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Sunday, January 29, 2006

Prayer Requests and Praises

1. Praise!!! Denise was able to invite three of the five receptionists that she will be serving with to come join the Africa Mercy crew on the weekend of March 11th! Please pray for them as they prepare to join us. They are Helen, from Canada; Penny from South Africa; and Rachel from the UK! We will have a training class the first week they are here and then prepare to sail to London on April 3rd!

2. Financial Support - we are nearing...but not quite fully funded for our next season on the Africa Mercy! We have some financial needs to prepare for our cabin and jobs...uniforms, chair, TV, Linen, kettle, transformer (we need to replace the 110 voltage with 220 voltage UK). Please pray that God will supply our needs financially!

Praises - Thank you for the gifts while we were visiting the East Coast prior to coming over to England. We have paid for the flight over and are up to date with our crew fees for the ship, and rent for the last month in Texas. In January, we will still have some utilities and medical bills to pay.

3. Transportation - Please pray for Rob as he is driving a big mini bus here in England to transport some of the technical crew to and from work. The Land Rovers and a few other cars are available to sign out for short periods of time.

Praises: So far...driving has not been necessary for personal use and the Metro train and bus are convenient and easy to use. We are also getting good exercise walking to the grocery store, shops and church, just a brisk 5-10 minute walk from our flat.

4. Housing - Not yet on the ship. Please pray that all the crew will be able to move on the ship in April 2006, if not before! It is very expensive for the ministry to house crew in flats off the ship. So the crew has been limited to only those with technical positions ... to prepare and finish the ship.

Praises: We have picked our cabin...4423 and our fellow crewmembers are currently picking theirs, too! We are privileged to be here as a part of the predeployment crew. We are living in a lovely flat with the Transportation Manager, Andy. We know that the Lord wants us here in England and He has mightly provided for us here! Praise the Lord and give Him the Glory!5. God's guidance for the work we'll be doing in planning for the future ministry of the Africa Mercy and for our outreach in Ghana, West Africa in the spring!

Praises: The advance team to Ghana and the assessment team to Liberia (our next field assignment after 10 months in Ghana) leave in February! The tickets were purchased last week- January 26!

The Lord has given us our hearts desire to join the crew in England before sea trials! We have much yet to learn about serving with the Africa Mercy.....we will keep you updated with the news as it progresses.

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Kathy going onto the ship for the 1st time!

January 2006 096, originally uploaded by MercyWatch.

Kathy arrived safely at the Africa Mercy!

January 2006 095, originally uploaded by MercyWatch.

Kathy and Rob in front of the Africa Mercy! Kathy arrived late on January 24th about 9:15pm. She came in on the 25th to fill out her paperwork, go to the safety briefing for the Shipyard and see the ship! We're glad to have her here!

Denise in Reception - January 25th

January 2006 098, originally uploaded by MercyWatch.

Rob came rushing over to the Business Office to tell me that the Shipyard workers were cleaning up the reception area! Nothing much had changed in the looks of reception for just over a month, but they had been working all over the ship in many other areas!

So today, it doesn't look much different from the photo..but they took a lot of parts that they had stored in the reception area and moved them to where they were installing them and it opened up the reception area quite a bit.

The shipyard has added a sign in the reception area to indicate the number of days left before completion and it is in the post below.

The Shipyard's Project Status sign

January 2006 097, originally uploaded by MercyWatch.

A&P Shipyard put this sign in the reception area of the Africa Mercy this week. Monday, January 30th will be 60 Days! We pray that this is an incouragement to the shipyard workers as they see the number of spaces complete increase!

Africa Mercy on Outreach (Drawing)

Africa Mercy large drawing, originally uploaded by MercyWatch.

This is a conceptual drawing of the Africa Mercy in a West African Port. The Africa Mercy plans to be in Tema, Ghana in May 2006.

Greetings Crew,

Thought you might like to know the story behind the picture of the AFM. This picture was painted by a local artist for the A&P Shipyard. They regularly have this done for their 'big' customers, and once the ship is completed, they hand the picture over to the ship, keeping a copy on display in their Main Office. The artist was instructed to 'imagine' the ship in operation, which is why you see a developing nation background.

The handing over of this picture is something I have dreamed of since I was first made aware of it almost 3 years ago. That will truly be a day to celebrate!

Ken Berry
Executive Director
M/V Africa Mercy

The big day to celebrate is currently planned for March 31st, 2006! The A&P shipyard has placed a sign in the Reception area of the ship to encourage the shipyard workers and us!

David and Karen

January 2006 051, originally uploaded by MercyWatch.

We enjoyed meeting and serving with David and Karen, a couple from Norway. They came to translate the original Danish engineering manuals into English for us. They were here for 10 days, this time, and have come regularly each year for several years(except last year) for a short while to get this job completed. They are originally from the US, but have lived the last 30 years in Norway. Karen's family is Norwegian, as was my Mom. David served mainly on the ship with Rob and Karen served in the Business Centre as she recently had knee surgery. We appreciate their faithfulness in helping to get the job done so the ship can sail to Africa to serve the poor and needy! We hope to see them in Ghana next year!

Monday, January 23, 2006

Africa Mercy Tour - Part 2

Hello, Friends!
We heard from many of you and that you enjoyed to tour of the we thought we’d continue on the tour, today. But first....we have to tell you our exciting news! We were able to pick our is 4423! It’s on deck 4 and just down the stairs from the Dining Room. It is easy to find and this is the main reason that we chose it! Again, God has blessed us so much!

Many crew have picked cabins before (and we are holding ours loosely) and have had to re-pick due to the tenure, seniority and length of service of other crew (including us) coming after them. So we feel very blessed to be a part of the crew on the ship and now selecting what will probably be our future home for years to come! Most of the cabins for couples are basically the really it doesn’t much matter which one, but since we were given the opportunity to pick...we picked this one so Rob would be able to find it easily after a long...hard day! When the full crew gets onboard and there is a maze of cabin doors down the hall.....we don’t want Rob going in the wrong one! Actually, he hasn’t gotten lost on the ship....but the ship is very big and his nickname is still "wrong way Rob"! As the ship keeps changing daily...Rob has to keep finding new landmarks! Once all the scaffolding comes should be easier to find your way around. Here’s a picture of us in the new cabin on Saturday...the day we selected it!

January 2006 078

All the ceiling panels are stacked up behind us and just awaiting the inspections before being installed. We have a window and a bathroom! Yeah! …Of course most of the couple cabins have a window and also all the cabins have a bathroom! The cabin is 22 square meters or about 66 square feet. We are standing by the wardrobes and the beds will go in behind us. Our understanding is that there will be two twin beds that we can push together …. So a King size bed! Wow! Note: Rob's new jacket! He loves it! You can’t miss him! Connected to the wardrobe on Rob's side is a small desk and shelves and drawers. I’ll load some more pictures out on The ceiling is not yet in but it is a hanging ceiling and it will be just about 4-5 inches above our heads…just above the wardrobe tops. The window is just about centered in the cabin and the door is just about straight ahead of me. We are standing about halfway into the cabin nearer to the back. There is a sink and cupboard on the wall that is in front of where Rob is standing. The bathroom is behind the sink…just as you come in the cabin to the left. We hope this helps you get a feel of what’s going on!

OOPs - I thought I hit Preview.... Africa Mercy - Part 2 Rob and Denise Miller Jan 23 2006 05:24PM Hello, Friends!
I'm sorry for the last email...we were still working on it and editing it it may be a bit wordy! I thought we hit thing I knew it said posted successfully! OOPs! can see we are excited about our home to be! To continue the tour...

January 2006 010

Rob taking a peek at the carpet for the cabins! It's a pretty blue with a beige speck in it. Of course...I like it's blue (my favorite)!
OK...let's go down to Deck 3...the hospital! Some of the equipment has been installed.. here are some of the autoclaves (sterilizers). These pictures were taken in December and this equipment is now unwrapped and installed.

December 2005 051 December 2005 049
The view looking down the hospital corridor... hasn't changed a lot recently, but they've been putting in the sinks and electrical panels in the wards.

December 2005 048

And when you think that this was just a huge empty open bay for railcars! The ceiling...was not even there (there was no deck 4 at all just open to below for the railcars). WoW! It's changed ALOT!!! And it won't be too long and this corridor will be busy with Doctors, nurses and PATIENTS who would never be able to go to a hospital that can transform their lives!

Rob and I had duty on a Saturday a couple weeks ago and he took me ALL over the ship for our rounds. Our first round took 4 hours..I saw every nook and cranny on the ship!!! A round usually takes about an hour to walk up and down all the corridors (inside and outside on the decks) and see if you see, hear or smell any thing that doesn't seem right. So I hadn't been on the ship much and was not very familiar with he showed me all around!

It's getting late we'll say Cheers! to you and leave you with a picture of Rob (my favorite subject!) sitting in one of his favorite spots up on deck 7 overlooking the Tyne River!

January 2006 015

And me with our friend, Jim Peeler, from Atlanta...just stopping by for a couple hours to see the Africa Mercy! He and his wife were in London and he came up to the Northeast for the day! Janet...stayed in London to shop!
January 2006 041

We are encouraged by the great responses that we have been getting from these brief newsletters with we will try to keep them coming! Thank you so much for your encouragements!! This past week we have had some internet problems and have been unable to upload many new pictures...but we'll keep trying and in the next letter we'll have some more recent pictures of the ship!

We pray that God will bless you abundantly as you seek Him more and more this new year! "Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful. Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom and as you sing psalms, hymns and spiritual songs with gratitude in your hearts to God. And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him. " Colossians 3:15-17

God's blessings,
Denise and Rob
Mercy Ships, M/V Africa Mercy

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Jim and Denise

January 2006 041, originally uploaded by MercyWatch.

We had a surprise visit from a friend of ours and Mercy Ships that came to the Caribbean Mercy almost a year ago! Jim was in London with his wife, Janet and decided to stop by to visit the Africa Mercy! He was only able to stay a few short hours, take a tour, take Alberta and I to lunch and then go back to London! It was great to see Jim again! He also served on the Anastasis during her last shipyard in South Africa. Jim is a consultant and fits in time with Mercy Ships whenever he can! He works with the ShipMate program, with sponsoring crew, has taken the Introduction to Mercy Ships class and the Basic Safety Training! We look forward to seeing him again soon!


January 2006 008, originally uploaded by MercyWatch.

We recently had a man named Mario come to work on the ship for a few weeks! Mario is from Italy and doesn't speak alot of English, but enough to be able to be understood and to understand others usually! One thing we learned from Mario is persistence and patience! He first applied to Mercy Ships 20 years ago. At that time it didn't work out that he could come, but he kept Mercy Ships in his heart and desired to come to help others! This was his second trip to work for a few weeks. The last time was a year ago and his english has improved and he desires to come back again, hopefully in Ghana! Mario has a HUGE heart and blessed us greatly! We look forward to seeing him in Ghana! May God abundantly bless you and your family in Italy for your faithfulness, Mario!

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Load Tests

Load Tests, originally uploaded by UseUsLord.

The white trailer is a load tester which placed a full+ load on our generators for the first time in 7 years. We passed the test all systems GO!

Saturday, January 14, 2006

We are so privileged to be here! (Africa Mercy Tour - Part 1)

Hello, Friends! We are at the library here in Jarrow to give you a bit of an update on how the ship is progressing! It is so wonderful to be able to share pictures with you through an email! We received many favorable responses to our first posting with pictures! We are so excited to get so many responses...what an encouragement! It is like going to your mailbox and it's full of letters from your friends and family! Thank you so much!

To help put these pictures in perspective...imagine building a new home and you watch it from the groundbreaking....the pouring of the foundation....installation of the electrical and plumbing...when the home is 80% complete, you would be full of excitement as it nears completion! If on the other hand you first view it at 80% think....there is a lot to do yet. Well, we came in at the 80%, however...God has given us the view as though looking at the ship from the first beginning stages. Having been through several shipyard phases with the Caribbean Mercy, we've seen how it can all come together quickly! So we share these pictures with you to help you see the coming together of God's tool and blessing to Africa! ... our ship the Africa Mercy! It is incredible!!! We hope you'll enjoy seeing these pictures! So, come on up the gangway with Rob! Be careful as the gangway is a bit steeper in the afternoons as the tide comes in!

December 2005 047

Denise will welcome you into the ship from reception ...this is where she'll be serving once the ship is operational. For now she is working in Accounting at the business office just a short ways from the ship. Be sure to have on your hard hat and your steel toed shoes as this is a requirement for entry onto the ship while in shipyard.

December 2005 059

Right now some of the equipment to be installed is being staged here. Just to the right of where Denise is standing is a TV screen with the Mercy Ships videos being played .. this helps give understanding to many of the shipyard workers about how we serve in developing nations. Let's walk down the stairs in front of Denise to take a look at one of the couple's cabins!

December 2005 057

Rob is standing just inside one of the couple's cabins. Currently, the crew is selecting their cabins by a system that gives priority to the length of service, the position serving in, and length of commitment to serve on the Africa Mercy. We hope to be able to select our cabin in the next few weeks! It's an exciting time to be here! Lot's of preparations!
Let's go down to Deck 3 and see the Hospital!

December 2005 056

As you can see, the wiring, the gas lines and the ductwork is complete! The gray bracket in the foreground will support one of the large Operating Room lights! The connections on the gas lines have just completed their testings and soon the suspended ceiling will be put in.

December 2005 060

The ceiling panels are all ready to go in their proper time! This is one of the 20 person bed wards. The boxes in this picture held the operating room mounts and Rob was able to use these boxes to ship out the pistons for one of the engine's spare parts to be reconditioned in Rotterdam.

If you cannot view these pictures in this email ... you can go to and see them. We'll show more progress and future pictures in upcoming newsletters. Things are happening quickly here on the ship and in just 76 days we'll take possession of the ship from the shipyard! We look forward to sharing these exciting days with you!

Please write to us and let us know about you and what is going on in your life! We miss you and appreciate all your care, support, encouragement and love!

God's blessings,
Denise and Rob
Mercy Ships, M/V Africa and

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

Happy New Year Greetings from Rob and Denise at the Africa Mercy!

Happy New Year! We are enjoying our time in Northeast England in Tyne & Wear! We pray that you will have a wonderful new year filled with God's blessings!
Rob and Denise at the Africa Mercy!

It snowed on the 28th of December and we took this picture just outside the Africa Mercy Business Centre. Our inJesus group just added the ability to send pictures this we wanted to try it out by sending you greetings! We've not been able to get this to work from our flat, yet. We'll work on that and write some more soon... Please let us know if you have any difficulty receiving this message or can't see the picture. Thanks!

May God bless you abundantly as you trust in Him more and more in this New Year!

God's blessings,
Rob and Denise
Mercy Ships, M/V Africa Mercy

Monday, January 09, 2006

Tuesday, January 03, 2006

The Cabin Furniture is coming!

There she goes, originally uploaded by UseUsLord.

The furniture is being loaded onto the ship!

Checking the furniture ready to go aboard!

Susan, our Crew Services Manager, is checking the furniture for damage prior to putting it onto the ship!

Africa Mercy Furniture

AFM Furniture, originally uploaded by UseUsLord.

These boxes are the wardrobes (clothes closets) for the cabins prior to placement on the ship.

Sunday, January 01, 2006

Marceline and Lineke

Marceline and Lineke, originally uploaded by MercyWatch.

Marceline and Lineke, both from the Netherlands, on the Flag Landing of the Caribbean Mercy. December 2004

In memory of a dear friend, Marceline Goedegebuure

Just today...we received sad news of our friend... We will miss you, Marceline! We were blessed to know you and will cherish that! We are rejoicing for you as you enter your eternal home and see Jesus face to face as He speaks the words "Well done, Good and Faithful Servant!"

Dear AFM Crew,

It is with great sadness that I bring you news of the death of a faithful member of our Mercy Ships family. Marceline Goedegebuure has since the 24th November been sailing as an Engineering Officer on the M.S. Prinsendam of the Holland America Line. All we know at this time is that when she failed to show up for her scheduled watch on the 30th of Dec, shipmates located her in her cabin, hardly breathing. Attempts to keep her alive failed.

Marceline has served with Mercy Ships for extended periods of time since completing her DTS on the Anastasis, both as a Deck Officer and as an Engineering Officer on the Anastasis and the Caribbean Mercy, and as a Deck Officer on the Africa Mercy. Her most recent assignment was as Chief Officer of the Caribbean Mercy on the difficult sail from Honduras. Tim Tretheway who served as Master on that voyage, gave Marceline very high marks for her leadership, initiative and great seamanship abilities. Beyond her wide ranging technical skills, Marceline brought a sweet and gentle spirit to the shipboard community that expressed itself in care for individual crew members, small group activities and community worship. She will be sorely missed.

Please lift up to the Lord, her family and all those who knew and loved her, during this difficult time of grief. And rejoice that when the last trumpet calls, Marceline will rise in victory over this untimely death. II Cor 15: 50-56.

Ken (Berry)
(Executive Director, Africa Mercy)