Crab Boat to Mission Boat

After nearly eight years, a retired crab boat from Tillamook, Ore., was transformed into a mission boat and is being used in Guyana, South America, to bring medical and dental care as well as the gospel to the people there.

Originally, the crab boat was purchased by Louis Hamilton of Boring, Ore., and his father, John Hamilton of Salmon, Idaho. It was then remodeled as a gill-netter and used on the Columbia River for salmon fishing. Eventually the Fish and Game Department banned fishing on the river so the boat has been drydocked in Louis' back yard for eight years.

Mel Brass, a retired teacher, who had spent some time in Guyana, saw an opportunity for Guyana Medical Aviation Mission Service (GAMAS) to use this boat on the large rivers there. There are many villages on the rivers that need medical care and a chance to hear the gospel of Jesus.

In February 2005, the Hamiltons donated the boat. It was pulled out of the blackberry bushes and taken to John Ferrier’s machine shop where he rebuilt the 350 Chevy engine. Stan Beddoe and Brass towed the boat to California where the members of the Ukiah Adventist Church took it on as a project, rebuilding and remodeling it to serve as a mission launch.

From Ukiah, the boat was towed to Palm Beach, Fla., and put on a container ship bound for Georgetown, Guyana. There it went through customs in three weeks when the normal time is measured in months.

The boat, named the Good Samaritan, will be used as a mission launch for evangelism as well as for medical and dental services on the Essequibo River. Dentists and dental students can also help with short-term mission work on the boat. The deck can be used to set up dental equipment as well as to carry supplies or patients. Gilbert and Melissa Sissons, volunteer workers, are based at Bethany, Guyana, and are building and operating a training school.

The school will train high school graduates who want to be involved in evangelism to their own people. Melissa, a nurse, will teach medical care to the students, and Gilbert will teach evangelism methods as they travel through the region.

Many people have contributed time and money to the project. The Ukiah Church, as well as the Sunbelt Health System, and the Salmon, Idaho, Redding and Alturas churches, have helped make this venture possible.

April 01, 2007 / Oregon Conference