We are so excited!!! We are actually sailing en route to Monrovia, Liberia aboard the Africa Mercy.
On March 28th, we set sail on Seatrials and sailed to Blyth, England from the A&P shipyard. Our time in Blyth was very busy, loading the ship, adjusting to our new home and getting everything ready to sail and actually go to Monrovia, Liberia. We had many volunteers come to help us move boxes and empty the warehouses there to load up the ship. It was a very busy time and we all worked hard to keep on schedule. It seemed an impossible task.
When we arrived in Blyth, the ship was just barely operational. Reception, the Galley and Dining Room needed to become fully operational immediately!
We moved all the crew on board, emptied the warehouse, sorted out the offices and departments to get them running properly. Trained the non-technical crew as we prepared for the surveys and inspections that seemed never ending!
God was so faithful as we pressed in to His promises to give us rest and strength to complete the tasks. We were in a community meeting, as the Captain was still meeting with the inspectors and surveyors. Half way through the meeting the Captain came in and told us that all the certificates were issued and that we would be able to leave on time...the next morning 04 May 2007 for Rotterdam..Tenerife and Monrovia! Praise the Lord! He alone could make it possible! We appreciate all your prayers, too!
We have sailed via Rotterdam, Netherlands and had a wonderful reception hosted by the Mercy Ships Netherlands office. They were very gracious and just couldn’t seem to do enough for us. We were quite humbled by the experience.
The first part of the sail was a little bumpy as we headed through the English Channel towards the Bay of Biscay. As we entered the Bay the ride became even more of a challenge.
We arrived in Tenerife on Monday at 3:00pm. We came to refuel and the engineers were busy directly upon arrival bunkering fuel. The second day we were there, divers came to check the bottom of the ship for the surveyors. And then the next day more fuel! The crew arranged for everyone to have at least one day off while we were there! The dock was lovely and just a short walk into the town. Very nice and bustling with activity, it was just nice to walk around and enjoy the culture. Most of the crew (us included) did much walking the few days we were in Tenerife!
Denise was anxious to have a nice Spanish dinner of Arroz con Pollo or Paella as her favorite dishes are Spanish! We couldn’t get it the first night, but after a couple days of looking we found a really nice restaurant.
We were reminded many times while in Tenerife of our times spent on the Caribbean Mercy. Tenerife is a Spanish island and the latin culture of Central America is very similar as there was much Spanish influence there. There was not the poverty that we observed in Central America.
Since leaving Santa Cruz de Tenerife at 10:00am on Thursday 17 May, 2007, we have experienced a very smooth sail thus far. The waves are very calm, cloudless skies, and just a gentle rocking of the ship from port to starboard as we make our way to Monrovia, Liberia. It is very pleasant and relaxing. We are also able to work on board and get things completed before we reach Monrovia.
We ask you to be in prayer with us as we prepare for the next season God has brought us into. We are very humbled and privileged to be part of this crew; we very much look forward to the combining of our crew on the Anastasis and all of us onto the Africa Mercy. We will be one crew together on one ship! We are excited as we have just a glimpse of what God is going to do.
We are a little apprehensive as to how God will use us in Liberia. We know he’ll stretch us and take us out of our comfort zone. We know he’ll continue to prune us and mold us into his image. Along the way we just pray that there will be evidence of His presence in us. Enough where our actions may speak into the lives of those people we come into contact with. We look for the opportunities and make ourselves available. This will be our first time to Africa and we are looking forward to see what God has in His mind for us!
God's abundant blessings,
Denise and Rob
Mercy Ships, M/V Africa Mercy