Thursday, October 27, 2005
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. firstname.lastname@example.org
Saturday, October 22, 2005
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!
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
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 us...to 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)