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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.

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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 www.mercywatch.com. 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

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