The s/y Mellow Moon sailed to the Bahamas this past summer, bringing a team of volunteer mentors to assist with a two-week camp for adolescence. The vessel – owned by Eric and Annie Namowicz – is part of the partnerSHIP program out of Port YWAM in which people are supported in using their boats for missions. It took almost four days of sailing for the couple to reach their destination of Marsh Harbor on the Abaco Islands.
Annie Namowicz said many of the 10-12 year-olds at the camp the first week made significant life decisions.
“We got the opportunity to talk with the kids and help them understand that truly giving your life to the Lord means allowing him to work in all areas of your lives,” she said. “We had several campers who felt that they wanted to be baptized in the ocean to signify that they have truly committed their lives to the Lord.”
The Namowiczes joined a team from Glad Tidings Tabernacle Assembly of God in Key West, Florida, for the first week of the camp. There were 47 campers during that period. They participated in sporting activities, led small groups and taught at chapel services. In the second week of the camp, volunteers worked exclusively with teenagers, Annie Namowicz said.
“We became counselors as well as team leaders for the sports tournaments,” she said. “Although, I played more basketball, softball, and volleyball then I ever care to, Eric was in his element and loved the chance to get back into some sports. We often competed in the tournaments, with the kids until after midnight.”
The Bahamian islands are heavily populated by children and young adults. According to the Central Intelligence Agency’s World Factbook, 40 percent of the population there is 24 years old or younger – including nearly a quarter of the population that is 14 or younger. Glen Bogert, a YWAM Ships volunteer and resident of Key West, said the Bahamas are a place in need of more visiting ministry teams. He and his wife, Pam, volunteered in 2013 at the same camp that the Namowiczes staffed.
“When we went over there and did a children’s camp, we found out more about the camp location and learned that they only used it three weeks a year. The rest of the time, it just sits empty and unused,” Bogert said. “You see boats out there and it just starts sparking the thoughts of ships coming in there full of kids sharing the gospel in the Bahamas.”
Namowicz said the last-minute decision she and her husband made to participate in the camp was advantageous for Glad Tidings Church.
“Glad Tidings usually has a team member take their boat to Camp Abaco every year, however this year they did not have one,” one said. “It also turns out that Camp Abaco was short on food this year and Glad Tidings had a huge load of food to send but no way to get it there. We were able to fill that need with our boat and add a few more team members to their small crew for the first week of camp.”
Click here for more on the YWAM Ships partnerSHIPS program.