Sail The Seven Seas"
By Lois J. Stucky
As soon as he could, young Walter began approaching shipsí captains for a seamanís job. Though his first efforts failed, he persisted. Once he barely missed being hired aboard the schooner, "The Antelope." This turned out to be fortunate for him for it later ran aground and was wrecked.
Eventually, writes Walter Burrell, he was hired to sail to Norway. After seven more years passed he found himself seeing in person strange and interesting places about which he had only read or heard previously: Suez, the Red Sea, Korea, Japan, Hong Kong, etc..
He was a godless young seaman, and he says of himself, "The bars of the world took my money as I traveled the world and the paths of sin. But like broken cisterns, the waters failed."
God had a far higher purpose for the life of Walter Burrell. Today he runs zealously from ship to ship in harbors of Ireland, up and down gangways, seeking seamen to come to the Gospel services at the church. Nine big seamen trying to squeeze into his car prove too much, so he makes two trips to the service. At times he and his wife are able to extend the hospitality of their home, especially over holidays when the hearts of seamen turn toward home.
Walter stops to talk to girls who roam the dockyards presenting strong temptation to seamen who are long months from stable influences of a good home. Through his efforts, some of these girls find the reality of Calvary and leave such a life for a Christian marriage, home and family. Sadly, others go into an early grave, smitten down by AIDS. But to the end, if possible, Walter and his wife, Mary, offer the comfort of the redeeming Gospel.
Bitterly cold mornings, rain, sleet and snow sweeping the docklands, making the gangways treacherous, do not stop him from sharing the Gospel. Ridiculing laughter, calling the Bible a "fairy story," refusing the literature he kindly offers, do not stop him. He realizes he is grappling with men who are blinded (2 Cor. 4:4).
From different Christian organizations he receives Gospel literature in many languages. Whether the ships come from Belgium, Germany, Sweden, Holland, France, Russia, Poland, Greece, Iceland, the West Indies, South America, etc., he is prepared to share the Gospel through the printed page. Long hours at sea afford good opportunity for the reading and pondering of this literature.
Seamen need to ponder carefully about eternity. Mr. Burrell tells us that each year hundreds of ships are pulled beneath the cruel seas and all lives aboard may be suddenly lost. The riskiness of the seamanís life on uncertain seas, the ferocity of storms sometimes encountered speak loud and clear to those who have ears to hear, "Prepare to meet thy God!"
For about twenty years Mr. Burrell has been receiving Herald of His Coming literature to share aboard ships, and he tells us, as he thanks us for sending the papers to him, "They sail the seven seas, to all nations!"
We are grateful to God for the wonderful privilege to co-labor with zealous Christians like Walter and Mary. There are other dock missionaries on the Herald mailing list as well, who place Herald literature on ships, ships which may sail to and from countries "closed" to the Gospel. In some cases the literature may end up in the homes of the seamen where families have not heard the Gospel. One seaman saved becomes a missionary to fellow seamen and to home folk.
We think of Fred Lovell in Barbados, who was a seaman reading and supporting and distributing Herald of His Coming literature for many years as he worked aboard ship. Now retired from the ship, he meets many seamen with Gospel literature as their vessels dock in Barbados. Who better than those who have spent years at sea know the opportunities, the needs, the lonely times aboard these vessels which are cut off for months from the normal life to which most of us are accustomed. Thank God for those with a burden to give the Gospel to seamen.
You Can Help the Gospel
We who do not visit docks and give the Gospel personally to seamen still may help send it into all the world. At Herald of His Coming God has given the privilege of sending it by air and by sea, day after day, year after year--in glad obedience to Christís command to "Go into all the world, and preach the Gospel...." (Mark 16:15).
How blessed it is to take part in helping, even in a small way, to fulfill the desire of our Lordís heart that all the world might hear the Good News! Are you sharing in that joy? Let me suggest that your gifts sent to Herald of His Coming help to do that very thing. It is so necessary, so necessary that the blessed story of Christís coming to be Lord and Saviour be echoed around the world. And in this particular day and hour, it is very important that the message of Christís coming again and the preparation of Christians for this coming, be proclaimed.
Might we be stirred with the urgency for souls we sense in Walter Burrell as he spends himself to give the Gospel--loading himself with Gospel literature, cramming his car full to take seamen to church, caring enough about the least one he sees in the dockyards to reach out to them. He sees Satan at work as an active ambassador of darkness and he cannot slack off.
He writes, "Hundreds of ships .... thousands of seamen .... my only problem is time. Each minute is precious. Go labour on and be spent. There is no unemployment in the Christian life."
Busy, wearing, wearying days and late nights--but souls saved! Perhaps the uncertainly of life on stormy seas has affected him with the sense that TODAY is the day of salvation! Is this not true of all of us? Are we not all living in uncertain days? All around are sinking souls whom someone should save!
Again, we encourage you to send your gifts to help us mail out the blessed Gospel, telling of Christís coming to be our Redeemer and of His soon coming again. For all who are sending your gifts to keep the Gospel going out, we thank God again and again. We who share together in the labors will share together in the reward from the hand of our Lord. How blessed it will be! And will we not want to lay our awards at His feet in gratitude and adoration!
* For the good number who have written for "Soul-Winner Packets," and for the prospect of souls being saved as a result. Pray many, many will be.
* For all of you whose hearts have been touched to send your supporting gifts and offer your prayers, to enable Herald of His Coming ministry to continue on fulfilling that which God has purposed for it.
* That God will rule and overrule in the Middle East to get His will done, and that many Jewish souls will put their trust in Jesus Christ as the promised Messiah.
* That God will greatly use this issue of Herald of His Coming to help us readers enter more fully into the life of brokenness so His love can fill us in greater measure and we can worship Him more worthily.
* That God will inspire more Herald readers to send regular monthly support to help with heavy printing and mailing expenses.
* For Godís clear direction as Herald of His Coming faces changes of personnel and possibly of location in the near future.
* That Christians in jails or prisons abound in Godís grace to live uprightly and to witness effectively.
* That God will grant humility and repentance to this nation from the highest officials on down and that we Christians will not fail in prayer so that God may forgive our sin and heal our land (2 Chronicles 7:14).