With so many different ministry focuses to so many different people groups, why should anyone consider port ministry? Why should port ministry be important to Christians? With so many other places competing for ministry dollars, why should we consider giving to port ministry?
Dr. Chuck Kelly of New Orleans Baptist Seminary said, "Port ministries have the fastest access to the ends of the earth." At Texas Port Ministry alone we encounter over 23,000 seafarers from over 50 different countries of the world each year. Some of those countries have little to no access to the gospel of Jesus Christ. When those seafarers visit Freeport, Texas, they are visited by a volunteer from Texas Port Ministry. That volunteer takes New Testaments, evangelistic tracts, Jesus Film DVDs, and other tools of the gospel in the seafarer's heart language to the ship. Seafarers take these resources, many times enthusiastically, read them and take them home to share with their friends and families. In this way the gospel is introduced into countries where missionaries have difficulting going.
Each year over 150,000 trucks enter the dry cargo area at Port Freeport. Texas Port Ministry ministers to many of these men and women by providing personal care items, shower facilities, Bibles, and audio CDs. As we've engaged more and more truck drivers, we've discovered that many of them have immigrated here from other countries and still have families there. Having Bibles and other resources in various languages has been helpful in meeting the needs of these drivers. Drivers are alone and isolated so much of the time that they enjoy opportunties to sit and visit with other people. Our volunteers provide a listening ear and lively conversation which often turns to spiritual matters and sometimes even to gospel presentations. The gospel of Jesus often drives away from Texas Port Ministry on 18 wheels.
Every week we have over 30 port workers eat lunch with us. Several more of these come back for Bible study later in the week. Every time we enter or leave the port facilities we see many of these same workers. Our Monday Meals ministry has opened the doors for us to form meaningful relationships with many of these men and women who live and work right here in our area. When accidents happen and prayer is needed, they know they can contact us for support and encouragement. Our goal is to share the love of Christ with workers at the port and help to connect them with area churches.
Texas Port Ministry stands on the front lines of missions. Through our ministry to the Freeport Harbor Community we're able to fulfill God's command to us in Acts 1:8 to be witnesses in Jerusalem (to port workers) in Judea and Samaria (to truck drivers) and to the ends of the earth (to seafarers).
Why port ministry? The answer is obvious. The better question might be: How can I get involved in port ministry?