Rev Lamberto Valino talks about the work of ICMA member the Association for Seafarers’ Mission in Japan. Rev Valino and his wife Angelita, who are originally from the Philippines, work together in the port of Yokohama.
We have been supporting the mission to foreign seafarers in Kanagawa, Japan, since September 2001. We have spent eight years plying in and out of the ports around Yokohama. We go onboard the ships regularly to find out about the work of seafarers. Their stories bear remarkable similarities: loneliness, friendship, finance, concern for their family’s future. Seafaring is a job that is physically and emotionally strenuous.
Perhaps you are wondering why anyone would want to be a seafarer. My answer is simple. The rich may have abundance but the poor have to struggle to obtain what they need. This points us to the seafarer’s essential need for a person whom they may call friend, whom they cantrust, who can give them inner strength for living. Seafarers need people who can respond to their problems appropriately. Interacting with the crew requires empathy.
We are missionaries to foreign seafarers also in a foreign land. We have been given the ability to love. We are being given the chance to exercise wisdom, justice and power. These play an important role in providing physical, emotional and spiritual assistance, and also companionship, for seafarers.
This is a new regular feature on the ICMA website which focuses on the work of our member societies around the world. If you would like your port chaplaincy, seafarers’ centre or ship visiting team to be the featured ministry, contact the International Secretariat office. We would love to hear from you.