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Tuesday, August 12, 2003

Hello From Dangriga, Belize

Hello Friends,

Greetings from Dangriga, Belize! We arrived in Dangriga late yesterday afternoon. We will be here until October 28th. We had a wonderful smooth sail from Port Canaveral, Florida. We have been very busy preparing for the outreach here . Much has happened since our last update. When the ship sailed from Boston, Mass. Denise and I used this time to fly to Texas and finish some business we had there. We had been maintaining a 10 x 20 storage unit in Lindale, Texas since first joining Mercy Ships in September of 2002. Our former Captain Jon and his wife Angie had moved to Van, Texas (near the Mercy Ships International Operations Center - IOC) and were purchasing a new home. The Lord’s time is always just right. We were able to spend several days in Texas and with the help of Jon and Angie Fadley and John and Ruth Hensman we downsized and moved our “things” that were in storage. Capt. Jon and Angie made several trips to our storage unit and with the aid of Craig Snow’s truck moved several loads to their temporary home near Van, Texas. John and Ruth did likewise with Josh’s truck and their van. John made so many trips to the “boutique” at the IOC they asked him on the last trip to not bring any more. We were blessed by Marcia and Dennis Flom to be able to stay at their lovely home in Van, Texas while all this moving and sorting was going on. Denise did a wonderful job of going through all our things and sorting out. We were able to downsize to a 5x5 storage area. Mostly just family pictures, necessary paperwork and a few family items left! Yeah!!!!

It was hot and dusty in Texas, and the beginning of our time trying to get the stuff sorted out would have been a good episode for the Keystone Cops or an excellent security lock commercial. Originally upon arriving on Saturday, Rob’s brother, Ken and sister, Connie along with Connie’s husband, Billy, came all the way from Abilene to visit (about 5 hours – one way). Kaye, Ken’s wife was unable to make the journey due to health issues. Well, we couldn’t seem to get out of the Dallas/Fort Worth airport. The rental car we had reserved with Hertz on the Internet wasn’t really reserved as we found out when we arrived. So we made the trip around the rental car circuit at the airport and were finally able to rent a car and proceed along our way. This placed us about 1 ½ hours behind schedule.

Meanwhile Ken, Connie, and Billy had arrived ahead of schedule at the Cracker Barrel in Lindale at 11:00 and were patiently waiting. When we finally arrived and had some lunch, we went over to the storage site and guess what. We had been gone for about 10 months and couldn’t remember which unit was ours, and the key we brought didn’t fit either of the units we thought might be ours. So our brother and sister were unable to look through any of our things to see if there was anything they would like to have. We had a wonderful time of catching up on each other’s lives and were able to show them around the IOC. So we felt the Lord blessed us and provided a time of rest and fun for us and made something good out of what might have been a very frustrating time.

The next Monday, we arrived at the storage unit and found out which one we were renting and that the key we had in fact didn’t fit. Denise suggested calling a locksmith, but that might take too long. So no worry, Rob would just borrow the bolt cutters and cut the lock. We had previously decided to use a high security lock, to ensure that someone couldn’t just come and break into the storage unit. So….you guessed it. When Rob attempted to cut the lock with the bolt cutters, the lock broke the tip off of the bolt cutters. Rob was not to be stopped that easily…so he borrowed a drill and bought a carbide cutting disk from the hardware store nearby. When he came back and was ready to begin, he found there was no electrical outlet anywhere around the storage unit. Across the fence on another property was an automotive repair business that had power, so Rob went back to the hardware store, borrowed an extension cord and came with everything ready and proceeded to cut the lock. He cut the lock in half. But, it still wouldn’t come off the hasp on the storage door. So Rob went and borrowed a sledge hammer. Denise cringed and prepared to expect to replace the storage door, before this is over. Rob proceeded to hammer on the lock, not a good idea, the sledge hammer is much to large and destructive, so Rob borrowed a LARGE pry bar. With frustration and heat beginning to take it’s toll, Rob pries the lock loose at the expense of destroying the hasp. This is much better than the entire door that Denise was expecting!

Now with the lock off the door, the door could only go about 4 feet up, because of the bent hasp obstructing the door. So the high-security lock had done it’s job. A ten dollar lock cost about forty dollars to remove, between the cost of the carbide disk, replacement drill bit and the replacement hasp. In all of this we were able to laugh at ourselves and relate this story to you so you to can enjoy a little humor with us.

All of our time in Texas wasn’t so eventful. We were able to spend time with Jon and Angie Fadley and their daughters, Lauren and Annie at their home and enjoy a lovely dinner. We were able to share in their joy as they closed on their new home the last day we were in Texas. We received the grand tour and celebrated with them at Dairy Queen. We were able to visit with our friends, Ruth and John Hensman, and their son, Josh, at their lovely home in Van, Texas. John and Ruth were in our Crossroads class and are now working at the International Operations Center. We enjoyed catching up with them and Rob enjoyed a great hair cut from the hands of Ruth. We had a wonderful dinner with them and enjoyed visiting with them. John who is quite an artist brought out several of his personal paintings and allowed us to choose as many as we would like to bring back to the ship with us. They now decorate our cabin and office beautifully. Thank you, John, for your thoughtfulness. We especially want to thank Marcia and Dennis Flom for welcoming us into their lovely home while we were in Texas. They were away, so we were not able to see them in Texas. We left Van, Texas with wonderful memories of our visit with family and friends and a few stories of ourselves to laugh at.

Our next stop was to Jacksonville, Florida where we stayed with Pink and Angie Hall and really enjoyed our time with them. Pink and Angie always make us feel at home and we love spending time with them! Thank you, so much for being our home base in Jacksonville! We visited with our oldest son, Jason and his wife, Jill and their daughter, Kendall, who is so precious. Rob had not yet seen or held Kendall, who is now 5 months old. We celebrated with our youngest son, Jeff and his fiancé, Valerie, as they were making plans for their August wedding. We were blessed to attend Sunday services at our home church and we were privileged to speak at the evening service. Two of our shipmates, Bram and Helma De Blouw, were able to join with us. Bram spoke and gave the congregation a sample of what shipboard life aboard the Caribbean Mercy is like. We shared about our Puerto Plata, Dominican Republic outreach and our jobs on the Caribbean Mercy. We enjoyed sharing and speaking with many of you. We were invited by the Pairs and Spares Sunday School class to share our experiences with them. God continues to bless us through all our relationships!

We had a surprise blessing from DeLanie Fant on the Friday before we left Port Canaveral! She called and offered to come and get us on Saturday evening (we had plans to go to the Holy Land Experience on Saturday during the day). She drove us to Jacksonville and we stayed at her lovely home overnight. We were able to surprise our church family and our family by being in town once more before we left for Belize! We were invited to speak to the Faithbuilder’s Sunday School class and share with them. We had a wonderful time! DeLanie drove us back to Port Canaveral and stayed with us for the “ship experience”! We had a great time sharing life on the ship with her! DeLanie, thank you so much, for thinking of us and taking the time to spend with us. We’d love for everyone to come and share our new home with us!

Upon our return to the ship in Cape Canaveral, Florida we have been busy preparing for our outreach to Dangriga, Belize. As in our entire tenure with Mercy Ships we need and appreciate the intercession and prayers that are offered on our behalf. As we prepare for this outreach we are very aware of the cultural differences we will encounter and we pray for wisdom in this area. May our actions and words portray the image and love of Jesus. May we earn the right to speak into the lives of the people of Dangriga. May we be asked what it is about us that makes us so different from others that they may have had encounters with. May we truly be witnesses for Jesus and bring Him the glory.

This message is being written to you as we are sailing and on the first day of service in Dangriga, Belize. It is being transmitted via our newly installed satellite system. Unlike previous outreaches where we had limited communication ability with you. We now have a permanent telephone number which is +1 (504) 739-5193 and this rolls over to six incoming lines. We ask, however, that personal calls are reserved for after normal work hours. (0730- 1630). We also have internet access all the time and your emails are always welcome and we look forward to communicating with you!

Our prayer for you is … May your life be as wonderful as it was in the mind of God the day He made you!

God’s blessings,
Rob and Denise

Contact Information:

Phone: 504 739-5193
Rob’s office ext.: 407 Denise’s office ext.: 344 Our cabin ext. 246 Email: Rob: Denise: Website:

Postal Address:
Rob and Denise Miller
Mercy Ships, m/v Caribbean Mercy
PO Box 2020
Garden Valley, TX 75771-2020