Yesterday I spent some time with this lovely gent, The Rev Bob Peters. He is the Chaplain at the Missions to Seafarers in Wellington Harbour.
If you are not familiar with the work this organisation does, it really is amazing. They give pastoral and practical help to seamen in the port. Most seafarers are not paid much, often have massive issues due to being away from home 10 months of the year, and it is really great for them to have somewhere comfortable and friendly to go when they have very little shore leave, or money.
Bob does a heap of stuff for "his men", including giving couselling, feeding them, free wifi a small shop and cafe within his building. He even provides them with free warm wooly hats, knitted by folk in Wellington. So many of the fishing vessels work the Southern Ocean and many of the men don't have good protective clothing on board. So the beanie hats fly out of the door!
He was telling me that sometimes he gets visits from passengers on the big cruise ships. When they know there is a priest close by, those with problems often seek out him and his Catholic counterpart.
If you are thinking of donating money to any charity as a "thank you for life" this holiday season (Christmas / Channukah etc), the Missions to Seafarers really is a good lot. Thanks. They'll be taking care of those without families to share the holidays with.
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