From the beginning . . .
In December, 1962, Rev. John Vandercook began to work with international seafarers in the Port of New Orleans, having seen the need for an evangelical ministry to seafarers. The next year, New Orleans Baptist Seamen's Service began. Rev. Vandercook began visiting ships on a regular basis. The downstairs of his home became the first seamen's center. Through meeting the physical and social needs of seafarers, the door was wide open to meet their greatest need - a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. In 1964, this became a full-time ministry for Rev. Vandercook. In 1965, New Orleans Baptist Seamen's Service became a not-for-profit corporation.
The ministry grew quickly under Rev. Vandercook's leadership. Thousands of seafarers from one hundred forty-one countries had the opportunity to hear and accept the Gospel message.
Global Maritime ministers to international seafarers and port-related personnel. Many of the ships visiting our port are container ships which often stay in port for only a few (12-24) hours. Because they are in port for such a short time, the crew does not have the opportunity to make phone calls, send and receive mail, or take care of any personal needs. By locating our facilities near the port, seafarers are able to walk to the center throughout the day. We also provide transportation to and from the terminal as needed. Our resources are available to them whenever they have free time.
Our new center on Tchoupitoulas Street has given us the opportunity to reach port-related personnel. Our goal is to have Bible studies and prayer times during lunch or coffee breaks. The center also gives them a place to come for counseling, encouragement, and Christian fellowship. Our desire is to reach these people with the Gospel and then encourage them to become active in the surrounding churches.
There has been a phenomenal growth in the cruise ship industry in New Orleans, as well as the cargo traffic. There are two cruise ships currently homeported in New Orleans: Carnival's Triumph, and the Norwegian Spirit. In the fall, two additional cruise ships will make New Orleans their home port, bringing thousands of international visitors into the Port of New Orleans each week. What a challenge, and what a mission field!
Learn more about the Port of New Orleans.