In 1944, the Reformed Churches and the Hervormde Kerk in Cape Town realized that there was a dire need amongst the seamen who visited the harbour. On 9 November 1944 these congregations started the work with the aim of caring for the needs of Dutch soldiers and seamen on their way and from Indonesia. At that time all the work was done on a voluntary basis.
For many years, only Dutch ships were given any attention but gradually it became abundantly clear that there were immense opportunities for mission work to be done amongst ALL the seamen in the Cape Town harbour. Since then the work has become completely interdenominational and has grown immensely.
Missionary Worker at work
André is on board a tanker ship in Cape Town. It is his umpteenth visit and he knows the men by name, as they know him. The news that André is on board warrants a visit from all, even the captain, for a short talk. It is his last day on board and at the sound of the canon on Signal Hill he will hand over command to a new captain.
He pages through the Bibles that André displayed on the table. It is the catalyst that turns the discussion. He reflects on his time on board, the difficult times, the ebb and flow of being a seaman. His conclusion? That God is the only constant. The whispers in the silence of the wind remain there. Always. It is true, constant, eternal.
That is how he manages his ship. He encourages everyone to listen and be quiet. They should hear the voice of the sea, but also God’s voice. That is why, he explains, he makes a point to say hello and now goodbye. André’s work helps every one of his men to get an opportunity to hear the Whisper in the silence of the wind clearly.