by the Rev. David M. Rider, President & Executive Director
The destructive typhoon that laid waste to the Philippines has impacted millions of lives. As more and more news reports roll in of the horrifying circumstances left in the aftermath of the storm, I find myself full of heartache for the victims and their families—families both in Asia and scattered across the globe.
One of the families in our charge at the Seamen’s Church Institute (SCI) is the collective family of the millions of men and women working in the maritime industry—many of whom call the Philippines their homeland. For these brave seafarers, who find themselves a world away from loved ones, I extend my utmost concern. You dwell in my heart, and I remember you in my prayers.
As many seafarers desperately search for news of loved ones in the storm’s path, I want to extend SCI’s support from our centers in Port Newark and the Bay Area of California.
Effective immediately, any seafarer from the Philippines will receive a no-cost phone card from our chaplains or ship visitors by request. Additionally, both our coastal Centers provide free Wi-Fi, which seafarers may use to send messages or make calls via webcams where possible. Failing either of these ways of connecting with home, know that my team and I will do whatever we can to help Filipino seafarers get in touch with relatives living abroad.
Although thousands of miles away, you, our seafaring family, are not alone when you come to a port in America. Our organization and all of the other seafarers’ agencies in this country are working together. We are here for you: to welcome you, to give you space, to care for you, to listen and to help you connect with home.
God bless you and the work you do for our world.