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Director's review of 2017

Pil-Hun Park (South Korea) returned to the Ship Ministry as Director of Logos Hope in May 2017. He and his wife, Mi-Ae, had previously served on board Logos II and Doulos, along with their two children. In this special end-of-year feature, Pil-Hun reflects on his first eight months as leader of the onboard community.

Logos Hope’s new Captain, Samuel Hils (Germany) and I both took up our roles mid-way through the ship’s year of ministry in the Caribbean. As we waited at the top of the gangway to receive the guest of honour at our first official opening ceremony together, Captain Sam asked me if I was nervous.

“’Not really, no,’ I replied. He said that, strangely, he felt the same. We agreed that it was surely because so many people around the globe pray for Logos Hope. I know they are praying for the captain and the director – and we can sense the power of that cover. It has enabled us to experience unnatural peace and calm, even when it would be normal to be nervous. It is a great privilege and I thank everyone who supports us in this way. We are blessed with a great leadership team on board and I appreciate their support and friendship over these months. I also thank God for His grace upon my time in charge thus far.”

So what would you say are your highlights from this year?

“The two most memorable ministry opportunities for me are the ship’s visits to Haiti and Antigua. Before we even got to Haiti, there were a lot of concerns and prayer points; especially over our security. I told the crew that some of us might not be able to go out at all, but I felt that it was still worth bringing the ship there and that because of our presence, our partners would be mobilised to pray from all over the world for the nation of Haiti.

“As it happened, I was really blown away by how God used our ministry for the nation. From our wives and sisters teaching Haitian women how to make school uniforms on sewing machines we donated to an orphanage, to the leadership training we ran; from the water filters we gave to 350 rural villages, to the rebuild of a school – not forgetting that our Visitor Experience Deck was packed full of people every single day. God was at work and we could be His vessel to people who still suffer the long-term challenges of the last decade. I personally found it a real encouragement to see how various agencies, charities and businesses are partnering together to bring improvements to, and from within, Haiti.

“Then in Antigua, it was our privilege to send 150 crewmembers to the neighbouring island of Barbuda, to help clear up after the hurricane damage. That was such a great picture of three organisations working together: Samaritan’s Purse, Missionary Aviation Fellowship and Logos Hope. To hear Barbudans commenting that they hadn’t received much help but then for us to be the people from all over the world who could do something for them, was a great witness. We hosted people on board the ship who had lost everything and had to leave their island. It was important to just listen to what they had experienced, pray for their emotional recovery and put our arms around them. Although we are not a professional relief organisation, we could respond as Jesus’ hands and feet and show His compassion in that region.”

And being in the Caribbean for the year, Logos Hope also had to take measures when the hurricanes blew through?

“Yes, we were in Dominican Republic. I thank God for technology that helps us track the path of the hurricanes, so we could escape twice. We left the port of Santo Domingo and went out to sea to avoid both Hurricane Irma and Hurricane Maria. That was our changeover season: 100 people were leaving the ship and 100 were joining. What was amazing was that we experienced very little disruption. We didn’t need to change any flight arrangements and we could bring the new people on board a day early. They had a rough first voyage but our ship was unharmed as we avoided the dangerous weather. And we were able to re-enter the port and reopen to Dominicans at the weekend both times, which was when we received most visitors to the ship. Again, we are grateful to all who prayed and who offered their financial support for our unforeseen fuel bills.”

Now an OM ship has arrived in Latin America for the first time in almost a generation. What can we expect to see over the next few years?

“It’s been a major operation to re-stock our bookfair to carry 65 percent Spanish-language books. We also have Spanish lessons going on and I know the whole community is excited about connecting with people in a new culture with new dynamics.

“OM Ships and OM Latin America have been working together to plan our visits around this continent. We share a bold vision, in that we want to see vibrant communities of Jesus followers among the least reached. The practical application for our partnership is that Logos Hope’s activities can challenge Latino churches and Christians to be aware of this need and to also catch the vision for themselves. Our aim is to inspire Latinos to follow God’s call; and to help churches send workers to least-reached people in specific nations.”

So, after your first half-year, what’s your impression of the floating community and ministry you’re now leading?

“When I’m asked why I said yes to this position, my answer is because of the young people on the ship. It impacted my life as a young man, and I know that these volunteers today are being equipped to be future Christian leaders. I’m so excited to be part of their leadership journey and to see what God is going to do through their lives. Even though they’re 18, 19 years old or in their early twenties, they are transformed when they leave. That thrills me and that is why I love this Ship Ministry. It reaches out ashore, but it also impacts those on board.

“Another realisation when I rejoined in this position was, ‘Wow, the Ship Ministry is bigger than I thought. There are so many people scattered around the world using their skills and calling to make sure Logos Hope is running. I have been amazed by the commitment and dedication of our colleagues on shore. I praise God for how he uses everyone, including all our prayer partners, to achieve His purposes for OM Ships and I’m excited to see what He will accomplish in 2018.”

Pil-Hun Park was interviewed for this article by OM Ships’ journalist, Julie Knox.


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