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Tuesday, April 27, 2004

April 2004 Newsletter - We are underway to Puerto Castilla, Honduras

APRIL 2004 Newsletter

Hello Friends,

As we write this letter to you, we are on the way to Puerto Castilla, Honduras! The last tasks of dry-dock 2004 were completed in Mobile, Alabama. On April 20th, we sailed under our own power from the Bender Ship Yard to the Alabama State docks and began the task of reloading supplies and provisions in preparation for Outreach to Honduras. We are happy to report that our sail to Honduras began on Monday, April 26th at 6:00 pm with a scheduled arrival date of April 30, 2004 in the morning. We are still in the process of finishing up putting the remaining cabins back together and hope to finish most of them by the time we arrive.


During our extended stay in Mobile, we have been blessed by the gracious and generous attitudes of the community. We have experienced this personally as we have met with various families that opened their homes to our crew with families. Allowing our crew families to share their homes during the dry-dock period, as no children were allowed in the ship yard during the time when the ship was in the Dry Dock. We have experienced this generosity professionally, too, as many vendors and merchants have both donated goods and services or provided them to us at cost or considerable discounts. These donations range from CUMMINS donating a new emergency generator, to Kimberly-Clarke telling us to bring the largest UHAUL truck we could get so they could fill it with donated office supplies and paper products. A local businessman toured the Caribbean Mercy in January and wanted to bless the crew by donating food from his restaurant. The BAR-B-Q and side items he donated fed the crew for three days.
We are anxious to be reunited with our shipmates, who went ahead of the ship, in Honduras along with the twenty-five plus volunteers who are awaiting our arrival. We know that we go in the Lord’s timing and that the stay here in Mobile, Alabama was all part of His plan. Just hours before we left, several people from a local hospital in Mobile finished installing the oxygen system that will be needed for the pediatric eye surgeries we plan to do in Honduras.
We are glad that our efforts on the website have been so well received. We intend to update the pictures weekly and that will usually happen over the weekend. For those of you that may not have visited it yet, the web address is Here you can see many of our photographs from our travels, our latest newsletter and a convenient way to contact us and stay in touch. We hope you find this helpful and we welcome your comments and suggestions. Please keep writing to us, it is a great encouragement.
We were also blessed in taking a short weekend trip to Jacksonville to see our family. Jason and Jeff and their families are doing well, we very much enjoyed seeing them. Some pictures from this most recent trip are on the website under Family and Friends. Kendall is now walking and running all over and quite a busy girl. Such fun!
We have been blessed this past week to have our former Captain Jon Fadely and his wife, Angie, spent a few days with us as they have traveled from Mercy Ships International Operations Center in Garden Valley, Texas. We were doubly blessed Thursday evening in our community meeting when Captain Jon delivered the message. There was a wonderful time of worship lead by a visiting Pastor and his wife. Mrs. Delia Knox sang “My Alabaster Box” and other selections she had recorded beautifully and was truly an inspiration to all of us as she brought our focus on Jesus and His amazing love for each of us. One of our Able Seamen, David Little, played a wonderful version of Amazing Grace on his trumpet. He also reminded us of how often we use the word amazing and how it seems so inadequate when trying to describe the character and qualities of Jesus.
We had some mixed emotions as we hailed farewell to Ciaran, Lillian and Joy Holden (Joy is thirteen months old), one of our families onboard. They are leaving the ship to continue their ministry with Mercy Ships at the International Operations Center in Garden Valley, Texas. They have been on the Caribbean Mercy for 3 years and Ciaran served as the Chief Engineer. Lillian served as a part of the Medical Team and as a Mom! Joy served as our badge checker and more importantly as our Joy-Joy! Ciaran will take on his new position as Engineering Superintendent for the Caribbean Mercy.

As we left Mobile, we also said farewell to a couple from upper state New York, Steve and Kim McLean. He is a pastor and Kim is a teacher. They came for the month of April as a part of Steve’s sabbatical. Steve served in the pantry and as a carpenter to help get the cabins back together. Kim served in Housekeeping, plus many other areas. We were supposed to be in Honduras, but since we weren’t they agreed to come to Mobile. They were a huge blessing to the crew and served in every way they could. We look forward to seeing them again, hopefully they’ll be able to come while we are on outreach.
As we sail to Honduras and leave the shipyard phase, there are many blessings we take with us from our stay in Mobile, Alabama. One of these is in the form of an offering and claiming the promises of God. The picture to the left shows the medical department during dry dock (the green is the new steel that was replaced). In one of our community meetings there was an offering taken to help defray the cost of the “dry-dock” phase. The offering was given by the crew and was for the amount of $750.00. This amount may seem insignificant until you use God’s word and stand on His promises and trust Him. The total bill for the “dry-dock” was $750,000, three-quarters of a million dollars. What percentage of the total bill would $750.00 be? What would a 100 fold blessing from the Lord be? We didn’t manage the offering to come up with this figure. Do you believe God will honor sacrificial giving? Do you believe He will bring honor and glory to Himself through his people? We do and trust you do as well.
As we prepare to go to Honduras, we ask for your continued prayer covering for us individually and collectively as a ministry. We thank you for your faithfulness in supporting us with your emails, cards, letters and financial support.

We are learning to more and more to seek and trust the Lord. With each new adventure God brings new revelations of Himself. We thank you for your part in enabling us to live these adventures. Thank you for sending us and freeing us to answer God’s call on our lives. Our prayer for each of you, our friends and family is that you will experience your own adventures with God. That your happiness will be complete and you will be confident in knowing how much Jesus loves you. We love you!

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

Saturday, April 24, 2004

Oxygen installed in the Operating Room

Installing the oxygen in the Operating Room on the Caribbean Mercy. Posted by Hello
Our medical department needed to have an Oxygen suite installed for the breathing air to be used during surgery in the new pediatrics procedures. Nordan-Smith Welding supply in Mobile, Alabama ( donated the equipment and six cylinders of oxygen to allow this process to be completed. Technicians from the local hospital, Providence Hospital, also donated some equipment and their time and expertise to install all of this equipment.

Thursday, April 22, 2004

Doors for the new dumbwaiter

The new dumbwaiter in the galley. Posted by Hello
During our dry-dock phase, the previous electrical dumb-waiter was removed as it had become inoperative. A new manual dumb-waiter was procured from Miller Manufacturing, Inc. Rohnert Park, California and installed by our engineering staff. This was a very nice system, yet when installed there were no doors to enclose the openings from the dumb-waiter. All the food from the galley must be transferred up stairs one deck for serving in the dining room.

The new doors on the dumbwaiter! Up in the Pantry and down in the Galley. Posted by Hello
Several companies were contacted to provide a possible solution and we settled on Wheatbelt, Inc. Rolling Shutters of Hillsboro, Kansas. These shutters normally sold for $800.00.

When the owner and president discovered the ministry of Mercy Ships by looking at our website, he offered the complete package with shipping for $225.00. Praise the Lord! These doors are now installed and look and work excellently!

Tuesday, April 20, 2004

School Supplies

Alicia, Diana and Jenny with one of the posters for the school. Posted by Hello
While working with the advance team in Puerto Castilla, Honduras, our fellow crew member and Academy Principal, Alicia Robbins became aware of a need for school supplies in a village of Dos Bocas. The teachers in Honduras are responsible to supply the school supplies they need. She relayed this need to Andrew Smith, one of our Academy teachers, volunteering this school year with the ship in Mobile, Alabama. He mentioned the need in Dos Bocas to our students who were encouraged and anxious to see this need met.

While we were in Mobile with the ship in Dry Dock, our Academy students and staff were blessed by using the facilities at Cottage Hill, Baptist Church to conduct classes. As the students would discuss their plans for raising money and finding supplies to met the need in Dos Bocas..... they were overheard by one of the ladies working in the cafeteria, who wanted to help. She spread the word and contacted different people in the church and went around to local businesses to get donations. This enabled the Academy staff and students to bring to Honduras over $1,000 dollars of school supplies. Praise the Lord!

Kim Anna, Tanner, Mr. Andrew, Sarai, Noah and Jenny with some of the school supplies. Posted by Hello
The students and staff members were not only able to meet the initally identified needs for one school in Dos Boca.... but five additional schools. Thank you, Lord, for your provisions and allowing us to be your hands and feet in Honduras.

The school children in Dos Bocas. Posted by Hello

Friday, April 16, 2004

Donation of Paper Products

Loading the paper products into the truck! Posted by Hello
Kimberly-Clarke was contacted during our shipyard phase in Mobile, Alabama and asked if they would consider donating some paper products. To our pleasant surprise they not only agreed to make a donation, but told us to bring the largest UHAUL truck we could get to carry all of the products they would donate.

They supplied many types of paper products, including toilet paper, paper towels for the galley and pantry. Thank you, Kimberly-Ckarke for your generosity. We praise the Lord for you and for His provisions!

Wednesday, April 14, 2004

Donation of Emergency Generator

The new Emergency Generator Posted by Hello
While in Mobile, Alabama we were blessed and observed the Mercy of God when Cummins Corporation donated this Diesel Generator Set. This will replace our Emergency Generator. Our current emergency generator is the original one for our ship and is 52 years old! This new generator is approximately 4 times the power of the old generator. It is also one of the most reliable engines according to Blake Mile, our senior motorman and Blake is very familiar with Cummins engines being a former mechanic for Cummins Canada! This same engine is used in Canada by mining companies to provide electrical lighting (24 hours a day, everday) and they expect to get 10,000 hours from the generator! We will use this engine to provide emergency power for the it will probably last at least another 50 years or more! To purchase this generator would have cost approximately $25,000 or more! Praise God for His provisioning!