Many people land on skid row due to mental illness and/or a destructive addiction. But not everyone here share these issues. I'd like to introduce you to a man without an addiction or a country who ended up on skid row after traveling the world, losing over a million dollars, and surviving a shipwreck!
Seth was born and raised in a poor family in the Republic of Ghana. There was no financial future for a young man in his country with his family heritage so Seth left home as a young teenager and headed to Holland in search of employment and a career.
After many jobs in many countries he finally found his niche as a Helmsman traveling the oceans of the world for a large shipping company. Seth worked with the same company and captain for 30 years. He and his captain became very close friends as well. Since Seth had no family ties he worked long hours picking up as much overtime as possible. For many years Seth made a substantial salary. Since he virtually lived on the ship he had minimal expenses and given his background he was extremely frugal. Seth saved nearly everything he made for thirty years.
After working together for 30 years, Seth, his captain and one other friend all decided to use their savings, connections, and expertise to start their own shipping company. The captain had saved 12 million dollars, Seth had 1.2 million, and the third man had $800,000. Together they went to the bank of Manhattan, withdrew their money, and walked out with a case filled with 14 million dollars in thousand dollar bills. The captain went and purchased a yacht and with 12 million dollars in cash they set sail for a one month vacation before they were to start their business.
The captain was a good friend but a heavy drinker. One fateful morning he got up with a hangover without the other two men’s knowledge. He went to the galley (kitchen) to turn on the propane stove and it didn’t light. So he looked around for a match for quite a while. All this time the gas was filling the galley area. When he finally found the match and struck it to light the stove the entire galley exploded into flames. Seth and his other friend were at the other end of the ship and didn’t know what happened. They had to jump ship with severe burns to survive the fire.
The captain died immediately while the other two men survived and floated aimlessly on part of the wreckage. The case with $12,000,000 was lost at sea. By the grace of God a fishing boat located them one week after the shipwreck and brought them to safety in Brazil. After a three-month recovery in the hospital Seth and his friend faced a new challenge… They were put in prison and charged with the murder of the captain. The story had become newsworthy and gained extensive media coverage in that country. Fortunately, upon reviewing the facts of the case, the judge threw out the case deeming it without merit or credibility so they were released.
Having no money, no family, and no papers Seth could not return to his homeland so he eventually found his way to Skid Row via Mexico. At the Union Rescue Mission he found food, shelter, and a welcoming community. He also found a renewed commitment to Jesus Christ. He had met Christ as a young man in his home country through a baptist missionary but had drifted from his faith living without community on the open sea for so many years.
Today Seth has graduated the one year discipleship course and is in his second year serving the Mission as a program coordinator. This is a role for the top graduates who show exemplary effort and discipleship in Christ. This job pays a small stipend along with room and board. However, Seth can receive no money for his work given he has no paperwork. His attorney at the URM is working to solve his problem but in the meanwhile he has absolutely no way to receive an income for incidentals or to save for his transition.
Seth’s goal is to get necessary paperwork, find a job, earn some money here, then return to Ghana to start a Christian ministry in his hometown for poor children. Deed and Truth wants to help Seth so we are donating monthly to cover his expenses and putting money in savings that he would be making at the URM given he isn’t paid for his duties. We are glad to be able to help him survive and lay the groundwork for his eventual transition.
Please pray for Seth. Pray for our URM Attorneys to get his paperwork in order. Pray for him to finish his apprenticeship then find a good job to save for his future ministry. Pray for God to reveal exactly what that will look like and that Seth will make the necessary connections to make his dream a reality. Pray that the man without a country can return to his homeland and make a difference for Christ in the lives of the least of these in Ghana.
– Pastor Dan
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