These days the world’s oldest passenger ship does not spend its days ferrying tourists to tropical vacation spots – rather it is a ship on a mission.
The MV Doulos is one of the vessels operated by Operation Mobilisation, and it is now visiting New Zealand on its farewell tour. Built in 1914, just two years after the Titanic, the Doulos evokes another era. Although it has been upgraded a number of times, its wood panelling and single massive engine are no longer considered safe so it will be decommissioned within a few years.
The MV Doulos travels the world to carry out the mission of Operation Mobilisation
Last month the Doulos was in Auckland where it offered a series of events and tours, and this month it is berthed in Wellington.
The mission of the Doulos and its sister ships Logos II and Logos Hope is to bring knowledge, help, and hope to people around the world. The international crew of 320 volunteers who staff the ships do this by providing books, lending a hand with development projects and relief operations, and holding prayer sessions and cultural events.
With new and second-hand bookstores in virtually every shopping centre and millions of publications available at our finger tips through Internet, it is hard for Kiwis to imagine that people in many part of the world do not have access to good books.
Carrying 6000 titles (about 500,000 books), Doulos is the world’s biggest floating bookshop. It takes the time to visit not only major ports but out-of-the-way places such as Lei, Kavieng, and Rabaul in Papua New Guinea.
Not all the books in the Dolous’ hold are religious. They include books on sport and the arts, children’s books, and dictionaries.
When it is in a port, Doulos is open daily for general visits, and tours of the ship are a major attraction. The crew also tailor specific programs for particular groups, including volunteer ministries and young people.
Doulos is in Wellington from July 3rd to 24th. Its programme includes a family fun day, sports, music and movie caf?s, an international night, and several prayer sessions for church groups. For a detailed schedule call (04) 472 0641.
After she leaves Wellington, Doulos will visit several Australian ports and then heads to Dili, East Timor.
Operation Mobilisation (OM) says its mission is to motivate and equip people to share God’s love. It works in more than 110 countries and seeks to help plant churches, especially in areas of the world where Christ is least known.
Cultural sensitivity is one of OM’s key values. Its approach to religious tensions around the world is compassion, not compromise. Their international teams strive to demonstrate Christ’s love, reconciliation and truth to people from many different world faiths.
In particular OM’s long term commitment to Muslim peoples has given it an extensive network of teams with experience and understanding of Islamic beliefs, language skills and cultural sensitivity. OM says it is committed to walking alongside individual Christians and fellowships, offering encouragement and support in difficult situations and persecution.
"We draw new believers together and help rebuild communities of hope and peace. Our vision is to see lives transformed as local believers share Jesus’ love," OM says.