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
Do I hear the Easter Bells ringing? Is it possible? After all, it is barely past New Year! The winter solstice was just the other day. Yet, time is running and the new year is fast developing into the old year. We seem to be gaining momentum with each new day and it feels as if Father Time is allowing the hands of time to turn quicker and quicker every time we look.
The early morning sun is warm in the harbour where the emphasis is also on doing everything faster. Always faster. A container ship is being offloaded. Huge cranes are doing the work, faster than last year. The man on the quay is also running along faster than last year, because the pressure is growing to do things faster. Today everything must happen in the blink of an eye. On board the ships the men do the same, but on each ship they make do with fewer people. The work hours are longer, the ships faster – everything is about speed. Our chase to find faster ways of doing makes us miss so many beautiful things – the bright orange and red sunrise, a cloud that drifts beautifully above our heads, the laughter of a child...
This year the unpredictable nature of so many valuable things in life will affect our lives because we are chasing new speed records. Men working at sea will sail to beautiful harbours, but will be stopped by pirates when they attack. Others will find the burden of long periods away from home to be too much, while yet others will suffer failed marriages. Some men will not get paid for months. Large numbers of men will hear of bad tidings while sailing kilometres from home on the vast open seas. Many men will find the merciless pace too much to bear and they will end their lives tragically...
That is why we at the CSO will continue to help those men in 2018. We will continue to support them and introduce them to God, because He can transcend time too. That will give them a rock, a constant that is never touched or affected by the race to try and beat time. This is a rock that remains steadfast throughout the ages.