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Sunday, January 19, 2003

Hello from the Dominican Republic

Happy New Year! We have arrived in the Dominican Republic!

We were able to make a QUICK trip to Jacksonville, Florida and take care of some business prior to leaving the US again. We also enjoyed staying and visiting with our friends Angie and Pink Hall. We appreciated being able to spend time with many of you during a lovely open house that Angie and Pink hosted. We enjoyed greatly sharing with the Sunday School classes some of our adventures and mission work in Nicaragua. We look forward to receiving email from many of you whenever you can write a bit to keep us up to date. We'll do our best to get an answer to you.

We sailed from Gulfport, Mississippi on January 10, 2003 aboard the M/V Caribbean Mercy. The sail was for four days and the seas were calm and the Lord blessed our sailing with wonderful weather and no mechanical problems aboard the ship. In our cabin we learned to expect to be moved in the beds while sleeping by the rolling of the ship from port to starboard.

Since arriving in the Dominican Republic, port city of Puerto Plata, we have been busy with the business of removing all of the equipment from the ship's cargo hold and forward deck to the dock. Getting the water supply routed to the ship, hooking up telephone lines and the normal type things you would do when you moved into and apartment or a new home. In this case we moved the home and have to get the utilities turned on. The ship has hosted several receptions onboard for the local media, the local Pastors and the Mayor as well as various other groups. These receptions were well attended and help the people understand the services we provide to their country. The Caribbean Mercy has not been to Puerto Plata to do an outreach before. So relationships and credibility must be established.

We have received favor with the custom and immigration services to offload our vehicles and our teams are beginning to prepare for the outreach. We were reunited with some of our crew that had to fly to the Dominican Republic, and a joyful homecoming was had by all. We had only been away from some of these people for a few days to a week, but for some it was their first travel out of the United States or their first travel to a developing nation. So for them to see the ship and familiar faces it was a very welcome sight. Today, twenty-five new crew members are coming in from the airport to join us and work on the outreach. We can only sail with 87 people and during outreach the crew grows to 150 people.

Please pray as we prepare to serve the Dominican people that God's will for these people will be done! We are excited to be here and will try to keep you informed of what God is doing here! We pray that in this new year, God will bless you abundantly