All aboard! A 12,000-ton ferry isn’t carrying tourists or cargo. Instead, it’s laden with books. But that’s not all: This floating bookfair also delivers knowledge, help, and hope to each port of call.
Several Christian charitable organizations in the United Kingdom, Germany, and the United States have helped with the ship-based ministry of Logos Hope and other ships since 1970.
Carrying tens of thousands of books, Logos Hope is the largest mobile bookshop in the world. This ocean-going ferry has been sailing since 2009. Those who walk the gangway can buy quality literature at reduced cost thanks to the generosity of individuals and businesses.
Volunteers crew the ship. They help visitors find affordable books and also perform other services, including teaching reading and providing entertainment via music and theatrical productions.
In port, crew members often go ashore to donate supplies or help with community projects. Examples include providing eyeglasses and water purifiers to those in need.
One of the ship’s operators, Operation Mobilization (OM), says on its website that “the [company’s] ships seek to provide aid and relief in situations of particular need as a practical demonstration of God’s love for mankind.” That goal is expressed as achieving “long-term change in each community.”
This summer, Logos Hope attracted around 20,000 visitors during a week-long visit in Libya’s Benghazi port.
Ship director Randy Grebe says, “Many Libyans were excited to meet foreigners. It is highly unusual for them as there is no tourism and very few come from nations far away.”
The ship carried books relating to everything from science and sports to gastronomy and medicine, according to supervisor Ronald Lappin. Most titles appeared in both Arabic and English.
“You can see that the people of Benghazi are very, very happy to visit our ship, and our crew from 58 nations are also very happy to meet the Libyan people here in Benghazi on board the ship,” he says.
“The arrival of the ship or the floating library to the city of Benghazi is of course a big event,” says Libyan writer and poet, Rehab Shenib. She browsed the ship’s aisles and thumbed through the titles, buying three Arabic books during her visit.
After Logos Hope left Libya, it sailed to Albania and then on to Montenegro, Greece, and Lebanon.
Calling faith “the foundation for our service,” a video on OM’s website says, “God has used books from the OM ships’ ministry and the practical service of Logos Hope’s crew to impact countless lives for His glory.”
Why? Christians are called to do all things in order to show God’s love and bring Him glory. Ministries that offer practical ways to do that challenge our thinking and deserve support.
Pray for finances, volunteers, and favor with foreign officials for Logos Hope.