Designed by God

Ships :: A crewmember shares his life story of finding purpose and his business plans for when he leaves the ship.

Nathanael Wiebe (Canada) grew up in a Christian home and accepted Jesus when he was very young. Church activities, Bible camps and youth groups were part of his upbringing.

Outside of this Christian environment, in elementary school, he faced a lot of struggles as he was bullied by others who made fun of him and pushed him around. This continued for several years and made Nathanael depressed. At the age of just eight years old, he had his first suicidal thoughts. These returned from time to time over the next decade.

When he started high school, things began to change as he became popular, due to the fact that he dared to be who he truly was and did what he was passionate about: art and fashion. This seemed to attract people and brought him friends. Nathanael says, “This attention sort of fixed the hole inside me to begin with, but I still didn’t feel full. I continued to struggle with the meaninglessness of life. I had made the choice to follow Jesus a long time before and knew that my salvation was secure but going to school, getting a job, paying taxes and eventually dying didn’t seem like a meaningful way of living the rest of my life.”

Next, he tried to find purpose by changing partners but he still felt very empty, discouraged and depressed. Nathanael went to a psychologist, who affirmed the meaninglessness of existence and left his patient with the realisation that there is no real purpose.

After finishing high school, Nathanael still struggled with thoughts of suicide but, as he was afraid to end his life, he pushed himself to focus on his future. His thoughts turned to mission service as he was a believer and wanted to serve God, even though his faith was based on his head-knowledge of Jesus and he didn’t have much experience of Him in his heart.

Nathanael made the choice to let Jesus rule over all of his life. He says, “It took me about ten years to put my whole life into God’s hands, but finally I found my life’s purpose in Jesus as He is faithful and reveals Himself when you look for him and surrender. It was then that I understood what my purpose is. The reason I am alive isn’t for me, but to glorify God in everything I am and do. And to help save other people’s eternal lives while promoting God’s name.”

He heard about the Ship Ministry when OM’s founder, George Verwer, spoke in a church in his home city. In 2019, Nathanael joined Logos Hope in Valparaíso, Chile and has been working in the deck department ever since.

During his time on board, Nathanael has grown in maturity in Christ. God has taught the young man, among other things, that the main authority in his life is God Himself and He wants him to love and respect authorities on board, too. Having struggled with this at the beginning of his ship life, Nathanael can now treat authority figures with the respect God wants him to show.

As a designer, Nathanael enjoys connecting his passion for creativity with his desire to glorify God. He says, “I want to invest my talent for His kingdom and spread the Good News through that.” He plans to start a business producing organic, recycled, sustainable and fair-trade clothing when he leaves the ship later this year. Eager to love others and care for them as much as he can, he says, “I want to use my brand, Golgotha Garments, to glorify God’s name and donate at least 10 percent of the profits to charity.”

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