Please have a look at our photo site by clicking on any picture below:

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Saturday, December 31, 2005

Rob and Denise at the Africa Mercy!

This photo was taken just outside the portacabin that Denise and 12 other crewmembers work in. You can see the ship behind us. Rob works on the ship preparing the engineering stores for sailing (all the parts-big and little)with lots of help of the engineers!

Thursday, December 22, 2005

Denise in the Reception area of the Africa Mercy!

December 2005 059, originally uploaded by MercyWatch.

This is the Reception Area as you walk on the ship. Where I am standing will be the reception counter and I will continue to take pictures as the area is completed. My job on the ship is Head Receptionist and we will be working in this area as the ship gets completed. Currently, I'm working as Accounting Assistant in the Business Centre just down the way from the ship in a "Portacabin". This picture was taken on 15Dec05.

Don't ask for grits here in the UK!

December 2005 082, originally uploaded by MercyWatch.

This is a grit box alongside of the road. The Grit here is used to melt the ice and snow, basically like rock salt!

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Rob on the gangway of the Africa Mercy

December 2005 047, originally uploaded by MercyWatch.

As you can now see... the Africa Mercy is quite a bit larger than the Caribbean Mercy! When you enter the ship through the gangway you are on Deck 5 at Reception. That's where I'll be working on the ship!

Sunday, December 18, 2005

A blessing for us in the City of Newcastle!

December 2005 107
We went into Newcastle with some friends to see a Christmas program at their church on December 18th. The program was mostly Christmas songs, beautiful songs! After the program, we went into the Chinatown part (including a huge Tori Gate) and had Chinese food for dinner. It was very good! Then we walked through the town to go down to the river to see the Gateshead Millinneum Bridge which is lighted with blue light at night. And we had an added blessing...the city was celebrating the Winter Festival and we were there just at the right time to wait for the fireworks which began just about a half hour after we reached the river! It was great! You can check out the beautiful bridge and other pictures of the city by clicking on the Slideshow of the pictures of Newcastle, including the fireworks!

Saturday, December 17, 2005

We are in Northeast England and crew of the Africa Mercy!

Greetings from Northeast England! We arrived on 29Nov2005 and were greeted at the Newcastle Airport by our friends and crewmates, Mark Biddell and Yvonne Riddick! It's great to be here and we are settling in, however the internet connection is only at the office! We will have a phone at the flat on 22Dec and are looking forward to be able to communicate more through the internet on the blog and website. We enjoyed our time with friends and family, the week of Thanksgiving and loved seeing everyone! It was too short a time...but when we got to the Africa Mercy...we found out why they needed us here so quickly! The crew is still small in numbers and lots of work to do! In the next few days and weeks, I'll try to get the pictures of the ship out on the blog. I took several pictures of the ship this past week and I'll try to keep you updated on the progress.

I'm having trouble getting to the website to update I'll keep going on the blog. Today, we took a ride on the Metro up to Tynemouth. It's a beautiful seaside town with an old abbey on the shore. We took some pictures, so we'll get them out this coming week. The sea is the North it was very cold and windy! Big waves and beautiful scenery! Wow...a photograph can just not capture the beauty! This town is at the mouth of the Tyne River and the ship is docked up the river in Hebburn at the A&P shipyard.

Friday, December 16, 2005

Rob with the SpaceSaver in the Pharmacy on the Africa Mercy

December 2005 054, originally uploaded by MercyWatch.

The SpaceSaver was installed in the Pharmacy on Deck 3 just this past Wednesday and Thursday. This will make it easy to store all the medications needed for the patients in Africa!

The New SpaceSaver!

December 2005 052, originally uploaded by MercyWatch.

Another view of the SpaceSaver in the Pharmacy on Deck 3.

Thursday, December 01, 2005

We're in Northeast England!

We have arrived in England and are now a part of the Africa Mercy Crew! We are privileged to be here as a part of the pre-deployment team working on the Africa Mercy project and then will also be a part of the post-deployment crew longterm on the Africa Mercy!!!

We are settling in and are enjoying getting to know our crew mates and feel very blessed by this wonderful community! Lots of work is happening on the ship and in the New Year...even more will be happening! Many more of the contracted workers (about 100) will be working around the clock seven days a week and another 70 will be working 2 shifts daily to get the ship ready to go the first part of April 2006! It's exciting to see the level of activity increase and imagine that all the hard work for so many for so long is coming together to be able to go to Africa!

We know that many of you have questions...please email us and we will be glad to answer any questions for you that we can. We loved seeing those of you that we could while we were in Jacksonville, St. Augustine, High Point, Rockville and Baltimore before coming to England! We miss you!

May God bless you abundantly as you seek Him more and more throughout the New Year!

God's abundant blessings,
Rob and Denise

Sunday, November 27, 2005

Rob and Denise on the way to the Africa Mercy

November 2005 018, originally uploaded by MercyWatch.

Dad and Vivian gave us a small family party to celebrate that we were joining the Africa Mercy and going to serve in Africa.

Thursday, November 24, 2005

Kendall at the Cathedral in St. Augustine

DSC01835, originally uploaded by MercyWatch.

Prior to Kendall's baptism, Kendall enjoyed walking around the front part of the Cathedral. She especially liked the kneeling pads on the altar rail.

Kendall's Baptism

DSC01871, originally uploaded by MercyWatch.

Shelley and Scott are Kendall's godparents. Hannah and Noah are their children.
From right to left: Shelley (Jill's sister), Hannah, Jason, Kendall, Jill, Scott (Shelley's husband), and Noah.

Saturday, November 05, 2005

Article about the Beekeeping Project, "Busy Bees," to be done in Ghana, West Africa in 2006.

This picture is of some of the crew wearing the beekeeping hats donated for this project. (check out the ship - Africa Mercy behind them)

The Busy Bees Project (Proposal) is a micro-enterprise concept and may train up to 10 women in 8 villages (80 women total) to keep bees and operate a honey farm of 10 hives.

The boots in the picture to the right have also been donated to this project.

Thursday, October 27, 2005

Caribbean Mercy hosts Relief Team from Tyler, Texas

This article is from a local TV story by Molly Reuter, reporting on KLTV
Mercy Ships is doing it's part to help in the hurricane relief effort. It's Caribbean Mercy ship is down in Mobile, Alabama housing volunteers working in the disaster areas, and the ship was just at the right place at the right time.

Jerry, Sam, Craig and Jeff are a diverse group of guys. One's a judge, the other a construction worker, but they all had the same goal, to get to the Gulf Coast.

"We were trying to go down to New Orleans because there was just so much media on New Orleans and our hearts were just breaking for these people," said Craig Carter, volunteer. "We tried for like two weeks, but the door just kept getting closed." But as they always say, when one door closes another one opens.

"One of the guys in the group called me and said Mercy Ships is looking for a team from Tyler, so we jumped right on it," said Carter. Mercy Ships docked their Caribbean Mercy ship in Mobile, Alabama last January for repairs. That's where it was when Hurricane Katrina came rushing in.

"We evacuated the crew and it was actually eleven days after the hurricane came that the water subsided," said Ciaran Holden, Chief Engineer of Caribbean Mercy ship. When it did, the ship's crew saw an opportunity to help.

"It was ideal because on board the ship we have a lot of diesel on board, so we can generate our own electricity and we have fresh water," said Holden. "We could use the Caribean Mercy more or less immediately to house relief teams coming into the area." The crew from Tyler took advantage of that option.

"The beds were comfortable and we had hot water and the meals were good at night," said Sam Griffith.

"Ships are built for shorter people," said Carter. "We bumped our heads a few times and I have no padding, so we had a few knocks." It's not the living conditions they say they will remember the most. It's the time spent cutting trees and building houses for those that needed help.

"You go down there to help people, but you come away like they helped you," said Carter. "They just made your life better through the experience." Now these four guys are not done helping. They say they are planning to go to Beaumont and Port Arthur in a few weeks to help those affected by Hurricane Rita.

Molly Reuter, reporting.

Saturday, October 22, 2005

Well Drilling Rig Re-commissioning Ceremony

From left to right: Mark Thompson, Mercy Teams Director; Udo Kronester, Africa Mercy Programs Director; Bob and Gloria Atkinson, original donators of the rig; Don Stephens, Founder and President of Mercy Ships; and Rob Miller, future well digger and caretaker of the rig!

There was a re-commissioning ceremony held for the well-drilling rig that was once onboard the Caribbean Mercy and is now being sent to the Africa Mercy. This drill will help drill 38 water wells during the first Ghana field service.

Bob and Maggie Atkinson, who gave Mercy Ships the rig, traveled to the IOC to participate in this ceremony. Don Stephens, Mark Thompson and others prayed a blessing on the rig - for its future service in Africa, as well as for the family who has donated it.

During the ceremony Bob shared with us that he and Maggie had attended a Crossroads Discipleship Training School in 1996. During their outreach, they served with Mark Thompson in Nicaragua after Hurricane Mitch came through and destroyed many villages there. The Caribbean Mercy had left a group of well diggers and the well drilling rig from the Caribbean Mercy on land in Nicaragua after the ship's field service there prior to Hurricane Mitch. The need was great for clean water and it was decided to leave it there for service while the ship went back to the US to resupply and have a Public Relations time.

The impact of the need for fresh water and the exuberant joy it brought to the people served by the well helped Bob and Maggie decide to invest in a well drilling machine. They dedicated this new rig to serve on the Caribbean Mercy in honor of their parents to leave a legacy of how they served other's during their lives.

This machine was taken off the Caribbean Mercy, two years ago, when the planned outreach assessments did not find a need for drilling wells for the outreach locations. This well drilling rig will be sent in the near future to the Africa Mercy for use in Ghana where the two locations that ship will serve have great need for potable water. In one area only 42% of the population have access to potable water and in the other area there is only 17% of the population with access to potable water! We look forward to the time when this machine is again drilling to bring hope and healing into a community needing clean water!

Thursday, October 13, 2005

A Little Update on Rob and Denise

I'm new to blogging, Denise always does all of the hard work. So I, Rob, decided it was time for me to try my hand at this. Denise tells me if I really mess it up she can go back and edit here we go.

Thankfully, we weathered Hurricane Rita without incident.

We have submitted our transfer request to go serve aboard the M/V Africa Mercy.

Many of you have been very supportive of our serving with Mercy Ships over these past three years. We had hopes that when we first came to Mercy Ships that we would be making a lifelong change, but didn't really know what the Lord had in store for us. With much prayer and a little trembling we have been on an adventure of a lifetime. The experiences that we have shared, the lives we have seen changed, add a whole new meaning to our lives. Have you ever enjoyed something you were doing so much you just didn't want to stop?

Ok, OK... have you been fortunate enough to have this experience at work? Denise and I can't say that every experience working and living on a Mercy Ship is one we don't want to stop, but the overall total package is a life that we wouldn't trade for the world.

The best way we can describe it is like when in the song the songwriter says about every knee shall bow, every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, and that all tribes, nations and countries will bow down and worship the King of Kings and the Lord of Lords, that they will cast down their crowns at the feet of Jesus.

We see a small part of God's kingdom working and living together. Many different nations, all living and working together to share a common cause to spread God's love and His Word. Through acts of kindness, bringing hope and healing through His power and strength and to His glory.

So as you read that our love and desire is to be aboard the ship, in the middle of community, working hand in hand with our brothers and sisters to help change lives one at a time, maybe you can understand our hearts. Not just to change lives but to share the love that God has shared with look for the opportunity to be a servant to each other and people we have yet to meet.

So as we get excited about this next season the Lord is bringing us into, we ask for your prayers and continued support of us. Will you join with us for another couple of years? Will you help us follow the path that the Lord has placed before us? We pray that you will and that God will bless you abundantly for your part in what we are able to do together and with God!

Our prayer for you is that your life will be as wonderful as it was in the mind of God on the day He created you!

God's abundant blessings,
Rob and Denise (editor)

Saturday, October 08, 2005

Africa Mercy? Yes, Lord ...we heard You!

Thanks for all your prayers and support! We have applied to serve on the Africa Mercy! Please join us in prayer that we are clearly hearing that this is God's will for our next season!

Thursday, September 22, 2005

Preparing for Hurricane Rita

I must apologize to you for not updating the website and blog as often as I'd like to and I'm sure you'd like me to! I've been experiencing trouble with our laptop (it's over 3 years old now). I've had to restore the hard drive and in that process lost many emails and email addresses. Please send us your email address again to be sure that we have it. Also, the laptop will now sometimes turn on and other times is not able to.'s been a real challenge for me...those of you who know me well will really understand that!

Anyway... we wanted to let you know that we are fine and preparing for Hurricane Rita that at the last update is directly headed for us! Of course, we pray that it will only be a tropical storm or depression by the time it reaches us. We are quite a way inland (about 4 hours). In the update from this morning....we are located just about on the 7 am Sunday spot.
The most recent 4 pm update has it arriving about 1 pm on Sunday, since it stalled out and slowed down a bit this morning. Needless to say, we are preparing and will continue to monitor the situation and pray for God's mercy to calm the storm. We especially pray for those on the coast and those already hurting from Hurricane Katrina. We'll keep you posted as best we can!

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

Caribbean Mercy in Chickasaw

Caribbean Mercy in Chickasaw, originally uploaded by MercyWatch.

Praise the Lord! We know that the Lord had His hand on the Caribbean Mercy during this storm! We are encouraged that He knows His plans for her and has kept her safe. A team from Mercy Ships International Operations Center and the crew will be leaving early tomorrow to check her out up close!

A look at the Caribbean Mercy

A look at the Caribbean Mercy, originally uploaded by MercyWatch.

Map of Chickasaw, Alabama

Map of Chickasaw, Alabama, originally uploaded by MercyWatch.

The location of the ship is marked near the center of the map. The dock is located about 6.5 miles north of downtown Mobile, Alabama.

Caribbean Mercy after Hurricane Katrina

We just received some pictures of the ship after Hurricane Katrina. A team will be going to the ship tomorrow to inspect her inside and out!

Friday, September 02, 2005

Before and Afters Blog

A blog that shows a few before and after pictures of patients on the Anastasis. These photos were captured by Scott Harrison.

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

Rob visits the Caribbean Mercy!

Rob visits the Caribbean Mercy!
Originally uploaded by MercyWatch.

We were blessed as the Lord (and Mercy Ships) allowed Rob to visit the ship and spend some time with the caretakers. He and Ciaran measured and met with contractors to help determine the extent and costs of getting the ship in order to continue the mission work!

The Caribbean Mercy Caretakers

The Caribbean Mercy Caretakers
Originally uploaded by MercyWatch.

From left around to right: Lilian, Maria Elena, Ciaran, Tom, Kathy and little Joy!

Ciaran, Lilian, Joy and Rob (taking the picture) visited the caretakers of the Caribbean Mercy the week of August 15th.

Where's the crew?

Where's the crew?
Originally uploaded by MercyWatch.

The dining room on the Caribbean Mercy awaits the return of the crew to once again go on outreacch after the repairs are completed.

Friday, August 19, 2005

Blog Class at the Introduction to Mercy Ships

During the Introduction to Mercy Ships week long class, Denise was able to teach a short class on Thursday afternoon for Blogging! There were about 50 attendees, including the participants attending the Introduction and also many of Mercy Ships volunteer long term staff looking to better communicate with friends, family and supporters. We look forward to seeing many of these blogs on the Internet, sharing what God is doing in many lives as well as spreading the word of the Lord and bringing Glory to God! Some of the attendees have already begun! Click on the names to see their blogs! Sue (she helped me practice) Alberta and more to come!

Monday, August 01, 2005

SA Blog

An article about an interview with some of the Anastasis crew and the impact in South Africa.

Sunday, July 24, 2005

Wood Family Reunion


JULY 24, 2004
11:OO AM - UNTIL.........
BEL AIR, MD 21015

This is a covered dish affair, so........
Pack up your picnic baskets and coolers; that takes care of the food and drink. No alcohol please. We will have lunch about 12:30
Bring along your family photos, genealogy and stories to share.
Wear your best smiles for the cameras.
Be sure to invite all your/our WOOD RELATIVES.

CONTACTS: Claude (Woody) and Ruth Wood
E-MAIL: or

Sybil Lovelace
We look forward to seeing everyone.

Gather for lunch and stay for dinner.

Saturday, July 09, 2005

Update on what's been happening!

Where to begin ..... WOW ... the last month has been a whirlwind and we have been trying to keep up! Our May Newsletter (see the May 2005 to the left) basically left you about the time we had to leave the ship on June 6. Well, we left on June 4th and were in the first group to leave. The next group of crew left on June 6th. The Caribbean Mercy Caretakers are still on board and you can keep updated to the happenings on the ship by visiting this link:

They update it about daily and also put pictures on the site. We really appreciate their efforts to keep the site updated and visit it just about daily to see what is going on there!

Rob is working with the CBM Engineering Superindendant, Ciaran, on the plan to determine what repairs, maintenance and improvements need to be made to the ship before it is ready to sail once again! This is Rob's full time job while at the International Operations Center (IOC) here in Texas!

To let you know about what has been is a brief recap:
  • May 23-28 - Finished up work onboard the Caribbean Mercy, packed our offices and got the work areas in order for shipyard work.
  • May 28th-June 3rd - Packed up the cabin and got our personal items in order
  • June 4th - Arrived at the International Operations Center in the afternoon
  • June 5th - went to work to turn over the Caribbean Mercy records
  • June 6th & 7th - tried to veg out and tried to plan for the next week
  • June 8th - went to meetings and went out to dinner to celebrate our 32nd anniversary with our friends, Ruth and John (note: we went out for their 32nd anniversary with them in Leon, Nicaragua during our Crossroads Outreach in November 2002!)
  • June 9th - went to the International Operations Center Prayer meeting and then left for Rob's brother's (Ken's) home in Abilene for a visit. We had not seen Ken & Kaye, Connie (Rob's sister) & Billy for over a year (and then only for a few hours).
  • June 11th - Celebrated Ken's 50th birthday! (It's on the 12th...but we celebrated it by having a huge cookout with his friends)
  • June 9-18 - Relaxed and had time to spend the Lord - it was a good time...Ken had to work and Kaye went to Minnesota, but that allowed us to just have some time! We didn't realize how tired we were, but running on adrenaline for months at a not healthy! Rob was also able to get the Truimph running again - it had sat in Ken's yard for almost 3 years! We put some tires and a battery in it and it ran just fine!
  • June 18th - drove 5 hours back to Garden Valley!
more to come.....have to go to sleep now!

Sunday, May 29, 2005

Welcome to Chickasaw, Alabama.....the Caribbean Mercy's new home for the next 6-12+ months!

Originally uploaded by MercyWatch.

Most of the crew will be relocating to various Mercy Ships locations in the next month. Some of the crew will be leaving Mercy Ships and a few (about 8) crew members will be caretaking the ship as it is docked here in Chickasaw.

The ship was escorted and powered by two tugs up the Mobile river to this dock. The ship requires extensive repairs and is being laid aside here in Chickasaw until the repairs are assessed, funding is raised and the future ministry plan for the ship is developed.

Tuesday, May 24, 2005

Caribbean Mercy

Caribbean Mercy Ship
Originally uploaded by Gbird9.

The Caribbean Mercy docked in the morning fog in Chickasaw, Alabama.

Sunday, May 15, 2005

Newsletter - A New Challenge Awaits Us

Many of you must think we have totally forgotten how to write...not so.
In the past several months there has been much change and busyness in our lives. Sometimes the change occurred daily and even hour by hour! In the midst of all of this change our communication to you has suffered. Please accept our apology; it was not our intention to exclude you from the process.

Please allow me to recap a little. Since arriving in Mobile, Alabama in January of this year, we initially believed we would be in Mobile for about eight weeks to allow for scheduled survey and any associated work that may be created as a result of these surveys. In the beginning this endeavor seemed realistic and obtainable.

When we first arrived in Mobile, we had to deal with several unexpected mechanical failures of our onboard systems such as the steering gear and the main engine. These failures would be corrected but caused us to be under a Coast Guard restriction which would eventually prevent us from sailing to our new berth under our own power.

When we arrived in Mobile we first docked in the Alabama State Dock and shortly had to move across the river to Harrison Brothers Shipyard, at Harrison's we were unable to discharge cargo which delayed our efforts to correct the cargo hold tween deck which was one area of concern to our surveyor from our previous dry-dock phase last year.

Sunday, May 08, 2005

Official Announcement regarding the Caribbean Mercy

We have been extremely busy...mostly due to the news about the ship.... The official memo is attached below.... Please drop us a note, when you can. We'll be glad to answer any questions that we can! We will respond as soon as we can and let you know about our plans as the Lord reveals them!

Mobile, Alabama - May 3, 2005

Crew and staff of Mercy Ships were informed today that the service of the Mercy Ship Caribbean Mercy will be put on hold for an estimated 6-12 months. This decision was made in response to extensive unexpected repairs required to keep the ship in service. Crew will transfer to other Mercy Ships offices and locations for the duration.

Since the Caribbean Mercy joined the Mercy Ships fleet:

-- 7,000 dental patients have been treated
-- 4,000 eye surgeries have been performed
-- 850 orthopedic surgeries have been performed
-- 160,000 presentations of the love of God have been made

Please join us in prayer for the Caribbean Mercy to return to active service as soon as possible. For information and additional updates, go to the Caribbean Mercy itinerary page at which will be updated as information becomes available.

Steve Koinis
Mercy Ships International

Paul and the phone lines!

Paul and the phone lines!
Originally uploaded by MercyWatch.

You may have tried to call us......our extensions are not working, but the ship's number is and you can leave a message or have us paged!

Friday, April 15, 2005

Caribbean Mercy News of April 2005

This year, the Caribbean Mercy originally docked in Harrison Brothers’ Shipyard in Mobile. Recently, the ship shifted from Harrison Brothers, down the river to Bender Shipyard. Due to the welding work required in the holds, deck crew needed to offload nearly all of the cargo stored onboard there. As a larger shipyard, Bender offered a more suitable dock and storage area for the cargo while the welding work took place. Click on the title to go to the news link.

Tuesday, April 12, 2005

Happy 1st Anniversary,!!!!

It's our 1st anniversary of having a WEBSITE! April 11th - this is a special date for us - It was Denise's Grandma's birthday....double April Fools is what she called it! We hope you are enjoying our website and that it is a blessing to you! Thanks for visiting us and all of your encouraging words!

Rob and Chief Charles in the Shaft Tunnel

Rob and Chief Charles in the Shaft Tunnel
Originally uploaded by MercyWatch.

Rob is really busy these days in the Shipyard! He and Chief Charles are down in the shaft tunnel to take a picture of one of the parts that needed repair! The shaft in the picture connects the engine to the propeller!

We are still in Mobile, AL and have just found out that we'll be here a bit longer....this week we find out what that means! Please pray for us and our ship....we long to be in the Dominican Republic, but the Lord knows the best timing and what we need to be doing now! May God bless you abundantly as you trust in Him!

Saturday, April 09, 2005

Update on Caribbean Mercy Status

Here is the latest status on the Caribbean Mercy:

It is with regret that we have to tell you that, due to the surveyors report received this week, the ship will be further delayed while repairs are completed. At this time, the Dominican Republic Field Assignment (Outreach) will be delayed at least until July to October 2005.

These repairs involve the entire dining room, Amazon CafĂ©, book store, aft lounge and the pre-school, and the surveyor decided that they should be completed prior to our departure for the Dominican Republic. Our understanding from last year’s survey was that this work needed on Promenade Deck could wait until our next Dry Dock in 2007.
Mercy Ships has hired contractors to complete this work quickly and thoroughly, so that we can move forward in planning the Dominican Republic outreach. The disassembly of the areas affected has begun as of April 11th and we are getting more estimates to help us determine how long these repairs will delay us. We hope to have more information and a timeframe by the end of next week. The field assignment will also have to be approved by the government in the Dominican Republic, once firm dates are determined.

These changes are outside our control, but we know that God is in control and we trust in Him for His time and plan. Much prayer and discussion has already gone into this decision, and we hope to have some answers soon. Please continue to pray!
We are excited about what is already going on in the Dominican Republic prior to the ship’s arrival. Our advance team has been in the Dominican Republic since the beginning of January 2005 working out all the details in preparation for the field assignment. The Community Health Education Coordinator arrived mid-March to begin teaching in the villages and Barahona. She has been warmly welcomed and has experienced high attendance in these classes in the communities. The Health Care Fairs (clinics) are going on in the villages. The Ship’s Outreach Team (Evangelism) has just arrived in Barahona to begin building relationships and assess the spiritual needs of the communities. Please join with us in prayer for His guidance, preparations and His ongoing plan for the Dominican Republic field assignment.

We pray that you will experience blessings from God for your prayers, patience, perseverance and steadfastness in standing with us during this time of uncertainty. May God bless you abundantly as you seek Him and trust in Him more and more!

Thursday, March 31, 2005

Caribbean Mercy News of March 16-31, 2005

Point of Grace (christian recording artists) came to visit the Caribbean Mercy and that evening we attended their concert in Pensacola, Florida! Click on the title to read the news.

Monday, March 28, 2005

Happy Easter! Christ the Lord is risen! He is risen, indeed!

Please send us an email and let us know about your Easter Sunday! We had a wonderful one!

We began with a sunrise service on Aft deck at 6:00. The weather was mild but quite overcast and foggy ... so not much of a sunrise! After service we had a spread of pastries for breakfast. Quite nice!

Then about 7:00 am, Rob and I took a couple of our crew out to Bayou La Batre where they were attending Sea School and finishing up their BST. Amazing that they would have class on EASTER! It's quite a nice drive about 45 minutes from the ship each way.

After the drive, we showered and got ready for church. No Sunday School class on Easter, so we went to the New Song Service at Christ UMC. Enjoyed it a lot! After service we went to Panera Bread for a sandwich and some internet at a faster speed. Got some of the website updated...but didn't get it loaded out there yet. Came back to the ship and Rob took a nap, I worked on some DVDs and then we had dinner on the ship.

WoW! Kathy Long cooked a fabulous Easter dinner. Beef Wellington and Salmon, fresh asparagus, zucchini and summer squash sauté, new potatoes and Rolls! Caesar salad and tossed salad, and strawberry shortcake for dessert! Yum Yum!

Then at 7:00 pm, we had a Scavenger Hunt...complete with some tricks from the amazing race or fear factor, I think! It was great fun! Then we settled down...sat around and talked for a bit and went to bed! It was a great day! God is sooooo good!

Sunday, March 27, 2005

On the move.....

On the move.....
Originally uploaded by MercyWatch.

This Oil Rig went sailing by us and then sailed by the Holiday, a ship with the Carnival Cruise Line that is docked across the river from us! This ship leaves Mobile and sails to Cozumel every 4-5 days. You can see how big this oil rig is when it dwarfs the big Cruise Ship!

Saturday, March 19, 2005

Downtown Mobile

Downtown Mobile
Originally uploaded by MercyWatch.

This picture is of Mobile and the Convention Center in the left of the picture. Coming down the river is an Oil Rig ... you usually on pass them coming into Mobile Bay from the Gulf of Mexico...The oil rigs don't usually pass you!

Harrison Brothers' Shipyard in Mobile, Alabama

We are still in the ship yard in Mobile, Alabama. We will probably be here just about another month and may need to move from the Harrison Brothers' Shipyard where we've been to finish up some steel work in the cargo holds. We've had an interesting time watching some of the traffic up and down the river here!

Ready to Go!

Ready to Go!
Originally uploaded by MercyWatch.

Their church has a fundraising project to help with the church budget...selling Chocolate Easter Eggs! Wow! They are made with homemade fudge, divinity, etc inside! They sell these eggs to the community and personalize the large eggs!

Rev. John and Pat Hicks at St. Andrews

Rev. John and Pat Hicks at St. Andrews
Originally uploaded by MercyWatch.

We've been busy and promoting Mercy Ships when we can. We spoke last weekend at Rev. John Hick's church, St. Andrews Episcopal Church, here near Mobile. John and his wife, Pat, come and volunteer whenever we are in Mobile to cook for the crew! They started this last year when we were here in Dry Dock and have continued faithfully coming to serve us! They are a blessing!

Tuesday, March 15, 2005


Last week saw the 'I Choose You' tour visit East Coast venues from Lodi, New Jersey to Central Florida. The two week trip included a touching 'tour' of the Mercy Ship, 'Carribean', which provides much needed medical services to third world countries (pictured). The 'ICU Reception' continues to be a special time with our friends and we look look forward to seeing many more of you in the days ahead! Remember, the latest concert listings, tour photos, and journal thoughts are just a click away!

From the Journal...
Mercy Ships March 21, 2005
Boy oh boy, what an eventful month- March madness for sure, but in a good way. We have actually been home for the last 8 days but before that we were back out on the ICU tour for 10 days. It was my favorite time so far. All the kids were with us, except Spence (he was in school). We experienced everything from snow storms in Virginia Beach, yes you heard me right, Virginia Beach, to roller coaster rides at Cypress Gardens in Winter Haven, Florida. We also had an unusual opportunity to visit the “Caribbean Mercy ship” in Pensacola, Florida. Meeting some of the staff and having brunch was a great reminder of how important this ministry truly is… We were blown away with the servant hearts of each staff member. The words we were left with were from a family that has been apart of Mercy Ships for 15 years and had two kids that grew up on a ship… “We have learned so much, this experience has allowed us appreciate the little that is needed to live and the enormous satisfaction of serving and helping others.” WOW, what a message!!! Take a moment to pray for Mercy Ships please, they are a tremendous blessing to the world.

Many blessings, leigh

(Note from Denise---I was able to sit and share with Leigh at the brunch on board)

To see their Biographies.. click here!

Friday, March 11, 2005

The crew from the ship at the Point of Grace Concert

The crew from the ship at the Point of Grace Concert
Originally uploaded by MercyWatch.

On March 11th, the crew was invited to the Point of Grace Concert in Pensacola, Florida. This is about an hour from where the ship is docked in Mobile, Alabama.

Point of Grace Concert

A group of us from the ship went to a concert by Point of Grace to promote the "Ship Mates" program by invitation from Point of Grace. We had a great time at the concert and Point of Grace came to the ship that morning! We had a great time showing them around the ship and talking with them about our ministry!

Saturday, February 19, 2005

Kendall and Elmo

Kendall and Elmo
Originally uploaded by MercyWatch.

Kendall and Elmo, her favorite pal!

February 19, 2005

We're finally back on the ship and have dug our way out of our inboxes and tasks that had to be done pronto! We enjoyed our 2 week vacation very much!!! It was a joy to stay at Jason and Jill's new (they moved in last June) home in St. Augustine! We had a great time with them and with our granddaughter, Kendall!

Jeff, Dad and Jason

Jeff, Dad and Jason
Originally uploaded by MercyWatch.

This picture is of Jeff, Rob and Jason. We really enjoyed our time with our sons and their families!

Grandpa and Ryan playing the PlayStation

Grandpa and Ryan playing the PlayStation
Originally uploaded by MercyWatch.

We were also thrilled to see our grandson, Ryan. We enjoyed playing Playstation inside and football outside with Ryan! This picture is Rob and Ryan in serious competition on the Playstation!

We should be sailing down to the Dominican Republic on April 2nd. We are delayed due to some annual survey work that is taking a bit longer than expected! Please pray that the ship will be repaired and ready to go on April 2nd!

Tuesday, February 01, 2005

Smile, Kendall!

Smile, Kendall!
Originally uploaded by MercyWatch.

It's kinda hard to smile through her pacifier...but she manages beautifully!

Ryan and just one more photo!

Ryan and just one more photo!
Originally uploaded by MercyWatch.

Ryan trying to be patient with Granma snapping photos as he trys to play the PlayStation!

Jeff and Valerie

Jeff and Valerie
Originally uploaded by MercyWatch.

We met Jeff and Valerie for dinner at the Mandarin Ale House! They have Great food there! Jeff and Valerie are doing very well and it was great to spend some time with them!

Rob and Jason

Rob and Jason
Originally uploaded by MercyWatch.

The morning we departed to go back to the ship...Jason had to go to work. So I snapped this picture of them.

Sunday, January 16, 2005

January 16, 2005 update

Update : 12:23 pm (Jan 16th) We are still under our own power and sailing about 8.5 knots. The seas have just once again picked up to about 8-12 foot and the ship is sailing quite smoothly! We got some pictures of the tug, battling the waves! Most everyone is up for lunch and feeling fairly well. God is very Good!
We are once again sailing and heading towards Mobile, AL. We left Cozumel under our own power... however, the engine is once again having problems and we are praying to get to the North end of the island to anchor out and wait for the tug, Kirsten Grace, that is coming from Mobile to escort us to Mobile! We arrived at anchor in Cozumel Harbor about 9:00 pm. on January 6th .... we were there almost eight days until about 3:00 today.

The Kirsten Grace

Kirsten Grace, the Tug Boat that escorted us from Cozumel, Mexico! Posted by Hello

Saturday, January 15, 2005

January 14, 2005

UPDATE: 6:08 pm (Jan 14)... We're underway again with our own power! Rob came up from the engine room...and I thought they had used him to drag through the clogged cooling pipe for the engine...He said no...He only got to help hold the pipe as the engineers cleaned it out! Praise the Lord! Also, the Kristen Grace came alongside us just after we started back up again! Thank you for all your prayers!
Please pray for us as we sail and as we plan to enter the US under heavy security restrictions. We pray that God will grant us favor and traveling mercies!

Friday, January 14, 2005

Tuesday, January 11, 2005

Update on Caribbean Mercy January 10, 2005

Currently, the Caribbean Mercy still is anchored at the port of Cozumel, Mexico. Some repairs have been completed but additional work is needed. Therefore, we are in the process of dispatching a tug to escort the ship from Mexico up to Mobile, Alabama. Currently, 50 crew are housed ashore at hotels.

To lessen the sailing crew, some of the families will fly to Mercy Ships IOC in Texas to be housed until the ship reaches Mobile. These families could be here on Wednesday, January 12. The ship could be underway Saturday morning with an estimated transit time to Mobile of four days. Thank you for your prayers.

Best Regards,

Steve Koinis
Chief Executive Officer
Mercy Ships International

Saturday, January 08, 2005

We made it to Cozumel! After a couple circles south of the island waiting for clearance to bring the ship in! Posted by Hello

Friday, January 07, 2005

Mercy Ships' Tsunami Disaster Response

Mercy Ships is deeply moved by the recent earthquake and tsunami that affected so many in Asia. We are assessing the needs and will respond with a focus on long-term development projects to aide in recovery from this catastrophe. Let me explain our approach as it stands today.

Dr. Glenn Strauss, our new Vice President of International of Health Care Services, has been appointed as coordinator of the tsunami disaster efforts. Assisting Dr. Glenn will be Mark Thompson as our lead field manager on this project. They will be assisted by Soo-Jin Lee and various other key, experienced Mercy Ships personnel so that we develop and then execute an excellent and effective response. Mercy Ships is experienced in long term disaster development and is preparing for a two-year commitment to the monumental task of rebuilding following the tsunami disaster.

We have already received approval for significant grant funds to commit to our long term plans. To date, those efforts include plans to send medical and construction teams to Sri Lanka and Banda Aceh, Indonesia. We do not anticipate sending any teams within the next 2 to 3 months. We will also purchase fishing boats and nets for the fishermen who lost their livelihoods in the coastal areas of Sri Lanka. We are sending a container of medical supplies and relief goods from our office in Australia to Sri Lanka.

Please refer anyone interested in being considered for one of our short term medical or construction teams in the next 12 months to our web site. There will be a special interest form to complete. We hope to be able to respond within the next 4 to 6 weeks to anyone who submits the online form with more information about our specific plans. Mostly, I thank you in advance for your continued prayers for the victims of the tsunami and for the relief work to be done. In the same way, let your good deeds shine out for all to see, so that everyone will praise your heavenly Father. Matthew 5:16

Best Regards,

Steve Koinis
Chief Executive Officer
Mercy Ships International

Thursday, January 06, 2005

Caribbean Mercy Situation

After a successful sail through the night at about 2.9 knots, the Caribbean Mercy has almost reached the port of Cozumel, Mexico. They are approximately 10 miles from port awaiting clearance from port authorities to enter the port. This involves space available due to three incoming cruise ships in the port area.

Upon docking or anchorage, the Mercy Ship will be assessed and appropriate repairs will begin. Thanks for continuing to pray for the crew, particularly the engineering and deck crew who are doing a fantastic job of bringing the ship safely to port and have gotten little sleep the past couple of days.

Don Stephens
Mercy Ships

Wednesday, January 05, 2005

Caribbean Mercy Situation

The Caribbean Mercy was adrift due to engine problems, but is now under way at approximately 2 ½ knots, making way for Cozumel, Mexico. Her estimated time of arrival at the current rate of speed is approximately late evening tomorrow -- Wednesday, January 6th. It is unknown at this time if a fouled propeller or else the engine’s turbo-charger is the cause of the engine problems. The weather conditions at this time prohibit a diver from checking on the propeller. Current plans call for the Mercy Ship to continue underway at this reduced speed to Cozumel as long as she continues to hold out but contingency plans are being made in the event she will need assistance. Please keep this situation in your prayers and we will send out an update periodically as to the ongoing status. Thank you.

Don Stephens
Mercy Ships

We're underway again ... slowly 2.9 knots! Posted by Hello

We are underway, again!

Praise the Lord! We are once again underway! We're going at about 2.5 knots!Please continue to pray for us and for our technical crew! God has been amazing in that the peace on the ship has been incredible and everyone is praying and lifting each other up in prayer!

We appreciate all who are supporting us in prayer! Thank you so much and we'll keep you updated on our status!

God is amazing!

Drifting for 30 hours! Posted by Hello