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Thursday, July 27, 2006

Time for the Big Haircut for Cancer!


August 2006 001
Originally uploaded by MercyWatch.
Well....it's time to get the Haircut for Cancer! It's hot...and long enough and time for a new do! So.....

August 2006 003
Originally uploaded by MercyWatch.
Here we go! Lorah Styer has just joined the crew...and she is our flatmate! So she did the deed!

August 2006 006
Originally uploaded by MercyWatch.
Yes...it is long enough...about 12 inches! So it will be used for a natural hair wig for a lady who has lost her own due to the cancer treatments! For me...no better use for my hair! Hair with a purpose!

August 2006 010
Originally uploaded by MercyWatch.
My new do! Thanks, Lorah!!

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Ghana Field Service has begun!

Hello Friends,

We wish you Faith, Hope and Peace! This would seem a nice greeting in itself, but if left to just that, would it cause you to wonder what we actually were trying to say? You know us and know about us, so we believe you understood this greeting to mean:

May your faith in our Lord and savior Jesus Christ be strengthened each day!

May your source of hope be in Jesus and His love for you!

May you have the peace of God that surpasses all understanding each day!
June 2006 128
(This photo is from Whitley Bay on the North Sea Coast not too far from where we are here in England)

Sometimes it is easy to write and believe that you are clear in what you are writing, however, at times more of an explanation is needed.
We are excited to share with you the awesome experiences we are having. Most of these are expressed in the daily victories that we see and the challenges that lead to the victories.
We hope that by reading our letters you (our prayer warriors, financial supporters and emotional stabilizers) feel a part of our ministry and all that is happening through Mercy Ships by God’s awesome power and plan.

We are currently challenged by having received word of equipment delays which hinder the deployment of the Africa Mercy to Ghana, yet at the same time; we are encouraged by the knowledge that our fellow laborers in Jesus Christ (Anastasis Crew) are in Ghana. The screening and field service have begun!

This picture (thanks to Mercy Ships Communications Dept) is from one of the screening days in Tema, Ghana.


The challenging part sometimes is from a personal perspective versus a ministry perspective. We are challenged because we want to be on-site and directly involved with the field service to the country of Ghana first-hand. Then we are excited because as a ministry we are doing exactly that. Sometimes we have to look past ourselves and see the big picture. So in this newsletter we would like to share with you some of the challenges and victories!
Although we are still working on the completion of the Africa Mercy, the Ghana field service has not been delayed! Two days of Medical Screening took place in Tema, Ghana on Monday and Tuesday (June 26-27). There, also, was a screening in Takadori, Ghana on Friday. It is estimated that over 2,000 potential patients were lined up to see the doctors by 8:00 am on Monday morning in the extremely hot Ghanaian sun!

About half of the crew of the Anastasis (many of our crew from the Africa Mercy that went ahead to Ghana) laid aside their duties on board to help with the triage, crowd control, prayer and patient escorting during the screening days.
We’d like to share with you a letter from the eyes of a Ghanaian day worker, Esther Biney, who is serving with us in communications. Her mother and father run the Youth with a Mission (YWAM) base in Tema, Ghana and are former Mercy Shippers. Her Aunt Agnes and Uncle Joe Biney are crew members here on the Africa Mercy.

July 2006 011 Agnes and Joe Biney on the Africa Mercy.
Esther writes, "We had no idea what we were getting ourselves into. Here we were, volunteering to help our own people during a Mercy Ships medical screening. We wondered if these white people were really real.

We watched in dismay as an ever growing line of deformed souls and faces made their way towards the screening site; a place where they clearly hoped to find a safe haven, a transformed being, a new identity, a new life. These people have been abandoned by an entire nation whose values seem superficial, who appear to seek identity in physical beauty and purpose in achievement. The joy of living has been taken from their souls. They have no hope of attaining acceptance in the eyes of many. "

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We live in a country where love and respect is seen as a hindrance to a patient’s speedy recovery. It saddens us to think of the numerous nurses and doctors in our country on strike due to a lack of sufficient pay. They seem unperturbed by the results their actions have caused, leaving so many lives hanging in the balance.
Esther continues, "Our hearts rejoiced as we watched the Anastasis medical crew. From all over the world they came to touch the untouchables, seemingly oblivious to the deformities and diseased bodies. They really loved and cared for these patients as if they were their very own. "

183176722_a3dd3be1b4_o[2] Esther took this picture of a young Ghanaian girl that received an appointment card for Cleft Lip surgery.
Esther wrote, "We waited in vain to see racial boundaries prevent them from working effectively. Growing up, we were taught to believe that 'The white man is always around to take from us and never cares about the black man’s well being.' Our warped perceptions were totally shattered."

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"These people are willing to serve the needy whole heartedly at no expense. We’ll never forget this day. We’re very proud to say we volunteered as security men on screening day to be a part of God’s heart for our people.

We say thank you and may God bless you Anastasis crew. 'Ayeekooo.' Well done!"
We agree with Esther that the Anastasis crew has begun a good work in Ghana! We look forward to seeing the before and after pictures from this field service!

We have many crew here on the Africa Mercy that are from Ghana (including Joe and Agnes Biney). They have been dreaming of the day to sail into their country on the Africa Mercy and service those in need in their own country! They long to see the healing and changed lives and be there for the people...

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Just as Daniel Walls (9 years old) goes down to the ward for 30 minutes each day to visit his friend, who is recovering from the removal of a tumor on the side of his head. Most of the field service will be completed now before we are able to sail in. Please pray for our Ghanaian crew members, it is hard on all of us, but extremely hard for them as we work here and wait to sail.
There are critical pieces of equipment that we are waiting for and must be installed before we can do sea trials and testing. Please pray that these pieces of equipment are expedited to our ship and that the ship will be released from the shipyard complete.

The progress is continuing and it is exciting to see the various areas of the ship come together. The inside of the Medical Gas Container is pictured below.

medical gas container-albertawray

There is an article in the local Ghanaian paper about the work of Mercy Ships. Click here to read it.
library-albertawray

The Library shelves are in and looking great! We can't wait to see books on the shelves! They are in the warehouse waiting for the ship to sail out of the shipyard, too!
The school rooms are looking great as well. After summer is over, the children hope to be in their classrooms, but we need to be out of the shipyard for them to be able to begin school on the ship. Many, many parts of the ship are really just about ready. Please pray that the remaining critical equipment is expedited to us!


Classroom-albertawray

Well, we need to finish up this newsletter and will try to send another one in just a few weeks! We appreciate your prayers, financial support, emails and encouragement! You are a part of all of this in Ghana and also in preparing the Africa Mercy for God's service for many years to come! Thank you so much!

July 2006 012, originally uploaded by MercyWatch.

We miss you and love you! We'll close with a picture of us sitting in our cabin, our new favorite place for praying, bible study and just catching up!

May God bless you abundantly as you serve and trust in Him! For He is faithful!!! We pray you experience Faith, Hope and Peace, today and everyday!

God's blessings,
Rob and Denise Miller
Mercy Ships, Africa Mercy

Please email us at:
robert.miller@mercyships.org or denise.miller@mercyships.org

For more of the daily challenges and victories....visit: http://mercywatch.blogspot.com or
our website: www.mercywatch.com

For the Latest on Mercy Ships: www.mercyships.org

Friday, July 14, 2006

The Power of God and Prayer! PRAISE THE LORD!

If you have been praying and following this miracle for the last few days as it has been unfolding .. read on! If not, you may want to begin at the beginning which is down below on the blog...go to July 11th and read up the page. This is a testimony to God's Awesome Power and the hope we have in Him! God is a miracle worker and healer!!! Praise You, Praise You, Oh Lord!!!

Tim just forwarded this letter and the pictures from Jan!

Hello everybody,

I dont know how to call you guys: brothers, sisters, friends, family.....Words cannot describe my heart... God knows all things!

Since yesterday afternoon the tide really has start to turn and this is ONLY by the GRACE and MERCY of GOD. God has honored all the prayers around the world. I have read messages from people I dont even know, but who had similar experiences and the power of prayer was there!

I am very pleased to be able to write you that Elizabeth is back to the Pregnancy Ward of the hospital, in the High Care Unit, but she is doing much better. Isabella and Elizabeth
The wounds are still closed in her belly, and her blood pressure is normal and since yesterday morning she is back to breathing on her own. Also her mind and brain starts to work more properly as she starts to react in a way that we all know her. And that just makes me sooooo happy and blessed...

I cannot tell you what I feel...The last 4 days seem like 4 months. Last night we had Isabella brought to Elizabeth's bed and for 45 minutes Isabella enjoyed the touch of her little beautiful face which is a copy of Elizabeth, touching Elizabeth's face. It was quite emotional for Elizabeth as she was shaking and trying to hold the bottle of milk, but it gave her such a boost of energy and the will to get better! She said: I need to gain strength so I can get out of bed and sit on a chair because then I can squeeze my little Isabella in my arms!!!! I believe this was the best medicine!!!

The doctors want Elizabeth to start using her muscles again so she can look forward in one of these days to sit in bed! This morning I am going to bath Isabella for the first time!! I have got so many lovely encouraging emails, phone calls and cards etc that I cannot answer all of them personally..... at least not yet!

Jan, Elizabeth and Isabella

Tears come up as I read those encouraging words... You guys are wonderful! What a power we have in the name of Jesus!!! HIS name will be glorified through this situation.I will attach some pictures to this email and hope you can open them! May God bless each one of you as you have been and still are such a blessing to us!

With love,
Jan Tuinier
Netherlands

Thursday, July 13, 2006

PRAISE THE LORD and Please continue to PRAY!

The following information directly from Jan today.

The brain scans done yesterday afternoon have shown NO DAMAGE. The doctors are still cautious however and recovery may be very slow and/or not complete.

The bleeding has been stopped now and the drains are functioning properly.

Elizabeth's blood pressure remains high but controlled and medical staff are satisfied with their ability to control this.

Jan has been warned that it may take some time for recovery to take place, and that the danger is not yet fully past. But Jan is sure they have seen the worst now.

Please continue to pray for continued stability of her blood pressure and healing internally. Please pray for improved clarity and function of thought and memory. The situation now seems largely under control, but now it is time for improvement.

Rejoice in the answered prayers to this point.

Jan got a few hours of much need rest last night.

Jan thanks EVERYONE for the kind messages he has been receiving. He is trying to read them all, but has little time at home to do so just yet.

Jan wants everyone to know that they acknowledge that the prayers and intercessions have been the key part in this struggle and are deeply grateful. They know it is a miracle from God that Isabella is here and healthy, and that the Lord has been the One to sustain Elizabeth and guide the medical staff in their work.

We can rejoice that things are better today, and let us not ease up in our prayer support.

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Update on Elizabeth- Please continue to pray!

Additional news from Jan at 1500 UK time

Elizabeth is now breathing on her own and has occasionally been conscious. However, the doctors are now concerned about how she is reacting to questions and actions, and that there could be other problems notnecessarily due to the medications. Therefore, at the time of this message they are beginning some brain scans to look for possible damage.

No furtherinformation about this is expected before 1900 tonight, and I may not heardetails until tomorrow. Jan was able to talk with Elizabeth for about 30 minutes today, but the interaction was not very good due to Elizabeth's disorientation and the concerns mentioned above.

Jan is officially recording the birth of his daughter, as required by Dutchlaw, personally this afternoon. Baby Isabella is doing very well, and is not in an incubator and is not receiving any medications or other extraordinary care. She is "BEAUTIFUL!"according to Jan. Prayer for Elizabeth is clearly still needed. Thank you for continuing to support the Tuiniers in prayer.

A letter from Jan!

Dear friends!
Many of you have heard the great news already which I am finally able to write to you from my own hands that Elizabeth and I became parents of a very tiny but very healthy and very beautiful daughter, her names are: GRACE ISABELLA and we will call her Isabella. The name Grace is to show our thankfulness to God who is the One Who created this miracle over the last 9 months. Many of you also have been praying for Elizabeth's situation over the last couple of days.I would like to try to express our deep thankfulness for you guys as our family in Christ and I will try to explain briefly through what we went since Sunday night.

Sunday night Elizabeth started to have contractions and a very high blood pressure which resulted in her being most uncomfortable. Therefore it was decided to get the baby that same night with a C-section. I was able to be in the Operating Theatre and hold her hand while the doctors were taking the baby out! Quite an experience which I will not forget I am sure! At 2245 hrs little Isabella was born and found totally healthy although small (1940 grams) this was because during pre eclampsia often the flow of 'food' etc for the baby can be disrupted and be less. An hour later Elizabeth was sowed back together and brought back to her room. All seemed to be well. Around 3 am I was back home, trying to put my thoughts together! At 7:30 am I got a call from the hospital that I should come back asap because Elizabeth's wound had been bleeding the whole night, and she had lost a lot of blood. They found out that her blood was not stolling very well so they wanted to control her blood first before opening the wound again to clean everything inside etc.

So on Monday afternoon she went back to the operating room where they re opened the wound, cleaned everything and I am sure I am skipping things which are important for the ext part but anyway, they wanted her to stay at least one night on the IC unit of the hospital to keep a close eye on her. Her life was not in danger at that time although she was quite sick. She was awake most of the time, but very slowly reacting and could hardly talk! And we all know how much she likes to talk!! For me, it were so far the hardest days of my life and it was about to get worse. The feeling of not being able to carry her pain and to see her laying in bed like that...... I cannot describe those feelings .... And this is how we got to Tuesday morning.

After sleeping about 5 hrs at home I got another call from the hospital around 8 am and they told me to come again asap because Elizabeth had been asking for me and she had an acute pain, very hard, in her belly, and her belly started to blow grow in size. When I got to the hospital I could not believe my eyes... She looked twice as big as she had been during the end of her pregnancy. Her belly was incredible big and still growing. THe doctors wanted to know where this inner bleeding was coming from and were very much afraid for her liver. They made things not look better than they were and told me that the coming hours were going to be very difficult and scary.

We saw the reality of it and during the hour I had with Elizabeth awake we spoke together about the reality of life and dead. And of course I am the one who should have comforted her in this situation but she was just sooo peaceful and laid back in acceptance for whatever God would do with her and us , it would be good. I don't know how to write and what to write about this hour in the hospital.....we basically said good bye knowing it could very well be for the last time here on earth. Also my parents where with us in the hospital which was great.

In the meantime there were all kind of different specialists and doctors discussing what could be the cause of the inner bleeding. But time was pressing because her belly was getting incredible big and started to put her lungs in an bad position which resulted in breathing problems.Finally around 5 pm yesterday they brought Elizabeth away for her third surgery in 3 days.They opened up her belly and what else more, and found out that the liver was in great condition which was a big plus !The cause of the blood in her belly and everywhere was.......the small drain put in at the earlier surgery was inside her belly totally blocked which resulted in the blood going everywhere except out of her body!!! So the mystery was cleared! At 8 pm last night she was back at the IC room and around 9 pm I was able to see her. She was laying there so peacefull, kept asleep and a machine breathing for her to give her lungs rest. At this moment of writing she is still kept asleep and hopefully before noon today they will wake her up. All seems much better now and we know why: it is because of God in the first place Who has been asked by sooo many of you guys. What can we say?? I spoke with Tim Tretheway last night very late but was not able to express my heart how it feels to know that worldwide people love us and miss us and pray for us and specially for Elizabeth who needs it soo much.

Also Elizabeth has been a witness in this situation to many nurses and doctors and other patients. She said THANK YOU to every single painful thing they had to do to her and kept so relaxed and peaceful, and that was something many nurses could not understand!!!

And Isabella? Again, what can I say?? The feeling of holding your daughter.....it is just crazy!!!!That little beautiful life, she looks for a 100% like Elizabeth, the shape of her face, hair, except her big blue eyes which can still change of colour as they told me!I will try to keep you updated with news as days pass by, but we pray and hope and believe that a recovery is with Elizabeth!God bless you as you are a blessing to other people!!!

With love from the Netherlands,
Jan, Elizabeth and Isabella Tuinier!

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Please pray for Elizabeth, Jan and baby, Grace

From Tim Tretheway - 8.55 UK time:

Just received another call from the family with quite a bit of information:

Elizabeth, who is in a hospital in Rotterdam, Netherlands, has been awake briefly earlier today and could speak with her husband Jan and she did see the baby. This was before surgery #3. "she is at peace with the situation"

Her condition deteriorated this evening and they performed a fourth surgery which just ended. She has come through again, but is now on full lifesupport. They expect to keep her on full life support through the night, hoping for improvement.

The doctors feel the surgery was a success this time, finding what they believe was the major source of the bleeding and apparently sealing this off. They also believe they have identified the condition: HELLP Syndrome, which is associated with the pre-eclampsia and is extremely serious. The baby is doing fine, and has even been removed from the incubator.

If all remains stable, we probably won't hear anything new now for a number of hours, probably after noon UK time tomorrow.
1840 UK time

We just received another call from the family to request prayer.

Elisabeth has not improved from this morning's surgery and the bleeding has not stopped. The situation is again deemed to be very critical and Elisabeth will be having her fourth surgery tonight in a short time. The doctors will be seeking the source of the bleeding but currently do not seem to know where it may be.

Please continue to fervently pray for Elisabeth and enlist all who may join in this prayer.

More information will follow when available.

TIM TRETHEWAY

Thank to so much for your faithful prayers!

Patrik

PRAISE THE LORD!!

Tim just made the announcement over the radio that Elizabeth is out of 3rd surgery ... went well...they eliminated the source of the worst case scenario. She's doing ok...she's stable still in the ICU and in very serious state. PRAISE THE LORD!!! Please continue to pray!

Please pray for Elizabeth, Jan and baby, Grace


Hello everyone,

Jan had planned to announce personally the arrival of GRACE ISABELLA TUINIER, weighing slightly less than 4 pounds, very late Sunday night/early Monday morning. The baby is doing well and receiving great care at the hospital.

However, Elisabeth has not been doing so well and has had a second surgery on Monday. This apparently has not corrected the problem(s) and further surgery is expected this morning.

Please pray for the Tuiniers. We welcome Grace into the world and pray the Lord's greatest blessings upon her. We pray also for her mother, that there will be swift and complete healing and restoration, that she can fully enjoy the wonderful arrival of her daughter.

Tim Tretheway, Chief Officer, m/v Africa Mercy

Monday, July 10, 2006

TV Special on Mercy Ships!

TLN Original: Acts of Mercy (60 minutes)

Witness the miracles on-board Mercy Ships floating hospital. These victims of physical malformations and health issues come with hope for healing. Host Bill Kurtis

Wed. July 12 2:00 PM, 8:00 PM, 11:00 PM
Sat. July 15 3:00 PM, 7:00 PM, 10:00 PM

This show will be aired on TLN (Total Living Network) and Sky Angel. Satellite Channel number 9714.

Our new neighbor in Shipyard


Video Hosting - Upload Video - Video Sharing


Video Hosting - Upload Video - Video Sharing



Video Hosting - Upload Video - Video Sharing


Yesterday, a new ship came into the drydock next to the Africa Mercy. It is an oil drilling and refinery ship. We were on board doing our Bible Study in our new cabin! We've not moved on board yet...this probably won't happen for a few more months.

Friday, July 07, 2006

Community Meetings

The link above is for anyone with a Mercy Ships log on and password. This link takes you to our community meetings held at St. John's Church in Hebburn.

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Survival Craft Training - for Rob!


by Mike Osborne, Africa Mercy Communications Writer

Four Africa Mercy crewmembers have received official Certificates of Proficiency in Survival Craft and Rescue Boats. Crewmen Rob Miller, Alfred Apaflo, Terry Barrett and Jacinto De Jesus received the certificates after attending a weeklong course at the South Tyneside College Marine Safety Training Centre in Northeast England.
This advanced safety course provided the four men an opportunity to develop and practice the skills required to launch, maneuver and rescue using various types of lifeboats. The Africa Mercy will carry two large lifeboats capable of holding 150 persons each, as well as two smaller life boats, life rafts and fast rescue boats.

The South Tyneside College was founded in 1861 and specializes in maritime training. The college trains 8,000 students a year in subjects ranging from proper mooring technique to assisting helicopter crews in the emergency offloading of an injured crewmate. Veteran Mercy Ships Captain Al Bennett arranged for the crewmen to attend while he was serving as the vessel’s Training Officer earlier this year.

"I enjoyed the class and was particularly impressed with the professionalism and enthusiasm of the instructors," crewman Rob Miller said of the course. "They worked hard at making students aware of the life and death nature of the situations we were simulating."

For more news, click here.

The Story behind the Sterilizers - State of the Art Technology!


Among the medical supplies onboard are a number of 3M ETS (Electronic Test System) units that have been donated by 3M New Zealand which test sterilisation chambers are working correctly.

As well as donating the units, Sarah Green from 3M New Zealand in Auckland also arranged for the volunteers to receive special training, courtesy of her Loughborough-based colleague Dr. Brian Kirk, here in the UK.

“ETS has a highly accurate measurement system designed to detect potential faults in a sterilisation chamber. Among its many benefits is that the data is downloadable to a computer and can be sent electronically for further analysis. Kylie (Africa Mercy Operating Room Supervisor) never needs to worry about doing the tests all on her own, even when she is off the coast of Africa, because if there is anything she is unsure about then she can e-mail the data to me for a second opinion.” Click here for more of the story.