Ship Ministry, Elder
Experience in Japan
28 years of Wedding ministry, Elder.
Christian Testimony of Bob Bastable
I was born on the East coast of the USA in the early 1950s. People ask me why I was born there and I tell them I wanted to be near my mom! Most people living there are from somewhere else, though my dad’s family have lived there for several generations.
My father was a Roman Catholic and worked in the stock market his whole adult life except for 2 years in the US military during World War 2. Mom grew up a Baptist but became a Catholic after marrying Dad. She also gave up secretarial work to become a housewife and mother.
I have an older brother born during the war and an older sister born after. Because they both were so much older, I was like an only child in a sense. Mom tended to spoil me as the youngest. My folks loved all of us kids and to my knowledge never abused or mistreated us in any way that I know of. My dad, bless his heart, tended to be more distant toward me than mom. I now know first-hand how hard it is to be a dad.
We were a middle-class family living in a downtown area of the city. We lived in the city till I was 5 years old then moved to the suburbs. I was a good Roman Catholic boy growing up having a certain formalized knowledge of God with no relationship. I never read the Bible other than certain passages used to back up Catholic teaching.
As a teenager, I guess that I was a nerd and sort of shy at meeting people in Junior and Senior High school. When I graduated in 1971 I really cut loose morally. I grew my hair long and started smoking everything, drinking everything and chasing girls. I took a couple of trips to Europe and began to think, “I’m cool”. I went to a local college for one or 2 semesters, but soon lost interest and dropped out. By the way, I had been running away from responsibility up till age 25. At that time I was working hard in French restaurants and making good money. It was at this time in 1976 that I had a close encounter with God.
I worked late most nights arriving home to an empty bachelor apartment that was quite a mess most of the time. Normally I’d watch TV before turning in and sometimes I’d watch a Christian TV show called `The PTL Club`. It was so corny and funny to me. As the weeks went by, God’s Word was seeping into my spirit by way of the shows and I wanted to have a Bible to read for myself. God’s can use TV to draw people to Himself!
On a hot August night in 1978 I received Jesus alone in my apartment and the God of the Universe Himself showed me that He loved me personally and He created me, knew me and cared about me and had a great plan for my life. An indescribable sensation indeed which totally convinced me that He was real!
I got into church life, received the Baptism of the Holy Spirit and was active in church ministry but something was missing. I was also kind of guarded in any female friendships because I was afraid of stumbling in that area because of my wild days.
Once again after watching yet another Christian TV show, I saw a guy named Don Stephens from YWAM Mercy Ships being interviewed and he was telling about this Christian hospital ship named Anastasis and how they needed volunteers to come to Hawaii to help install a fire sprinkler system. The ships` name means `Resurrection` in Greek.
I answered the call and went for ten months as a short term volunteer. The Lord led me to DTS in Cimarron Colorado USA thru Psalm 18, and back to the Anastasis as a full-time crew member on the deck crew.
Sachiko, my Japanese wife, did her DTS (Discipleship Training School) on the ship in 1987 when we met and we kept up a long-distance friendship and later romance after she returned to Japan. Sometimes the Anastasis is referred to as the “Love Boat” because so many couples have met their life partners onboard like we did. Sensing a call to Japan and to marry, I eventually left the ship ministry and worked on 3 other ships to save some money before getting married in 1991. Our son was born in 1994 and we named him Noah….Can you guess why?
From then on, I was hooked on missions for good with no regrets and I knew it was the life God had for me. I still have seawater in my veins and love ships and the sea even though presently I’m working on dry ground with YWAM Japan but I still carry a vision to help start a ship ministry in Japan.
“Old sailors never die, they just get a little dinghy……………..”