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Saturday, June 30, 2007

[http://mercywatch] Transition Time is almost over! Surgeries will soon begin!

Mercy Watch

Hello Friends,

Just a note of explanation...we wrote this newsletter a week ago....but couldn't send it out till now...so the timing is a bit off.

We’ve now been in Monrovia, Liberia for a little over a month. There has been much activity amongst the crew, as we’ve worked together to transfer equipment, furniture, offices and many crew’s homes from the Anastasis to the Africa Mercy. The picture below shows the transfer of items via a train of crew from a broad perspective. LIC0705_SHIPTRANSF_DB_140_L

The items flow off the ship on the right side (the Anastasis) down one of the gangways through the tents (for safety reasons – note the forklift on the dock moving heavier gear). And then up the gangway to the ship on the left (the Africa Mercy).

Items going off the Anastasis

Each box, item and piece of equipment weaves through the Anastasis to one of the gangways or to a place where a crane can take it to the dock to continue the journey to the Africa Mercy.

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Our crew formed G5 (Groups of 5) teams from all departments which worked tirelessly for 3 weeks to complete the transfer of everything actually one full week ahead of schedule!

G5 teams moving boxes on the Dock!

As each item reached the dock, it must be carried or moved to the gangway or to the crane of the Africa Mercy and then up the gangway or to deck 8!

Going up the gangway to the Africa Mercy with Boxes during Transition

Once each item reaches the, the teams must then ensure it goes to the proper deck and is placed in a cabin, office or in the hospital on deck 3! So again, the items weave their way to their proper place.

Items going down the staircase on the Africa Mercy

The planning and implementing of this massive project was nearly flawless. This has been an amazing process and God has blessed us greatly by holding off the rains of the rainy season here! In fact, there was only one day cancelled due to rain! We have had rains but mainly at night or after the day’s work! God is so faithful!

More boxes in the Hospital Ward!

So....the boxes and all are on the right ship....now to unload and setup! In the midst of all the moving and transferring, there have been many last and many first events for the crew.

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This is a picture of one of the two eye surgery operating rooms…ready for surgery on 25 June 2007!

Monday, June 25th, the first surgeries are scheduled onboard the Africa Mercy. The theme would seem to be first and last, and at this time there seem to be many in our lives, perhaps they are in yours too.

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We’ve held the last community meeting aboard the Anastasis on aft deck (with Don and Deyon Stephens speaking and had the last dinner. 088

We’ve had the first meal and first community meeting aboard the Africa Mercy. The Anastasis is now scheduled to set sail on Friday, June 29th to her final destination. And we had a surprise party for our 34th Anniversary! Thanks to all who send ecards a emails! It was a Huge blessing to us!

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As sometimes there are lots of changes going on, we look for the familiar…the smile of a child in the morning as they greet you at breakfast, the dining room staff being so faithful in their duties…the soft touch of a friend’s hand and a knowing smile…the sweet melody of conversations as the crew prepares for another day….checking email or a snail mail call and a special one is there from a friend or family member…or back to the cabin and a phone call or message! Even in the midst of change there is the familiar.

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We had reunion of Caribbean Mercy crew on pool deck of the Anastasis. It was so good to get together and connect with our crewmates! The Caribbean Mercy was a very special place and we were privileged to be a part of the crew there! Now we are getting to know our new crewmates that have come over from the Anastasis and building special relationships here as well. We are so privileged to be a part of the Africa Mercy crew!

We’ve changed from our familiar Park Methodist Church family that loved and supported us in Jarrow, England for the past year and a half. We’ve changed from our weekly routine of visiting with Jean Taylor and sharing her loving home and garden, peaceful company and service with her to local churches. We miss the smile and warmth of our many friends at Park Methodist, our time with the girls in the Jarrow Girl’s Brigade and friends at the shipyard in Hebburn. We miss making new friends in Blyth and the friends we made there. We miss the walks we’d take to the market, or just rambling about town and the shipyard that became a familiar place to us. Even the small flat we shared with several crew for a year has pleasant memories.

We struggle with desires to reconnect with our loved ones and friends in the US. We miss attending our home church of Lakeshore United Methodist Church. We long to get emails, a phone call or letter from our family and friends. As we receive each one…it brightens our day! It seems the Lord knows just when we need a bit more encouragement! Thank you for listening to Him and all that each of you are too us!

When we were there in England we longed to be sailing away to Africa. Now we are in Africa, things aren’t familiar, and some of the familiar is changing as the crew settles in and we find ourselves in the midst of living with more crew. Our crew has grown in the past month from just about 100 to over 300 and more coming several times a week. As we begin our field service to Liberia, the crew will build to over 400! This is what we have been praying for and looking forward to and the field service is just about to begin! Praise the Lord!

098 New crew arriving in reception!

We thank God that He forgives and gives us grace when we may be confused a little or anxious in an indecision as we learn new ways to do old things. As we learn to work with new systems in new places and with new crew members, we can easily long for the familiar. Or is this just another way of saying…”slow the change down…. I’m not keeping up” or “would someone give me the play sheet please?”

In the middle of all of this we find ourselves focusing on our “job” because there is much to be done and seemingly little time to get it done. Prayer and quiet time can become a luxury we don’t afford ourselves, because after a long hard day at our “jobs”…. we’re tired.

Denise has had to help remind me of our focus. Seek God and trust Him to direct our paths. Commit ourselves to our Lord, Jesus Christ and allow Him to strengthen us. In our own strength, we will fail. We need the power of the Holy Spirit in us to empower us.

This past Thursday morning (21 June), the technical departments met together in the International Lounge for devotion at 0745 to start our day with the right focus. During this time we watched part of a video. In brief, the story was of a man who had dreams. Before he could realize many of those dreams, he contracted polio and was paralyzed. Now many of his dreams seemed impossible to fulfill. As the video played out, he testified to God’s healing power in his life. He was able to realize his dreams, and to continue to dream with God’s help.

So, I have been reflecting on some of my dreams and some of the dreams Denise and I share together. I’ve reflected on the dream we have to share God’s word, with His people. To be a witness for Him and to testify to the hope that is within us. We are thankful for the opportunities God has given us and in the midst of change, there is the familiar. The familiar word of God, encouraging us, comforting us, inspiring us, teaching us, strengthening us, guiding us, equipping us, and always stretching us.

We pray today, that as you experience the changes in your life, as you are faced with “first and last”, that you will find comfort and strength in God’s word and with His people. We thank God for you and all that you are to us!

God’s abundant blessings to you,

Rob and Denise

Hebrews 6:10-12 and Hebrews 10:36-39

Contact information for us (Hint…please email, write or call! We love to hear from you ):

denise.miller@mercyships.org or robert.miller@mercyships.org

http://mercywatch.blogspot.com (for up to date info of what’s going on in our lives and those we serve)

Phone: US number – 954 538-6110 ext. 4423 (our cabin), 1002 (Denise’s office), 1215 (Rob’s office) We are GMT…4 hours ahead of EST and 5 hours ahead of CST

US Post:

Rob and Denise Miller

Africa Mercy

PO Box 2020

Lindale, TX 75771

UK and Europe Post:

Rob and Denise Miller

Africa Mercy, Mercy Ships Holland
Strevelsweg 700/317
3083 AS Rotterdam

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