, forming a tight onboard community for the duration of the ship’s visit. 

In addition to serving in the bookfair, port volunteers also work in other areas such as the galley and housekeeping. “It grew out of necessity [due to a shortage of crewmembers] but, it’s also God saying: ‘I’m bringing these people to the ship for a reason. They’re here as valuable members  of the Kingdom of God,’” shared Nathan.

Lukas (Germany) serves in the galley (ship’s kitchen) and has worked alongside volunteers for many hours. “Seeing how port volunteers come and serve with the team, [listening to] their stories and getting to know their hard-working attitude has been a highlight,” he said. A few people have volunteered in multiple ports, eager to help the ship in any way they can.

A servant of hope

Previously known as The Taipan, meaning ‘boss of all bosses’, Doulos Hope means ‘servant of hope’ and strives to be just that. 

In Bangkok, Thailand, a staff member at a centre that houses university students, said the crewmember’s ‘Connect Day’ visit “meant a lot to our students. They experienced a cultural exchange… a picture of the whole world. Some of the students were really impressed with your stories about serving people from all around the world. They have been encouraged to serve in their own context and lives.”

“There are so many stories of how God has built this ship over the last year,” Nathan shared. “I’m very encouraged, especially because I recognise that we only scratched the surface this first year.”
 

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