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Tuesday, September 21, 2004

September 2004 - Newsletter

Hello Friends,
We pray that this letter finds you in good health, and safe from the hurricane season. We are currently at the International Operations Center (IOC) in Lindale, Texas. We are part of the 85 members of our crew that evacuated the m/v Caribbean Mercy when she sailed from Mobile, Alabama to seek safer waters from Hurricane Ivan. The essential sailing crew of 23 members took the ship out on Monday night, September 13th at approximately 2000hrs (8:00pm). The decision to bring the ship out of the port on Monday night proved to be a great decision. Earlier that afternoon the port of Mobile determined that the ships would need to evacuate the harbor by the next morning. As you can see by the pictures the ship was in rough seas and rolling back and forth from the Hurricane, even though the ship was able to be well away from the actual Hurricane. Focus on the horizon in these pictures to see the degree of the roll. These pictures were taken from the fixed Bridge Camera.

Rolling port - to see how much the ship is rolling ....make the horizon straight on your computer screen! Posted by Hello
After working all day, securing our offices, cabins and packing to leave we were already tired. Those of us not sailing boarded our various vehicles and prepared for the twelve hour drive to the International Operations Center (IOC) in Garden Valley, Texas. We were able to depart the port about 7:30 PM. By the time we reached the IOC at 0630 the next morning Denise and I had been up and working for over 24 hours. Rob was able to go get some sleep and Denise attended a 10 am meeting with all of the Human Resources Directors at the IOC, Anastasis and Africa Mercy Ships. Denise managed to get about three hours of sleep after the meeting and prior to community worship at 4:45pm. We slept really well that night!

Starboard roll!  Posted by Hello
We have continued to work and assist here at the IOC as best we can; augmenting the staff here in any area we can, while we await the word to return to Mobile, Alabama. The ship has moved to just outside the bay and is awaiting the Coast Guards reopening of the port. The city of Mobile, Alabama was spared a direct hit by hurricane Ivan, for which we are all thankful and praise the Lord for answered prayer! The port has to be assessed to determine if the harbor is passable for river traffic. The hurricane managed to damage or move many of the channel markers in Mobile Bay.

Car on I-10 near Pensacola (picture from the Internet) after Hurricane Ivan! Posted by Hello
We are staying at the home of John and Ruth Hensman while we are at the IOC. They are good friends and classmates from our Crossroads in 2002! We have had a wonderful time with them and their son, Josh! John serves as the Warehouse Manager for Mercy Ships and without the work done here at the IOC…we wouldn’t be able to serve the poor and needy during outreach! Ruth serves in Resource Development and was able to join the Caribbean Mercy last June in Honduras during our outreach when she hosted a vision trip for donors to Mercy Ships. Josh just returned from the Anastasis where he served short term as a part of the deck crew! He will be joining the Navy in November.

John, Ruth and Josh Hensman (visit their website- Posted by Hello
Our itinerary is currently adjusted day by day as there are many unknowns concerning the Port of Mobile; the condition of the warehouse in which much of our cargo was stored, and how this delay will affect our outreach to Honduras. We are very much looking forward to going back to Honduras to see the Moringa trees growing and reconnecting with the many people that we met. We trust in God’s timing and provision. We have learned that at the times when we trust God for His timing and ways…He is faithful! When we reflect upon how God has provided for us and directed our paths we are blessed and God is glorified more than when we move in our own knowledge going forward. We continue to go forward with confidence and trusting the way has already been prepared for us. As we continue to go forward in faith, we thank God for each of you our friends. You are a gift to us, a gift that stands the test of time and distance. We can not begin to tell you how much we cherish you.

Children planting the moringa tree seeds! Posted by Hello
As we have become busy over these past several months, please forgive us if we have not written to you as often as we would have liked, please forgive us if we have not called you as often as we would have liked, but please believe you were in our prayers and thoughts daily as we seek to accomplish the task we have been blessed with. Many of you have asked if our commitment with Mercy Ships is about over. Our initial commitment of two years will be completed in December and we are excited that we still have the strong sense and belief that this is exactly where God wants us to continue to serve. We appreciate your continued support, both with your prayers and your financial support. We know the monthly support you provide for us is sacrificial giving and we are humbled to be the recipients. This has been one of the areas we have had to grow in the most (more me than Denise). We have always been self supporting and “paid our own way”. In this venue we did not have to trust fully in God to provide our needs. We are still learning and trusting, thank you for your faithfulness. Thank you for trusting God and listening to His direction as you speak into our lives, with your words, actions, and prayers.
May God bless you as you serve Him with your lives!
God’s blessings,
Rob and Denise