A quarter of a mile from Port Canaveral’s cruise ship terminals and cargo ship docks sits the old Cape Canaveral post office, home for the past 22 years to Canaveral Port Ministry (CPM). CPM, a ministry of the Brevard Baptist Association (BBA), has grown substantially over the years and continues to expand. Mark Wodka, a former International Mission Board missionary, has served as CPM director for the past six years.
Staffed by four chaplains, two office personnel, and over 100 volunteers, this hospitality center is open 7 days a week to help meet the physical, emotional, and spiritual needs of the cruise and cargo ship workers while their ships dock at Port Canaveral. In 2018 over 38,000 visits were made to the center by these workers, representing many different nationalities.
Crew members consider the center a “home away from home,” and come to enjoy free Wi-Fi that allows them to connect with their family back home; a free hot meal; snacks and a small store to purchase phone cards and other items. Free shuttle service takes the workers to and from their ships, as well as to local shopping centers. Crew use the center’s address to receive their online package orders. MoneyGram service is also available.
Gospel tracts, JESUS movie DVDs, and Bibles are free and available in 70 languages. A new group of ships have recently started coming to the port and many of their crew are “spiritually hungry, which is “so refreshing,” stated Wodka.
Chapel is offered three times a day, and the gospel is shared aloud from the podium as well. “Just today,” shared director Mark Wodka, “a volunteer was sharing from the podium and I could see that a young lady was listening to every word. After the volunteer spoke, she approached him and asked for a gospel of John in her language. She is from Argentina, and we happened to have a volunteer working today also from Argentina; he talked with her and led her to the Lord. You could just see the Holy Spirit working in her!”
A Romanian cruise ship worker shared with a volunteer, “You guys love us so much!” He now wants to find out if there are any Baptist churches in Romania.
Florida Baptists have come alongside this ministry over the years to financially assist with projects. And the churches of the Brevard Baptist Association (BBA) have supported the CPM by sending volunteers and funds since its inception. “Our churches recognize this unique outreach as a vital gospel bridge to the world. It truly is a world-class ministry among port ministries,” added Mike Hoffmann, Associational Mission Strategist, BBA.