By: Sam Laughlin
“This inspiring book relates how one man, with the heart of a true evangelist, reached out to seafarers from around the world on the many ships docked at Glasgow. In the Foreword, Alan Gamble tells how Sam Laughlin “of Ulster stock … spent most of his working life in the Clyde shipyards.” After his retirement at 65, he continued to visit the docks on a regular basis for 16 years. Together with his wife Wilma they opened their hearts and their home, welcoming strangers from all corners of the globe. Alan Gamble states that “God’s work today needs many more servants like Sam.”
The Introduction sets the scene, with Sam driving through the empty Glasgow city streets early one Christmas morning to visit the ships. This was his yearly custom, and “the ships that were in dock welcomed [him] with open arms.” Each seaman received a bag containing biscuits, a hand-knitted hat, a calendar, and a New Testament. Christian literature in their own language was also included where possible.
During his many visits to the docks as Port Missionary, with permission from Clyde Port Authority, hundreds of men and women were brought under the influence of the Gospel, and many visited Sam and Wilma’s home for supper after responding to his invitation to hear the Gospel preached on a Sunday evening at the Gospel Hall in Linthouse.
The book is divided into short chapters, with titles such as “Fire in the Galley”, “The Brave Aberdonian”, and “The Bottle Thrower”, and includes many illustrations and photographs, enabling the reader to enter into the atmosphere of Sam’s experiences, and the colourful characters that he encountered on the ships over the years.”
~ This book review was originally published by Believer’s Magazine (February 2017), written by Alan Cameron.