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

MercyWatch. Get yours at

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Where are we?

Location 19 Feb
Originally uploaded by MercyWatch.
We are headed to Sierra Leone and currently we are in the Atlantic Ocean well off the coast of Angola! I'm thinking that we will soon be as far into the Ocean as this ship has ever sailed! We are having a wonderful smooth sail and most of the crew are really enjoying it! Last night they played sock golf and Friday night was Karaoke in the cafe! Thanks for all your prayers!

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Water, Water, Everywhere

Hello Friends,

We are sailing on the Africa Mercy en route to Freetown, Sierra Leone.  This simple statement seems totally lacking in describing what has transpired to arrive at this point. Since September of 2010 actually for a period of five months and ten days the Africa Mercy underwent a major renovation project in the Southern African Shipyard in Durban, South Africa.   The picture below was taken by a plane as we were sailing out of Durban down the narrow channel in the port.

Africa Mercy and Durban

During this project the four original Frichs Auxiliary Generators were removed along with two of the original MAN B&W Alpha engines that had previously been converted to Harbor Generators and both of the Sabroe Air Conditioning plants used for cooling decks 2,5,6 and 7.

Out with the old and in with the new…four new MAN Diesel Generators, two new Carrier Air conditioning units and associated controls, new wiring in excess of 7 kilometers was installed.

This list is by no means complete but just gives you a general idea that a very complicated and difficult project phase has been completed successfully by God’s grace. 

Cabling Project

Denise’s thoughts: Just imagine how many cables are connected to your desktop computer….if you get a new one and disconnect all those cables and put in a new one and connect the new ones … usually Rob and I would both do this one on top of the desk and one of us below.  Dropping down cables to connect and wiggling them to be sure we have the right one!  So that in your mind.  Think hundreds of cables snaked through the deck heads and walls from the bridge on Deck 7 to the control panel on Deck 2 and to the new Generators and A/C units on Deck 1!  Back to the computer – one mismatched cable….it doesn’t work quite right!  This doesn’t even try to explain all the piping work!  We are so amazed that all the testing is completed successfully and we are on our way! This has been an incredible project!   Thank you so much to the technical team and project team and contractors!  And especially to God who gets all the Glory! 

Here is a link to a video that we took on our last Sunday at the church we attended while in South Africa (Northside Church) ----> Monkeys

Back to Rob….

Denise and Rob with Cape Town in the distance

We had a short 24 hour stop in Cape Town to fuel up the ship, drop off contracted crew and give the crew a short time to explore and rest (?).

Here is a link to a video of some seals playing in the harbor as we approached Cape Town ---->  Seals

For those of you interested…. a link to Photos from our 24 hours of Cape Town is here--> 24 hours)

Table Mountain and the CapeTown Hop On Hop Off Bus

Most of the crew went out exploring and we decided to go to Hout Bay, a fishing village on the other side of the Cape Peninsula.  We took the Blue Line Hop on Hop off bus, so we also were able to see around the town and up the coast back to Cape Town. 

The fishing boats at Hout Bay, South Africa

Denise and I are excited as we draw nearer and nearer to Freetown, Sierra Leone where we will serve for the next ten months. Since our last field service in Togo we both have changed jobs. Denise in her new role as Mercy Ministries Coordinator will be coordinating teams of crew as we partner with local ministries to come alongside them and bless them by showing love and deeds that can be done on our crew’s off time.  These partners could possibly include Prison Fellowship, Pastors, Homes for the Elderly, Children, Physically and Mentally Challenged, Schools, Hospitals, etc.  Rob’s new role is supporting the team in the Stewards Department as the Stores Manager ordering and keeping track of our “Food” and other necessary items.  We look forward to serving in these new ways!

The picture below is of the Africa Mercy as we leave Cape Town, next stop Freetown, Sierra Leone!  It’s exciting to be on our way and in a little over a week … we should be there!! 

AFM Leaves Cape Town

We are excited to be reunited all together again as crew onboard as we sail to Freetown, Sierra Leone.  During the season at Appelsbosch and in the shipyard God has brought our community even closer together.

As we’ve gone through challenges together, uncertainties as to schedules, learning new tasks, working outside of our normal area of responsibilities, we’ve become more humble, more adaptable and certainly we have learned to trust God even more and to rely on Him and not ourselves.  God has blessed us abundantly as we serve Him!  He is so faithful!

We thank you for standing with us during this season with your prayers, letters, emails and financial support; we are grateful and humbled by your faithfulness.

Our prayer for you is  - May your life be as wonderful as it was in the mind of God the day He made you!  We look forward to all God has planned for us in Sierra Leone!

God’s blessings,

Rob and Denise

currently sailing off the coast of Angola in the South Atlantic