Struggles, suffering and heartbreak

Enrico is from the Philippines and it was his first visit to South Africa. He is a young man, full of joy and energy. For him the time spent on board the ship was a huge adventure. It was his maiden voyage and according to him, it was the beginning of a very promising career at sea.  

Danie, the CSO harbour chaplain in Port Elizabeth, visited Enrico's ship, the TORINO. The ship transports motor vehicles to various parts of the world. Enrico is the first to arrive to chat to Danie and asked a thousand questions about South Africa.   

Eventually Danie arrived in the dining room where the crew had lunch. Danie displayed the literature he took with him and someone immediately took a CD, put it into the CD player and the sound blasted through the dining room.

The old, familiar sounds of the song, 'What a friend I have in Jesus' coloured the lunch hour. It invoked various reactions among the men. Some sat and listened silently. Others hummed along with the music, or sang along softly. Enrico, who a moment ago could not stop talking, changed. He sat thinking, as if he considered and reconsidered the implications of the words, 'What a friend I have in Jesus'.

Before Danie left, Enrico found him again, but showed a different side to the youthful enthusiasm of earlier. Life at sea is not just moonshine and roses, he admitted. He continued to share some of his struggles, suffering and heartbreak. Then he admitted that he badly needed, on that day, at that particular moment, to hear the words, 'What a friend I have in Jesus' and to hear them again.

In the simplicity of an old, well-known song, a seafaring man was reminded of what he has in Jesus. The CSO tries to do just that, every day – to remind men at sea of who Jesus is and what his crucified Hands and Feet mean to them.