Please have a look at our photo site by clicking on any picture below:

MercyWatch. Get yours at

Sunday, September 30, 2007

Stories to Share

Mercy Watch
Subscribe Unsubscribe Change E-mail View Archive

September 2007

Hello Friends,

We would like to thank you for the opportunity each month to share with you a little of what is happening in our lives aboard the Mercy Ships’ Africa Mercy and in general here in Liberia. This month has seemed to go by rather quickly. We are including pictures taken by our Communication’s Department as well as some of our own. LIC0707_MEDXRAYJSAIH_SARGENT02A_DB_LOWe are asked while here to limit our picture taking … so the Communication’s Department shares pictures with the crew. We thank them for allowing us to share these to help tell the stories of what Mercy Ships is doing here in Liberia and how God is working here through us!

This first picture is of the young girl we told you about last time…she seems to walk sideways as she walks…amazing that she can walk. We look forward to sharing an after picture with you later! There has been much activity onboard and off ship in many different areas. We’ll try and give to a brief update of some of these ministries:

Eye Surgeries continue and two operating theatres are dedicated to continuing them. LIC0707_SIGHTDAY_EB309_LWe had another Celebration of Sight, recently. During the Celebration of Sight, the eye surgery patients return to the ship for possible laser treatment, if needed, to prevent the re-occurrence of the cataract. 100 patients were invited to come participate in this day of celebration and they may bring a family member or friend to accompany them. This is the second Celebration of Sight since our arrival in May. This picture is one taken at the first Celebration of Sight. Denise was able to help serve the patients after they had their treatments. They were given a Bible before they went home.

DSC_9735Reconstructive Surgeries - Plastics and Maxillofacial surgeries have begun a few weeks ago with Dr. Gary, Dr. Terius and Dr. Tony’s return to the Africa Mercy. These surgeries include tumor removals, cleft-lip and palate repairs, burn scar contracture releases and to correct complications of injury or infection. These patients receive counseling to help them cope and heal from emotional scars and also rehabilitation in physical and occupational therapy as needed.

Orthopedics have finished their 2nd group of surgeries on the Africa Mercy and the rehabilitation team continues physical and occupational therapies both on the ship and in the patient’s homes.LIC0707_MEDORTH_0806B_MENKOAH_DB60_LO This picture is of Benedict coming down the gangway after screening and before his surgery on his right foot. He was born with club feet. He has learned to walk using his feet as best he can. It is so amazing to see how the Liberians adjust to their limitations and press through even in the face of great pain and suffering! The surgery on his right foot was successful and he will be brought to Sierra Leone next year for surgery on his left foot as well. LIC0707_MEDORTH_0806B_MENKOAH_DB41_LOWe are so blessed in developed nations to be able to go to the doctor and have these conditions fixed as soon as possible where our children will not need to suffer for years or possibly their entire lives with a condition that is so readily fixed with surgery.

A Palliative Care team goes to visit and help those terminally ill that were unable to receive surgeries to help them and show the love of Christ to those suffering and their families. Some of these patients have wounds that need to be dressed and cleaned weekly or even more often. The palliative care team helps the family care for the terminally ill and then continues to visit and care for the family after the patient has passed on.

The Church Empowerment team heads up the Mercy Ministries for the crew to get involved with various ministries such as orphanages, disabled homes, prison ministry, the local pediatric hospital, etc. They also oversee the relationships with various churches and hold a pastor’s conference in October. A follow-up on the previous Pastor and Church Leader’s conference held earlier in the year in Buchannan, Liberia was held this past month and was well received with many of the pastors continuing to meet together and bring unity across denominational barriers.

LIC0706_MEDVVF0701_JCHEA_DB21_LO VVF surgeries have been put on hold for now. The VVF wards are now being used for the other surgery patients. The VVF surgeries will continue in October for 3 more weeks. These 2 pictures shows you the women in the ward recovering from their surgeries and then just before they go home to their villages, the Dress Ceremony! The Dress Ceremony is a celebration of their new lives without constantly leaking urine and usually acceptance back into their communities. These ladies stay on the ship recovering for at least 2 weeks and many have not been in an environment where love is shown to them unconditionally. You may notice the handmade crocheted Teddy Bears....some of these are the ones some of you made! Thank you so much!!! Almost 100 VVF surgeries have been performed since we began the end of June! LIC0707_MED0700A_1STVVFDRESS_DB23_LO

Adopt-a-Patient – We have adopted another patient and his father, Christian and Anthony. Christian is a 7 year old boy and his dad is his caregiver, staying with him and sleeping under Christian’s bed in the ward. They are from Grand Bassa, Liberia and walked 3 days to come for the surgery appointment for Christian’s foot. Christian was about a year old when he stepped into a pot of boiling water on the fire. His Dad said he thought it was a bath. Christian’s right foot was severely burned and as it healed the skin constricted, limiting the movement and also deforming his foot. Christian had to walk on the outside of his right foot and his little toe was completely covered in scar tissue, making it look like a knuckle.

Anthony asked us the first day, if the Doctor would be able to make a toe again for Christian. We explained that the Doctor would do everything possible to make Christian’s foot functional and normal looking, but we didn’t know if he’d be able to make a toe!

After the surgery, we talked with the Doctor and he was able to give Christian back his toe! We have found the parents here in Liberia to be so much like us, caring very much for their children, wanting the best for them, proud of them as they do their schoolwork, so happy when you take the time to say what a beautiful child they have and they even want to be able to count all their fingers and toes! Anthony told us that he cried when the accident happened and he is so happy that we are able to help Christian.

015Dental clinic continues to serve the Liberian people, who have no dentist to help them. Throughout the field service 3-4 dentists are daily pulling, filling and restoring teeth! Basic dental education, opportunities for prayer and salvation are also offered through the dental clinic and the counselor on site with the team. Denise was privileged to go to the clinic to serve as a dental sterilizer for a day this past month!

Jesus Film – three times a week a team and crew members go out into the villages to set up and show the Jesus Film. About 15-20 crew members set up the screen, generator and equipment, play with the kids, talk to the villagers and then show the movie.Jesus Movie After the movie, a time of prayer and an opportunity to ask Jesus into your heart is given. The crew enjoy meeting with the people and sharing one on one with them.

So as you can see from a small glimpse into the life both on and off the ship, you are having a huge impact upon the lives of the people of Liberia. God is doing incredible things here!

Recently, we were discussing some of the items we wanted to include in this month’s newsletter and thought we’d take this opportunity to look back over the past five years, as it is this month that we celebrate five years of service with Mercy Ships, so a little chronological recap.

The CDTS team at Old Leon

We started with Mercy by attending a three month Crossroads Class at Mercy Ships International Operations Center in Texas and our class outreach in Nicaragua. This picture is of our class in 2002 when we were in Nicaragua. Yes, that is a volcano in the background!

Just this past week, we were able to have dinner with two of our classmates Don Wolven and Marleene Keefler. Don was here as the Company Safety and Security Officer to help us prepare for an audit that we will have later in the year with our insurer, Lloyd’s of London. Marleene is here on the ship with us and serves as the Technical Administrator for Deck and Engineering Departments.

004One week after we graduated from our Crossroads Discipleship Training School (CDTS), we were crew on the Caribbean Mercy. We were privileged to serve in Engineering and Human Resources. In June of 2005, Mercy Ships laid the Caribbean Mercy aside and we went to the International Operations Center (IOC) to serve for 5 months in Engineering and in Information Technology. We joined the Africa Mercy during refit in Northeast England during November 2005. During the last 5 years, we have served in 10 nations and 10 cities in the United States!

As we look back at all of the various places and people we have had the privilege to meet , serve with and serve over these past five years we are very thankful for each experience. Each person has added a little more to our lives, made wonderful memories and helped us to grow.

We could write chapters on each area and tell of the many wonderful experiences we’ve enjoyed. We’ve tried to do some of this as we’ve gone along to keep you informed. You may at times wonder how you are a part of all of this…simply… you carry us in your hearts and we carry you in ours. We believe that as we share love and stories with those we meet and often times you are part of God’s love tapestry (His Story) as your stories are shared with others. The stories we tell are of our continued journey in following Jesus, and how each of you has been part of this journey. We share different parts of His Story as they seem appropriate.


We hope that as we share with you, that this to will give you different stories to tell as God brings those needing to hear into your lives. Please send us an email, card or phone call to share a story of your lives with us! We love to hear from you! 1Peter 3:15 says “But in your hearts set apart Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give reason for the hope that you have.”

As the sun goes down here in Monrovia…the day continues in the west and so we pass our love and blessings on to you in each new day!

God’s abundant blessings,

Denise and Rob Miller

M/V Africa Mercy

Mercy Ships

No comments: