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Wednesday, December 15, 2004

Thoughts from our heart to yours

Hello Friends,

As we complete our first full year of service with Mercy Ships aboard the m/v Caribbean Mercy, we would like to thank each of you for joining in our journey. We have had the privilege to live our dream for the past year knowing that we are in the center of God’s will for our life. We are excited about what possibilities the coming year holds, not just for Mercy Ships but for each of you our friends.

We reflect on the past year and realize that as we start the New Year, it will be without some of our closest friends, who have gone to be with Jesus. We are sad at the physical loss of their presence, yet we rejoice in the knowledge that we’ll see them again in heaven and that they are rejoicing in the presence of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. We honor their memory by continuing in the faith, to press on for the high calling in Christ Jesus.

As we embark once again on God’s adventure for our lives, we pray you will join with us in His blessings. We value your prayers, your letters of encouragement, your emails and your financial support. You have been faithful and we are blessed by your faithfulness.

In the past year we have learned to release even more of ourselves to the Lord and to trust in His guidance and provisions. Many of you helped us to release our possessions and ties as we prepared to join Mercy Ships last year. We had no idea of the freedom that was released by trusting fully in God’s plan for our lives. We hope that as we returned back to Jacksonville with the ship in November that you were able to see the difference in our lives. We look forward to the many blessings ahead in the coming year and sharing those blessings with you.

In the middle of living our dream of being in full-time missions and amidst all of these blessings it is still possible to grumble and complain. I (Rob) seem to struggle with it more than Denise. So we ask for your prayers, to have a spirit of peace and contentment. To live fully each day for the Lord, to banish those thoughts, words, and deeds from us that do not reflect the character of Jesus in us or bring glory to the Lord.

We also ask that you would pray that we would continue to seek and hear the Lord daily and not become focused on the job at hand and lose site of the privilege we have to be workers for the Lord. The message that He has for us to share with His people is far more important than the work associated with accomplishing tasks. May we not lose the message as we work to deliver it.

Would you pray that our hearts would remain soft, that we would not become overwhelmed by the magnitude of the need?

Would you pray that we would accept that we can not reach the entire world at once but that as we reach one person at a time through Jesus we many change the entire world one life at a time? And that salvation is the work of the Holy Spirit and we are to be available to plant, water or reap as workers in the field.

Would you also pray for us to see people not as the world sees and values people but through the eyes of Jesus?

Would you pray that our hearts would break as the Father’s heart when He sees so many of His children lost, hurting and having a sense of hopelessness?.

Would you pray that we may in some small way be allowed to bring them hope and healing?

Would you pray that during these prayers for us, you would listen to any special word Jesus has for you? And also share those words with us, so we may be involved with what God is doing in your life?

Would you accept that Jesus loves you and that He made you special?

Would you believe that your life has a purpose, and that if you don’t already know what that purpose is, Jesus is waiting to tell you?

Would you take the opportunity now several weeks before Christmas to think of the special people in your life? People who have influenced your life in one way or another. Friends, parents, children, uncles, aunts, teachers, brothers, sisters, cousins, pastors, Sunday school teachers, social workers, grocery workers, florist, mailmen, policemen, servicemen, beauticians. You can continue with the list. As you pray and the Holy Spirit brings different people to your memory, think of how you may affect their lives this Christmas and throughout the entire year. Then take that action as you feel lead to.

Our prayer for you is:

May each of your lives be as wonderful as they were in the mind of God the day He made you. Merry Christmas and may you have a blessed holiday season and New Year.

God’s blessings,
Rob and Denise
Mercy Ships, m/v Caribbean Mercy

Email -

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


Thursday, December 09, 2004

Dinner out overlooking Trujillo Bay

Rob and Denise at Camille's Villa Coronado Posted by Hello
We went out to dinner at a restaurant owned by one of the ladies and her husband that translated for us during the outreach in Puerto Castilla, Honduras. Her name is Camille and they opened this restaurant in June. The restaurant is up on the side of the hill and it overlooks Trujillo Bay. It is a beautiful location for a restaurant. We decided to go early for dinner and watch the sunset! It was beautiful and the food was great! So if you are in Truijillo, Honduras...go to Villa Coronado and have a Licuado (Fruit Shake) and dinner!

Denise, Aresa and Dabney with Licuados overlooking the Bay in Trujillo, Honduras. Posted by Hello
The outing was really a department treat for the Human Resources Department and we brought Rob along. Dabney is transferring to the Finance Department and so sort of a farewell....although she'll still be on the ship! Dabney was the Short Term Coordinator and was really busy during the outreach when short term crew come for just 2 weeks continually.

Aresa is really helping tremendously as she is coordinating the Medical crew and in addition is basically my right arm! (Not just a hand...the whole arm!) The Lord has blessed me wonderfully with great people to work with! Aresa is a joy to work with and now we once again... just need someone else to join us in HR!

Sunday, December 05, 2004

Rob's Birthday Party

Joyce made Rob a special Chocolate Peanut Butter cake! Yum, yum! Posted by Hello
We had a wonderful time celebrating Rob's birthday! We went out to Jack's Gringo Restaurant for lunch and then in the evening the whole ship celebrated Udo's, Rob's and Laura's birthday! It was a lot of fun. Joyce made a special cake for Rob...Chocolate Peanut Butter (Rob loves Reese's Peanut Butter Cups). It was very, very good!

Tom, Game MC, gave us a word and we had to sing a song that included the word! Lots of fun! Posted by Hello
Tom was the Game Master and MCed a game where we had to sing a song that had a certain word in it. He would give us a word and the room was divided into two teams. One team would sing a song with that word and then the other team would also...back and forth until one team couldn't think of a song in 15 seconds, then the other team got a point!

Chuck, our chaplain, prayed for Udo, Rob and Laura! Posted by Hello

Rob blowing out his candle! Posted by Hello

Thursday, November 25, 2004

Happy Thanksgiving!

We are in Honduras and are truly blessed!

When we departed from the USA back in September, we didn't have enough time after Hurricane Ivan to finish all the shopping runs. We sailed after just a few days back on the ship. Soooo... we knew that the Thanksgiving meal was going to be a challenge!

We truly had an international crew at our table for Thanksgiving dinner. Going around the table clockwise is Jan Kronester (age 4) from Germany, Jan Haukaas (standing) from Norway, Hyo Ryong Kim from Korea, Luci James from England, Rob and Denise from the USA!

Thanksgiving Dinner Table on The Caribbean Mercy. Posted by Hello
We had a wonderful dinner, including a real turkey and pumpkin pies! We even had some whipped cream! It was delicious. The whole frozen turkey was purchased in a market about 3 hours from the ship in La Ceiba. As new crew joined the ship, they brought with them cans of we were able to enjoy pumpkin pie! Some of them brought pecans, too, for pecan pie! Yum, yum! The whipping cream was purchased at a local grocery and it was so good! God is so faithful!

Thanksgiving dessert! Even whipped cream! Posted by Hello

Saturday, November 20, 2004

Caballeros with a cow

Caballeros with a cow
Originally uploaded by MercyWatch.

Two Caballeros (Honduran Cowboys) with a cow coming down the street in Dos Bocas, Honduras.

Three Lovely girls from Dos Bocas

Trip to Dos Bocas 012
Originally uploaded by MercyWatch.

Precious girls from Dos Bocas, Honduras invited me into their yard. They had lovely flowers and a red pear tree!

Sunday, October 31, 2004

News from the Caribbean Mercy

It is estimated there are over 21 million people in the world lacking mobility from land mines, polio and war amputations. “Volunteers are needed to help load pets…” receptionist Katie Albers announced without hesitation Monday morning. PETs stands for Personal Energy Transportation. The device is a hand-cranked rough terrain wheelchair, designed to go where normal wheelchairs cannot. It provides a free gift of mobility to persons who have lost the use of their legs. Click on the title to see the news article.
Last weekend, we went out and delivered PETs with Bill and Rebecca Long.

Rob helped Bill put them together on Saturday and then on Sunday we took 6 PETs to Tocoa for distribution to the individuals selected according to their needs. PETs are Personal Energy Transports and are built by retired missionaries (these came from Penny Farms...just south of Jacksonville, FL) . The picture below is of Guatalupe and Rob. Guatalupe is a 22 year old man and he lost his legs trying to get to the US by way of a train. He fell off the train in Mexico. It is a miracle that he survived!

Rob carrying Guatalupe to his new PET (Personal Energy Transportation).  Posted by Hello
Guatalupe didn't have a wheelchair and now he'll be able to get around much easier! These PETs are a HUGE blessing to those without use of their legs or who have lost a leg(s). The PETs are shipped to us when we are in the US and then we are able to deliver them as needed. They are made in adult and children sizes! We have brought 30 of them with us on this outreach and 30 on the last outreach in Spring of 2004. And the need is still greater than our current resources. Several of the people waiting for us at this distribution had been waiting since last spring. To view the pictures from the PET distribution ... please click here:

Guatalupe and his new transportation. He didn't even have a wheelchair before. He has a new freedom thanks to some retired missionaries in Penny Farm and other's who donated funds! Thank you so very much for caring! Love, Guatalupe in Tocoa, Honduras Posted by Hello

Sunday, October 24, 2004

We are in Puerto Castilla, Honduras! This week we began surgeries!

Dr. Harold LeDoux from Canada and Dr. Doug Merritt from the US and the international surgery team performed 26 surgeries this week. The Surgical Team consists of specialized people from the Netherlands, New Zealand, Cyprus, Canada and USA. Rob and I really appreciate the international crew that come together on the Caribbean Mercy from all over the world to serve the people of Honduras for God's Glory!

The cataracts in the eyes of the people here are much more developed which makes them more difficult to remove. They are harder and larger than cataracts seen in people from the developed nations. The people that we serve are also sometimes much younger than what you would expect. In the picture you can see Sergio's cataract in his eye under the red dot.

Sergio - Before surgery Posted by Hello

Sergio...the day after surgery! Posted by Hello

Dr. Harold performing cataract surgery. Posted by Hello

Saturday, October 16, 2004

In Memory of the Lives of the Andy Welch Family

The following is included in this blog to remember and celebrate the lives of Andy & Joyce Welch and their children, Maddison and Samuel. This precious family was killed in a car accident while traveling to see their families and fund raising in churches to join Mercy Ships as long term staff. This was also included during the memorial service to honor their lives and to share in grieving with the family!

Please see the pictures below.... Posted by Hello

Welch Family Posted by Hello

Welch Family Posted by Hello

Welch Family on Outreach Posted by Hello

Welch Family Posted by Hello

Thursday, October 14, 2004

This week we held two screenings for Eye Surgeries on Tuesday and Wednesday. There was also a screening for Dental on Friday. Some of the people were standing in line since 2 am. There were about 300 people each day for screening. The screening was only a preliminary screening and the candidates for surgery were given a pass to be able to come to the Dock Side Unit for a full screening for surgery.

Screening days are difficult due to many people we are unable to help due to the type of injury to the eye. The eye must be healthy and have potential to be corrected. Our Outreach Team comes alongside the Medical Team to pray with those unable to be treated. There will be more screening days after the full screening has been done to find more patients to help! Also as the Community Development Team goes out into the villages, they will take some passes with them for surgery candidates they may see. Look below at the pictures of the screenings from October 5th.

Tuesday, October 05, 2004

Eye Surgery Screening in Trujillo, Honduras Posted by Hello

Dr. Steve Farris, optometrist, with a patient checking her vision Posted by Hello

Patient screening cards (blue) and companion card (yellow) for the person coming with the patient. All the paperwork must be done for the patients to be able to come to the ship with the new security restrictions. Posted by Hello

Waiting...waiting....waiting... Posted by Hello

Praying with people who are not surgery candidates Posted by Hello

Precious little ones waited with their parents for long hours Posted by Hello