Serving Behind The Scenes
Walter Masinaring may look like any other wine sommelier you encounter on a cruise ship. But what motivates his servant’s heart goes past the need for a paycheck or the love of travel on the open sea. His sole focus is helping others feel God’s love and realizing His plan for their lives.
Walter’s not the sort of guy you meet everyday. His warm smile and magnetic personality envelop guests when he first meets them. He’s an instant old friend. From the minute you see his smile and hear his story it’s evident that God’s love spills freely from Walter into the lives of all who meet him.
You see, Walter met Jesus on a cruise about 15 years ago when his ship captain shared the Gospel with him. Walter had already been at sea for nearly 10 years when he began the ultimate journey as a follower of Christ.
But it wasn’t all smooth sailing. He started at the bottom while trying to support a growing family in the Philippines. Like with so many new believers, his struggles led him away from God – until he hit rock bottom. Terminated after getting into an argument with another bartender, Walter was jobless for six months and lost it all financially.
It was during this time that Walter says God showed him some foundational scriptural truths: “God reminded me that everything I have in my possession all came from Him,” Walter says. “That He granted my prayers because He has something for me to do. I know He is watching all of us, He knows what [and] who we are. He even knows the numbers of our hair. There are so many trials that I’ve encountered, but I consider them as blessings, because God wants me to be close to Him.”
When some would have written God off, Walter looked at his trials as an opportunity for God to work in his life. Walter was rehired and he began to work his way up from the bottom – again. But this time he made serving God the focus of his work. It wasn’t without struggle. He was often challenged by fellow workers who professed a faith in God but partied more than they preached – and whose attendance in his Bible studies seemed obligatory. Later, after several bad business deals, the cruise line went bankrupt. Walter was jobless again.
This time he held fast to his faith and believed something better would come his way. The trials that formerly led him away from God became reasons to draw in close. In June 2004 he found a home with Holland America cruise line. “I believe that God has purposely sent me over to Holland America Line, because this line is frequently chartered by Inspiration Cruises.”
The first month on the new job, Walter experienced his first Christian cruise group – the ship filled to capacity with 2,000 guests – led by Pastor John Hagee. “I met Pastor Hagee and his wife and the whole family.” A generous cruiser on board gave Walter a copy of Hagee’s The Life Plan Study Bible, which along with his personal Bible is one of his most treasured possessions.
Walter gains strength from being with other Christians, serving them and talking with them and the ministers who come aboard. While the cruise line has strict rules and regulations about talking politics or religion on the ship, during Inspiration events Walter is able to talk to others about Christ. If he sees someone holding a Bible he will ask about their favorite verses (Walter’s is John 1:1, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.”). The high points of his work day are meeting the pastors and ministers who speak on the various Christian cruises – people that none of the other crew even know the names of. Walter was able to fellowship with worship leader Don Moen for a long time on one cruise and has met ministers David Jeremiah and Chuck Swindoll. Each meeting gives Walter continued motivation to serve Christ’s people behind-the-scenes.
Over the years Walter has sacrificed his time and passed on opportunities for more lucrative contracts so he can serve Christians on the Holland America cruise line. Walter says he has been so blessed by his encounters there. “Because of Inspiration my relationship with Jesus is overflowing.”
This is truly a life of heartfelt passion in service to the Lord. Walter’s story is one of God’s enduring faithfulness – in the good times and bad – and a reminder that Christian fellowship is crucial to a lifelong journey with Christ. But his story doesn’t end there.
Walter, now 54, has four boys ranging from ages 16-25 and a wife he cherishes who’s recently become a part-time real estate agent. He’s praying about going into full-time ministry so he can return home to his family in Manila, Philippines. “I believe that I can achieve this with God’s help,” Walter says. “I cannot do this without His anointing power according to His will.”
Walter looks forward to a new chapter of life that’s rich from the many connections he’s made over the years as a Christian serving God’s people on the big, beautiful ocean He created for us to enjoy.
Grace and Peace from GOD the Father and the Lord JESUS CHRIST be with you always!
I hope this email finds you well. I am in Tahiti right now heading back to San Diego. I’ll be getting off the ship on the 3rd of November, Saturday. Flying back to Manila from L.A. by 10pm.
As I’ve told you, this might be my last journey for my seafaring job, and I believe I had a calling. I can feel through the HOLY SPIRIT that my plan for ministry will materialized. I just don’t know yet how I am going to start. Once in Manila, I will write to you again.
I will be missing you and every congregation you will bring to the ship, lead by the most well known pastors, like Charles R. Swindoll, David Jeremiah, Max Lucado and others. But I will keep in touch with. Please extend my regards to all the crew of the Inspiration Cruises & Tours. Also please pray for my safe journey to the Philippines. Take good care of yourself and your family.
I’m hoping that my plan will come through. It is not my will, but HIS will be done. May GOD bless you in abundance.
Yours in HIM,