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Tuesday, December 03, 2002

Mercy Watch ........................ December 1, 2002

Merry Christmas!

We are currently in Leon, Nicaragua serving on a one month outreach as the final stage of our three month Crossroads Discipleship Training School (CDTS) with Mercy Ships. Our class is here as a team of 31 people. This number includes 5 children, 2 teens, 3 CDTS staff members and our class participants.

Mercy Ships has a permanent land base here in Leon and has several community development programs for internally displaced people (refugees, except they are in their own country).

We have been working in one of these communities called “La Palmerita." The community is about an hour and a half ride from the base and the people were displaced due to the coffee crisis. These people worked as coffee bean pickers and have been displaced since early 2001. The coffee bean workers are paid after the coffee bean season and the beans have been sold. These workers were not paid for their work in 2000 and then were promised food for work in 2001. In early 2001, they were again not paid for their work and left the plantation and marched on the capital city, Managua to seek help. They were promised the land that the community is now located on; however, the land grants have not yet been signed. These people came to the community with only the clothes on their backs.

The base here has been involved with the other aid agencies that have backed out of this community, because of the dire needs and the turmoil between the leaders of the community.

These people are very precious and innocent. They have enjoyed us taking pictures of them and their children, just as we love people to adore our children. We were able to provide them with some of the first pictures they have of their families. Something this simple to us, blessed them tremendously.

The first week we were out there several men and women became believers of Jesus Christ. After building relationship with them for a couple weeks, Rob and I plan to lead some Bible Studies with women and children this coming week. They are hungry for the word of God. Please pray that we will be used by God to communicate His love to them.

Our next assignment will be aboard the Caribbean Mercy, which is one of the three ships operated within the Mercy Ships fleet of ships. We have signed a two-year commitment to Mercy Ships. Denise has been asked to serve in several capacities; she will be working as a receptionist, receiving, coordinating and forwarding all incoming calls and people coming aboard the ship. She will also assist in the Human Resources (Personnel) department and the Finance (Accounting) department.

With the crew of the Caribbean Mercy being rather small, most people fill a variety of positions; just as in any good family, she is so excited. Rob has been asked to serve in the Engineering department assisting in the scheduling of required maintenance, ordering, receiving, and storing required tools and parts. His responsibilities are still being defined and tweaked as this is a new position that has been created. We are so blessed to be able to serve in this capacity. We know that the Lord has placed us here at this time, because there are many people waiting, some for up to 3 years, to serve on ship at the International Operations Center (IOC) in Garden Valley, Texas.

Our current schedule is to complete our class in Nicaragua the 13th of December and return to the IOC in Garden Valley, Texas. Rob needs to stay and meet with Marine Operations for a few days for some “hands on" training on the software program used aboard ship. Denise will be sorting through our "house in storage" to decide what can go aboard the ship and what will continue to stay in storage.

There is not a couple’s cabin available, so we will be staying in one of the guest cabins. These cabins are designed for a 2-3 day stay and have very limited storage! We plan to be enroute to Gulfport, Mississippi by Wednesday, December 18th. We’ll be settled in to our cabin before Christmas and helping to prepare the ship to sail to the Dominican Republic for outreach on January 9th, 2003. This just happens to be Denise’s birthday, and what a great present the Lord has provided!! This outreach will last until April.

We have found that while in training it has been hard to keep in contact as much as we would have liked. We have enjoyed speaking to many of you by phone from Texas as we were able to and appreciate the cards and letters that we received from many of you. We are looking forward to getting back to the IOC and looking through our last month’s mail they have held for us. Communication has been especially difficult while in Nicaragua. Without access to a phone or the internet for several weeks, except for going down to an Internet CafĂ© on off times, and not having cell phones that work on the international band we were limited in our ability to communicate with you. We hope that while on ship this will change.

Please, know that you are constantly in our hearts and lifted up in prayer daily. It is because of your love, prayers and financial support that we are able to answer the call God has placed on our life. Thank you for this opportunity. We are humbly grateful and truly blessed to be allowed to live our dream.

We have discovered a way to share with you some of the pictures we have taken during our month in Nicaragua. This is a secure way to share our pictures. We have placed them on a website that may be accessed by email. You should have received an email from us directing you by a link for our photo albums. If you have not received and email from us, we probably don’t have your current email address. Please email us at and we will add you to the access list. There you have several options for viewing, sharing with your friends or ordering prints, if you like. As we take more pictures, we’ll add them to the album so you can check back regularly and view the updated pictures.

We pray that your Christmas will be joyous and filled with the spirit of love! May God truly bless you abundantly and may your life be as wonderful as God had in His mind on the day He created you! MERRY CHRISTMAS AND A BLESSED NEW YEAR!

Rob and Denise Miller

Postal Address:
Robert and Denise Miller
Mercy Ships m/v Caribbean Mercy
PO Box 2020
Garden Valley, Texas 75771

Cell: (904) 472-6888 local Jacksonville, FL
Cell: (903) 372-9028 local Garden Valley, TX

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