The Doulos Hope (newest addition to OM Ships) will be docking at various ports throughout Malaysia, offering visitors a chance to explore one of the world’s largest book fairs and meet its international crew. From 1-8 August 2023, the ship will be open to visitors in Penang.
With over 200,000 books and 2,000 titles being sold at affordable prices, this cultural and educational ship is a one-of-a-kind experience, says Pr Liew Yean Huat, chairman of the Doulos Penang Advisory Committee.
“The Doulos Hope was purchased and refurbished in Penang last year. It was originally called the Taipan and was a gambling ship. Their first port of call was in Singapore just earlier this year, and it will now be in Malaysia for several months,” he shares.
Operated by the German-registered charity GBA Ships, Doulos Hope means ‘servant of hope’ and is the first of OM Ships planned to be more regionally focused (it will serve mainly but not exclusively in Southeast Asia).
“We are excited to see the Doulos Hope in Malaysia. Its goal is to bring hope and knowledge to local communities, especially in the areas of education and literacy,” Pr Liew, who is from Georgetown Baptist Church, says.
From Penang to Klang and Pasir Gudang
The Doulos Hope is scheduled to make port visits along the coast of West Malaysia (Penang, Klang and Pasir Gudang), with Kota Kinabalu and Kuching visits in the works.
Its first port of call in Malaysia is Penang, where it will be open to visitors 1-8 August (4-9pm on Tues-Sat, closed Sun-Mon). The entry fee is RM2 per person and allows you to visit the book fair on the upper deck and cafeteria.
There will be ice-cream, coffee and snacks for sale. You’ll also get to meet the friendly, international crew — there are currently over 40 crew members from at least a dozen countries.
“It is a great opportunity for Malaysians to learn about other cultures, meet new faces and pick up new books from all over the world being sold at below-retail prices,” Pr Liew says, encouraging parents to make it a family outing.
A 45-minute organised tour of the entire ship is also available for groups of up to seven at RM100 per tour. After Penang, the Doulos Hope will sail south and dock in Port Klang, before making its way to Pasir Gudang.
“We hope to see people visiting the boat to learn about different cultures and immerse themselves in an intercultural environment. We hope the books that are available will help them to improve certain aspects of their lives — there are books on parenting, cooking and so on,” he shares enthusiastically.
Pr Liew also said such an experience doesn’t come by every day, and is a chance for families who may not necessarily have access to a ship experience to enjoy an affordable day out.
“Children and families can observe how people of different backgrounds work together — to introduce a diversity of nationalities and cultures. Doulos Hope is really a platform to promote peace, harmony and multiculturalism,” he says.
Pr Liew also reminds visitors to dress appropriately with the current hot spell affecting Malaysia, and to bring a bottle of water.
Organisers expect an overwhelming response and there might be a period waiting as the ship is limited to 200 visitors at any one time for safety reasons.
Unique opportunities for churches and Christians await
Aside from visiting the ship, there are also unique opportunities for Malaysian churches to partner with the Doulos Hope while it is in the country.
Churches can book event spaces on board the ship to conduct services, worship sessions and ministry. Crew members are also open to conduct onshore and offshore programmes for churches and Christian-affiliated organisations.
“Doulos Hope is also looking for volunteers to assist with their activities, Christians aged between 18-65 with a recommendation from their church leaders,” Pr Liew stated.
If you’d like an even more immersive experience, the ship is on the lookout for short-term crew members who will be able to sail with them for a minimum of two months.
Pr Liew also encourages churches and leaders to support the Doulos Hope by financially contributing to the ground expenses in Penang, publicising the book fair and encouraging congregation members to volunteer.
“As a sea vessel, there are expenses including berthing, water supply and garbage removal. So if churches can step up to help cover some of these expenses, it would be immensely helpful,” he explained.
How do I register my visit, give or volunteer?
VISITING THE SHIP
Entry to the Doulos Hope is RM2 per person (for access to the book fair and cafe). You’ll have to register online here: https://thelittleboxoffice.com/douloshope/.
At the quayside, show proof of registration and pay RM2 directly to the crew manning the entrance of the vessel. Inform Pier security that you are visiting Doulos Hope.
SUPPORT THE DOULOS HOPE IN PENANG
If you or your church would like to support the Doulos Hope’s operating expenses while in Penang, you may direct your contributions here via cheque or bank transfer:
Mobilisation Fellowship (M) Bhd
Remark: Doulos Hope-Penang
Please screenshot the transfer slip and send it via Whatsapp to +6011 6503 5303 or email to email@example.com.
VOLUNTEER WITH THE DOULOS HOPE
If you are a Christian aged 18-65 and interested to volunteer aboard the Doulos Hope while it is in Penang, please get in touch with the ship crew at Douloshope.Penang@gbaships.org.
Kindly note that you will need to submit a recommendation letter from your pastor/ministry leader to complete your application as a volunteer.
To stay updated on Doulos Hope in Malaysia, click here.
Cover Photo: OM Ships