These are challenging times for us all and we pray for those that have already lost loved ones.
Amongst all the communications and concerns for immediate family, you may not be thinking about this ministry, however, we thought it would be right to publish an update since we have been too busy to distribute much information lately and so much has changed.
Since January, the leadership of YWAM England, who owns the training vessel Next Wave, have been in discussion with our sister charity that operated m/v Pacific Hope (right). They so effectively responded to the hurricane devastation in the Bahamas and now what to expand their operations, with Next Wave joining them in the Caribbean, as their training vessel.
Plans were starting to come together, future training courses and a dry-dock/refit scheduled, once the last of the volunteers and trainees left the vessel. Then, on the evening of Monday 2nd March t/s Next Wave was attacked in our quiet home port of Skala Loutron, Lesvos, Greece. The captain immediately sailed to the bay and called me. Vigilante-gangs started roaming the island, violence breaking out between these gangs and the police in Mytilini, as well as between police and refugees locked into the very over-crowded refugee camp at Moria. The vessel was supposed to go into dry-dock in Skala Loutron on Friday 6th March, but this was considered unsafe. So, she completed the procedure for clearing out of Greece, then sailed for Turkey.
On Monday 9th March she was in Viaport marina, an hour south of Istanbul, near where she is now dry-docking. By the time they reached Turkey, the COVID-19 crisis was closing borders, so our plans, which were changing daily, were all cancelled. The vessel was taken out of the water (see left) into a secure shipyard and British crew ‘evacuated’ before the borders closed. There she is safe and will remain, with a large Pacific Hope team refitting her, until borders open again, and we can recrew her. Timing of the delivery voyage is uncertain, as we all wait to see what things will look like once COVID-19 is under control. However, the Pacific Hope team’s commitment is strong, and the vessel will be ready to serve as soon as borders reopen.
Join us in praying for a swift end to this crisis and continuation of the ministry,
Captain Brian G Sloan
YWAM Next Wave