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Thursday, December 14, 2006

Ghana Outreach News

Due to the delays of the deployment of the Africa Mercy the outreach in Ghana has continued by using the Anastasis as it's platform. Many of you will remember the fun "christmas gift ideas" of last year that were available to purchase from the Africa Mercy to support projects in Ghana like beekeeping, mushrooms, rabbits and snails. The response from that plea was amazing and has enabled many projects to take place through our Construction & Development Services (CDS) who transferred down to Ghana in June.

The excitement started in Newcastle when a whole load of funky wellies / gumboots (...USA translation) & beekeeping clothes were donated.

Now - the training is well underway for the beekeeping side of things.

Currently 52 Ghanaian women are being trained in the art of beekeeping as part of a micro enterprise initiative for women.

They were given new bee hives and apiary tools to maintain them and of course the trendy beekeeping outfits.

The hives were placed in 13 locations throughout the region and were baited to attract the bees. We are praying that they will “bee” swarming before time! The initiative is being conducted in co-operation with the forestry commission of Ghana. They were asked to locate poor women who would benefit immediately from a source of income, who were farmers and who were willing to share with others what they had been taught. Among the trainees were 2 prison officials who will teach the skills to female inmates to provide an income on their release.

A second phase of training will be held to teach then how to harvest and market the honey and honey comb.

Yum yum, we just wish we were down there with our toast to try it out!

Saturday, November 11, 2006

Lifeboats Move on Board

Yesterday we saw a big move forward as the 150 man lifeboats were loaded onto the ship for the first time. All went well, click below to watch the video of the davits being tested and the lifeboats being loaded.

Saturday, November 04, 2006

Mercy Ships Global Day of Prayer - 3rd Nov 06

Walk out of the gates. Get going! Build the highway. Get at it! Clear the debris, hoist a flag, a signal to all peoples! - Isaiah 62:10 (The Message) The scripture above encapsulates the heart behind the Mercy Ships Global Day of Prayer. On Friday we came before our Heavenly Father and asked Him to clear the way for the Africa Mercy. Together we declared in the heavenlies that any obstacles, any debris that is trying to hinder the timely release of the Africa Mercy will be cleared in the name of Jesus. With our prayers we wanted to build the highway that will bring the Africa Mercy to the forgotten poor. All of Mercy Ships joined in a 24 hour period of continuous prayer. Staff & friends in New Zealand and Australia started off since they were awake before all the rest of us & the US West Coast concluded the day.
Of course this prayer doesn't stop on the 3rd November 2006 and we ask you to continue to hold these things up to God. Below you will see a list of the technical milestones that need to be reached in order for us to see the Africa Mercy completed by 15th December. Please use this as a focus for your prayers.
(Click here for guidance on how to structure a time of prayer.)
Yard Resonsibility 1. Heating, Ventilating & Air Conditioning (HVAC) ~~~a. Receive remaining controllers by 31-Oct-06…one delayed until Nov 21
~~~b. Complete installation of controllers by 25-Nov-06
~~~c. Testing, balancing, commissioning by 10-Dec-06…potential to take longer 2. Sewage System
~~~a. Repair/replace defective vacuum valves by 30-Nov-06…Commercial decision needs ~~~ to be made
~~~b. Transfer of sewage to treatment plant by 10-Nov-06 3. Public Address (PA) System
~~~a. Install amplifiers by 14-Nov-06… Still awaiting final approval from Class
~~~b. Test and commission system by 30-Nov-06 4. Fire Detection System
~~~a. Install/relocate 78 detector heads by 15-Nov-06…Potential issue with supplier
~~~b. Test and Commission by 30-Nov-06 5. Sprinkler System
~~~a. Identify solution to emerging problem by 1-Nov-06…Awaiting detailed ~~~calculations, looks like additional pump & tank will be necessary
~~~b. Install additional hardware by 20-Nov-06…Delivery time still unknown
~~~c. Test and commission by 30-Nov-06…Need revised plan approval back from class 6. Inclining Experiment by 28-Nov-06...Need good weather 7. Sea Trials by 7-Dec-06...All of above needs to be complete MERCY SHIPS RESPONSIBILITY 1. Lifeboats
~~~a. 50 man boats by 6-Nov-06…Certificates for wires - in process
~~~b. 150 man boats by 6-Nov-06…Certificates for brake modifications - in process
~~~c. Load test davits by 8-Nov-06…Dependant on above
~~~d. Install boats by 10-Nov-06…Dependant on above 2. Prepare for Inclining Experiment by 20-Nov-06…Remove/relocate all loose items ~~including spare gear 3. Complete Technical Manning by 1-Dec-06…In process
4. Complete necessary documentation by 30-Nov-06…In process 5. Complete Modifications to Oily Water Separator by 10-Nov-06… In process - Need to find ~~an oil sensor 6. Complete Testing of Incinerator by 10-Nov-06…In process 7. Familiarize and Train Technical Crew by 6-Dec-06…Need systems completed and ~~handed over from shipyard Program Departments Operation Departments
-Completion of all "paper work", such as certificates, to be presented to Bureau Veritas ~~~(the classification agency for the Africa Mercy). -Completion in good time of all equipment and tasks by suppliers. -Defeat of all enemy powers in all of these matters. -Setting up of the galley. All that needs to be done to get it to an operational status. -Moving on process of crew, departmental assets, furniture & fittings. -Funding proposal for IT equipment & 5 new vehicles. Education Departments -Pray that education within Mercy Ships reflects our core values and enables staff/crew ~for effective service.
Staffing -Staff shortages - as we approach the busy transition time more HR staff are needed on the ~Anastasis. -For current HR staff on the Anastasis and the very high workload as we process the ~applications for both the Africa Mercy and the Anastasis. -For the staff required in all departments on the Africa Mercy for the sail to Africa as so ~many have now come to the Anastasis.
Funding -That we are able to participate in the Rabobank reception/fundraiser on Dec 20 -That funding for the non-shipyard activities/items will be available -That our year-end fundraising will provide the needed funds to cover operating expenses ~and reduce ministry debt

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Good to be Back on Board

Each Wednesday night all the crew meet for our weekly community meeting. It’s a bit like our church with an opportunity to fellowship together. Since we’ve moved off the ship we’ve been hugely blessed by being able to use St John’s Church in Hebburn as a meeting place but we’ve looked forward to the day when we can hold our meetings on board again. We were able to have a one off test run last Wednesday.

The IT department has been busy fitting the sound equipment and what better excuse did we need than to hold a meeting to test it out. It seemed to work out well with just a few bugs to fix.

For Sharon, working with the worship teams has been such a blessing. In an ever changing community, the teams are constantly changing and putting together a team each week can get quite interesting. Sharon is currently working with Lawrence and the chaplain, Phil, to lead the worship and it has been great to work with Lawrence again after his move from the Anastasis. (Some of the church at Bethel Baptist, Llantwit Major may remember Lawrence when he came on a visit with the African Praise Band from the Anastasis). We are excited about how the teams are building and look forward to many more new crew joining them and also being re-united with those who transferred to the Anastasis.

Saturday, September 16, 2006

Tests & Trials

It is strange how the rumble of long silent engines and the hum of long quiet machinery can change your feelings when you work on a project that has run far longer than anyone thought it might. Since last spring, various tests have been run on critical controls, systems and of course the main and auxiliary engines. Tim has been very involved in much of this work and is encouraged at each step. In late spring the main engines came to life and a while later the bow thrusters (propellers in the forward end of the ship that push the ship sideways). Steel became warm, pipes no longer empty, wires now energized. Wash swirled around the bow and stern of the ship, control lights glowed and the decks had that purposeful throb of the engines that will one day carry much hope, much relief, much healing to West Africa.

Since that time, tests, surveys, more tests and trials have continued. It is amazing to see what has been accomplished. In the coming weeks, the crew will now be preparing, finally, for the final stability tests and then long awaited Sea Trials where the entire ship will be put through its paces, all systems working for the first time as a coordinated whole. To achieve this next hurdle, many long hours of work are expected, but it is work that now seems to have more tangible or visible results in terms of completing the project and putting the ship finally into direct service for the Lord and His Kingdom.

Saturday, September 02, 2006

Vacation time!

We expect you've been wondering where we've been. Well we've been enjoying a short break away to get a nice rest. The first week was spent showing Sharon's parents around the beautiful North East.
(Angel of the North)
We enjoyed ships, castles,museums and even a trip to Edinburgh.
(Africa Mercy Visit)
(Royal Yacht Britannia in Edinburgh)
We think we walked their socks off and packed them off home on the Friday so they had a weekend to recuperate! For the second week we headed off down to the small seaside town of Tywyn and had the use of a lovely chalet appropriately named "The Haven" courtesy of Mrs Betty Boot and it sure was a huge blessing to us and a pure haven.
Thank you again, Betty, for your generosity!
It gave us a chance to rest, read, walk, & explore a little more of Wales...............
(Tall-y-llyn Lake)
(One of MANY steam trains Tim found on our travels!)

Sunday, July 23, 2006

From Newcastle to Ghana

If there is a way, a Mercy Shipper will find it! With recent delays on the deployment of the Africa Mercy it meant that we would not be able to make it to Ghana for the start of the outreach, so contingency plans were put in place! The service of the Anastasis was extended so some of our crew could use her as a platform to start work until the Africa Mercy is able to join them.
At the beginning of June the outreach started off with a medical screening in Tema where by 8am at least 2000 were waiting in line to be seen by a doctor, with the hope of an appointment card, a miracle, a new life.
In an interview with local volunteers who helped out with the security, they said
"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."
We praise God for the many lives that will be changed both inwardly and outwardly - please continue to pray that many lives will be touched !
"With God there are no boundaries"
We will continue to keep you updated as the outreach progresses

Friday, June 23, 2006


Living in a multi-cultural community we all like to take advantage of joining together for world events/competitions etc. In May we had the Europeans get together for our yearly Eurovision Song contest, along with some non-Europeans trying to work out why on earth we endure the contest and trying to figure out if it was serious or not. Of course we at Mercy Ships take it seriously as each of us fill out our little score cards after each song. One thing we came to realise was that our taste in “euro” music on the ship doesn’t seem to match the rest of Europe…what a sheltered life we must lead. Yesterday saw the head to head of Ghana v USA in the world cup. Tim has started to enjoy the football (Soccer) culture having already enjoyed some courtesy tickets to see matches at local grounds in Sunderland and Newcastle. With his department being made up of 50% Ghanaians the two just had to come together. See below for their reaction:
Congratulations Ghana.....now you've got to play Brazil!

Friday, May 19, 2006

Sharon Embraces Some American Culture

When you’re in an international marriage there are times that one has to dabble in the other ones culture. Coming from the UK, Sharon is used to the abundant supply of “BISCUITS” that are easily available from most local stores, so making them from scratch is not something that the ‘Brits’ make a point of doing regularly. So when there was a request for cookies for a shipyard workers meal, Sharon just couldn’t resist rising to the American challenge and getting out her American cookbook to indulge in cookie land heaven! The results?.....well, they were eaten and nobody has died yet!..…and for those in the USA that Sharon has taught how to make a cup of British tea, maybe we should get together….with your tea and her cookies we could have a great afternoon!!

Monday, May 01, 2006

Tim features in Professional Mariner's Magazine

For those who are technical or maritime, have a look at the latest issue of the “Professional Mariner” magazine. You will find an article featuring the work of Mercy Ships, and our involvement in it. Being a secular publication, we were pleased that the publishers were willing to present at least a balanced view of what we do, and also willing to acknowledge that there is a spiritual aspect to our motivation and service. Tim is quoted extensively and was able to share openly about why he is serving the Lord in Mercy Ships. Click on the links below to see full article: http://i39.photobucket.com/albums/e160/trethews/ProfessionalMarinerpage1-2.jpg http://i39.photobucket.com/albums/e160/trethews/ProfessionalMarinerpage3-4.jpg http://i39.photobucket.com/albums/e160/trethews/ProfessionalMarinerpage5.jpg http://i39.photobucket.com/albums/e160/trethews/ProfessionalMarinerpage6.jpg http://i39.photobucket.com/albums/e160/trethews/ProfessionalMarinerpage7.jpg

Saturday, April 08, 2006

Africa Mercy Holds Commissioning Service

6th April 2006 saw the commissioning service of the Africa Mercy in Newcastle. Many guests and dignitaries gathered including, Dame Norma Major (wife of former British Prime Minister John Major), Lord Ian McColl (House of Lords member & Mercy Ships UK Board Chairman) & Mrs. Joseph Boakai, (wife of the newly elected Vice President of Liberia).
The Africa Mercy dining room was transformed and gave us a glimpse of what the ship could look like when it is finished.
A gift of $120,000 was presented by Mrs. Peggy Campbell of Fullerton, California for the Africa Mercy School as a tribute to her late husband who died in 2005 and an African child named Abdulai. She gave a very moving account of how she came across Abdulai whilst watching a Mercy Ships video. She was touched by a scene of a doctor telling Abdulai that his tumour was inoperable, a similar experience to that of her husband.
A plaque was presented to the school inscribed with a scripture from Isaish 1v17 in the shape of Africa.
To see a video of the service click on this link below:

Sunday, March 26, 2006

Welcome to our Blog Site

Welcome to our new blog site!
We thought this would be an ideal place to keep you updated on what’s going on in our lives and keep you up to date with work on the Africa Mercy and in Mercy Ships.
We look forward to sharing more with you.