The m/v YWAM Liberty was facing a dire situation. The present captain was leaving on Thursday and there was still no replacement on the horizon. Recruitment was working in overdrive, all hands were on deck to try and find a new captain to serve on board the newest vessel for YWAM Ships Kona.
The crew went to bed a couple days before the captain was going to leave and woke up the next morning to a surprise. Laurie Crew had flown in from Perth, Australia overnight and was ready to assume the role of captain.
Crew, 61, has lived in Perth, Western Australia for the last 27 years. He had originally visited Perth when he went to sea in 1974 and fell in love with the city. He moved in 1990 and has been a resident there ever since.
Growing up, Crew’s family wasn’t Christian but they had a Nazarene pastor living in the neighborhood who was friends with Crew’s father. They were invited to go to Sunday School with them and Crew continued attending that same church for many years until he went to sea.
Joining the marine industry was “always in the cards” for Crew. His grandfather was a fisherman and his father had been involved in Search and Rescue boats with the Air Force during World War II.
Crew has known about YWAM for the past 20+ years. Crew and friends had been folk dancing a few times at the YWAM Perth base, and a YWAMer there was also an attendee of his local church. He has Loren Cunningham’s book, “Is That Really You God?” on his shelf in his room. Crew had originally applied to be on the crew bringing the m/v Pacific Link down from Japan in its earliest days with YWAM but the timing didn’t work out. However, Crew relies on knowing that “God is good all the time and He never lets us down. He gives us three different answers, yes, no, and wait. Sometimes you wait for thirty years, and sometimes you wait just a few hours and you’re there.”
Crew and his wife had just returned from a cruise in the Pacific the day before when he heard about the need for a captain on board the YWAM Liberty through online connections. He texted his wife to ask what she thought about him going to Cairns, Australia to help serve and she thought it was a good opportunity to merge the two worlds of maritime life and missions work together. Crew was packing and looking at flights that evening around 7pm, and by 10pm he was boarding his flight. He arrived early that Wednesday morning which gave him a day and a half with the previous captain to go over the official documents for the vessel and get accustomed to the ship.
Life in missions isn’t a foreign one to Crew. He has been on trips to India, Sri Lanka, South America, Australia, and even helped out in a hospital in Papua New Guinea.
Crew’s goal for his life involves more missions and volunteering trips, with his wife by his side. The two have a couple of children between them and are expecting their first grandchild in the summer.
He and his wife had been looking for more opportunities to be involved in missions work. They were incredibly pleased when the chance came to intertwine their two passions, maritime life and missions work. Crew will be on board the YWAM Liberty for the next few months, but he said the next step is to get his wife to join him so this can continue to be a lifetime adventure.
Captain Laurie has been a great help on the YWAM Liberty. He serves well and leads well, and the YWAM Liberty is incredibly blessed to have him while they get ready to operate as a medical vessel in YWAM Ships’ fleet.
By Brooke Everheart
YWAM Ships Kona Communications Staff