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Wednesday, March 10, 2004

Newsletter - March 2004

Hello Friends,
We are so blessed to be able to communicate with you via email. We are continuing our “dry-dock” phase in Mobile, Alabama. As many of you know we are required by our classification society DNV to have our ship in dry-dock twice in a five year period. To accomplish this we schedule dry-dock periods for each 2 ½ years. During this period many systems of the ship are inspected to determine their seaworthiness, as well as planned maintenance that can only be accomplished while the ship is out of the water.

Ship in Dry Dock


Ship in Dry Dock
Originally uploaded by MercyWatch.

The Caribbean Mercy in Dry Dock.

During this period we are truly blessed as artisans from many varied industries come to the ship and donate their time and talents to accomplishing the extensive work required. Although there is much work there is also a balance of time to worship and praise our Lord Jesus. Each person who comes and serves is a blessing, as well as those who sacrifice and send them. Denise and I are constantly encouraged and thankful as time and time again, the Lord meets the needs of this crew and Mercy Ships as a ministry.

Bryan Grube in the hold


Bryan Grube in the hold
Originally uploaded by MercyWatch.

It would seem as schedules are made and schedules are changed around this dry-dock phase that there would be a great deal of frustration and anxiety. This is not the case.
There is a sweet, sweet spirit in this place… We can see it in each face, we can hear it in each voice, yes! There is a sweet, sweet spirit in this place…it is the spirit of the Lord.

Lunchtime!


Lunchtime!
Originally uploaded by MercyWatch.

Lunch in honor of the Technical Crew and the Shipyard Workers on Aft Deck.

Mercy Ships sent 17 of us to Basic Safety Training Class (BST) at our International Operations Center in Garden Valley Texas. We were there for a week and completed the Coast Guard approved class. We learned about firefighting and also water survival.

Denise in Gumby suit


Denise in Gumby suit
Originally uploaded by MercyWatch.

This picture is of Denise in a GUMBY suit. These suits are used to keep us afloat in an emergency and also to make us bigger, brighter and different in the water so that search and rescue can find us. Rob describes them as trying to put a Playtex glove on your entire body!

We had fun and gained great respect for our emergency teams on the ship! Fun was a kind of initiation kind of fun, not the kind you would want to have to repeat!
While we were away at the BST class, there was a surprise meeting of the ship across the river in dry dock and our ship in dry dock.

The Sgt Kozak


The Sgt Kozak
Originally uploaded by MercyWatch.

The Sgt. Matej Kocak ship was being launched out of the dry dock with the help of three tugboats. The 600+ foot ship got away from the tugs and came across the river and ran into our dry dock!

The force of the meeting sent our floating dry dock down the river about 24 feet! The service lines for electricity, water, sewage and various gas lines (propane, acetylene, oxygen and compressed air) were severed from the shore connections. God was with us and protected our ship as no one on the crew or shipyard workers were hurt during the surprise meeting. This was a miracle and we are truly blessed.
Denise and I would like to thank you for continuing to support us with you prayers, your cards and letters and email and your financial support. You have been faithful and we count each of you as a special blessing. As we travel and are often far away from home, it is with pleasure and thanksgiving that we think of you. Several of you have asked for the address to send donations to and we’ll include it at the bottom of this newsletter.
During this dry-dock phase as we prepare for the Easter season, we have been involved ministry wide in forty days of prayer and fasting. Each day there is a different devotional written by one of our Mercy Ships family and these include several prayer points to help us focus on the source of our strength Jesus.
Would you join with us in praying for the following prayer points?

* The continued safety of our crew and the shipyard workers.
* Our advance team in Honduras (Jacinto, Alicia, Kathia) as they await our arrival and our new sailing date of April 21st.
* Continued favor with the Immigration officials with Homeland Security for visas for our international crew
* Our leadership team as they seek the Lord for guidance and wisdom.
* The many volunteers who are being asked to adjust their itinerary to serve with us because of our delay in dry dock.
* Each of you our friends, and family for the continued presence of Jesus in your life. That you will see yourselves as the wonderful sons and daughters of God that you truly are.
We pray that you’ll be blessed abundantly by God and that your life will be as wonderful as it was in the mind of God on the day that He created you!
God’s blessings,
Rob and Denise
Tax Deductible Donations may be sent to: Mercy Ships
Check payable to: Mercy Ships PO Box 2020
Garden Valley, TX 75771

Please indicate Account #1679 in the memo section of the check. Thank you!

During the sail from Mobile, AL to Puerto Castilla, Honduras