19 February 2019 is the tenth anniversary of Logos Hope entering service as the world’s largest floating bookfair.
OM’s ship is a unique vessel and concept: a platform to take literature around the world, to share the hope of the gospel, demonstrate Christ’s love in communities and mobilise the global Church for mission.
The 400 volunteers making up Logos Hope’s crew come from more than 60 different nations to serve at sea for a period of one or two years. In each port, they 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 ten 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 almost 8 million visitors up her gangways
- 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!)
- had more than 8 million books purchased on board, 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.
The anniversary will be marked on board in Chile, where Logos Hope 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 by sharing knowledge, help and hope.
Take a look at some of the highlights of the last decade in this short video:
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The life-transforming ministry of OM Ships is only made possible by the generosity of people all around the world, just like you. Please join us in sharing knowledge, help and hope.