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Friday, November 30, 2007

The Blind Will See.

What does it take to give sight on a Mercy Ship?
Below you can see a video of Lisa, the first child to be given a cataract surgery on the Africa Mercy in Liberia. Over the years both Tim & I remember our first encounter of people receiving their sight back for either the first time or for many years...it is a moment when you see them dancing home with joy.

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

A Long Farewell

For many of us who invested a significant part of our lives in ministry aboard ANASTASIS, it has seemed a strange time to witness the transition from ministry encased in steel and aluminum to memory, history and stories of changed lives. At the end July Anastasis transitioned back “into the world” of commerce and business. The ship made her departure from her last ministry port of Monrovia on the 29th of June 2007, having handed over the responsibility as a vehicle of hope and healing to the Africa Mercy. It was an emotional departure. Anastasis has been ministry platform, sanctuary, school, workplace, and home to thousands of people. On board, or in association with the ship, many learned about the Love and Goodness of God. Others have been challenged to change their lives and still others have found physical and spiritual healing, or a deeper understanding of God.

This was certainly true for me over the years. I remember my first year on board, rising early to pray and seeing that some of my leaders had already done so. I was challenged in where my beliefs came from, the Word of God or my culture. I enjoyed learning about and joining forces with people of dozens of cultures and languages in serving a mighty God, and being a part of something significant in the world around me. With the delayed deployment of the new ship, Africa Mercy, the service life of Anastasis was extended more than two years by the amazing efforts of her dedicated technical staff and Captain. During that time, many alternatives were sought and examined, but none developed that were economically or logistically viable.

A crew of 39, mostly with long histories with the ship, made the final voyage of delivery, which has been labeled the “Omega Voyage,” to the new owners. Even though her time of service as a Mercy Ship was now passed, the crew did a great job caring for the ship as always, even down to polishing the brass on the bridge and sanding and varnishing rails. She was well looked after all the way.

As we made the sail, the names and stories of hundreds of memories were shared amongst us. As the miles passed, the faces of friends and shipmates, of patients and dayworkers and thousands of visitors came to our minds. We recalled tales of humor and crisis, and always the faithfulness of God. And as the miles passed, the worship and prayer continued to be a part of our lives. But the voyage had memories of its own to generate, and events that kept us praying and serving to the fullest of our God given skills. If you would like to hear some of the tales from this voyage, click here

Friday, August 31, 2007

Anastasis African Worship

Tim was recently working on board the Anastasis before it set sail for it's final resting place. Each morning the technical departments got together for a devotion time. A time when the morning is started off being focused on God together.
Click below to see their African worship time on the Aft Deck

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

First Surgeries on Board

On Monday, June 25, the first surgery was successfully completed onboard. Suah lived her entire life in a small village called Oil Town in West-Central Liberia. Along with her large family. Suah is a subsistence farmer; raising their own food along with a bit left over to sell in the market. Three years ago, cataracts stole the last of Suah’s sight. The loss was devastating for such a proud, active woman. She missed being able to work on her farm and missed fishing in the nearby river. She hated not being able to dress herself or even to use the toilet without assistance. Suah thanked the doctors and nurses for her renewed vision, saying, "When I get home I will gather my people and tell them what you have done for me. I can’t pay you, but God will pay you. He will bless you and your children and your children’s children."
The first VVF repair surgeries were conducted onboard the next day. 35 year old Mamie Paye of North-Central Liberia was one of the patients selected to undergo the procedure. Mamie has leaked urine constantly since she suffered a birth injury in 1995. She was abandoned by her husband as a result of the incontinence, a tragically common occurrence. "Everyday I cry," Mamie says. "When you have this problem you don’t have friends. You don’t have nobody. People gossip the whole day about you. People abandon you. But God doesn’t ever abandon nobody."
What faith in the midst of trial!

Saturday, June 30, 2007

Nathanael's first words

As parents we all look forward to those first words uttered by your child, imagine our surprise when Nathanael started saying hello at such an early age:

Friday, June 15, 2007

Africa Mercy Sails !

It's been a long time, but worth it. As we sat cuddling our newborn son in the hospital, it was with mixed emotions we watched on the TV local news as the Africa Mercy sailed out of the port of Blythe. Joy, that at last the Africa Mercy is ready to do what she is called to do, healing the poor and needy and sadness, that we were not able to be present after investing so much in the project (but Nathanael made up for that!). After a PR stop at Rotterdam, the Africa Mercy continued on towards Tenerife for refueling and underwater survey and then onto Liberia. It wasn't the smoothest of sails with hitting very strong winds at the bay of biscay (Tim calls it the "bay of dismay" as it is reknowned for bad weather), so as you can guess there were a few things that came crashing down as people discovered they hadn't tied things down too well. All in all they arrived safely and were greeted by the Anastasis crew as they prepare to transfer all the Anastasis equipment to the Africa Mercy ready for the Liberia outreach. Please pray for all that are involved in this transition.
Africa Mercy Arrival:

From the top of the gangway on the Africa Mercy, snaking from one ship to the other, a colorful array of crew and board members of over 35 different nationalities lined the dock. All standing together, in unity, to celebrate the passing of the torch. Beginning the ceremony on the opposite gangway, Dr Gary Parker raised the cross from the Anastasis bow high above his head. Forever going before us, the cross is passed from one hand to the next; it too will lead us at the front of the Africa Mercy. Behind the cross follows the torch. Beautifully crafted and burning brightly in the morning sun it is a symbol of past and future; made up from the different ship: teak from the Caribbean Mercy, Oil separator sleeve from the Anastasis and a small wooden cross from the bearing on the Good Samaritan [Island Mercy].

Sunday, May 06, 2007

Birth Announcement

We are delighted to announce the birth of our son:
Nathanael David Tretheway was born on 2 May 2007
weighing in at 9lb 6oz (4.24kg)
Nathanael means "God Allowed, Permitted" and we thought it was appropriate to choose that name as God has been so gracious to us by allowing Nathanael to come into our lives.
As you have probably guessed things didn't go exactly to plan. At 10 days overdue it was decided to start inducing and after 3 days of trying there was still no sign of anything happening, so they opted for a c-section to make sure he came out. Tim was able to be in the operating theatre with Sharon and we were both able to see him as he was lifted out to the words of "he's big boy". (Maybe that's why he couldn't get out!). Meanwhile we have got into the routine of nappies, feeding and sleep (when we can) and enjoying every minute of him. He has a wonderful smile and is amazingly alert and he can even say hello in his baby gurgle way. He seems to have a lot of "Tretheway" characteristics and it's fun to discover more and more each day, even in the womb we noticed that he did something that Tim does and he continues to do it to this day. What a miracle! Sharon is now recovering well and in due course we will be heading out to the USA so Nathanael can meet his family and friends out there. We will then look to rejoin the Africa Mercy in Tenerife later in the year when Nathanael is able to get the right jabs and is old enough to take those yucky malaria tablets ready for Sierra Leonne. Nathanael now has his own blog site: http://www.littletretheway.blogspot.com/ - it will mainly be pictures so friends and family can keep up with him.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Where is the Baby?

When a midwife says a baby is due on the 19th April, somehow you buy into that and believe that is when it's going to happen. All plans are made around that date so you can pay as much detail to it as possible.
Let us tell you, we've found out it doesn't always work that way. Now is the 25th and we are STILL waiting. Somehow this baby seems to like the environment of it's mum's/mom's tum and wants to stay. Today we meet with the midwife to see what to do next to entice this little one out. Meanwhile the other plans of moving out of our house by Saturday and onto the ship, getting a ship ready for sail and Tim taking a "UK Life Test" for his next visa are in full swing and are all happening this week aswell....life does get complicated sometimes!
So watch this space and I'm sure there will be a new addition soon.

Sunday, April 15, 2007

At Sea at Last

March 28 2007 dawned misty and cool, a day like so many others of the past months, a day full of long stressful hours and effort and activity. Most things were not complete, much equipment not fully installed, contractors still frantically trying to correct glitches in their installations or complete their contracted work. Indeed, the shipyard were still painting the ship right up to departure time while ship’s crew waited for more equipment to be lifted on board. For at least the third time in two years, crew were assembled to sail the ship as promised by the shipyard. Would this day finally be the day? In spite of all the difficulties and challenges, there was a difference. Things were finally being put in their final positions, gear secured for sea, engines and control systems tested, food on board. Behind all this were the prayers and encouragement of countless supporters. And upholding all of this we knew the promise of God, that the ship would be completed in “the fullness of time.” So, after almost exactly eight years of planning, delay, change, frustration, hard work, prayer and sacrifice, Africa Mercy’s engines rumbled to life in earnest, checks were completed, mooring lines came aboard and the ship slipped easily away from West Quay for the last time. The river Tyne was shrouded in fog as the ship passed downstream. After years of anticipating the passing of the ship between the North Sea breakwaters, we were a little sad that they were barely visible in the fog. But then the ship was at sea, the pilot disembarked and the testing of the ship could begin in full operational mode. Like many others, Tim spent countless overtime hours preparing every detail of the departure, and like those others, Tim spent many hours on the bridge and elsewhere in the ship observing the performance of all the old and new systems. During his watch, his team executed various tests and recorded information on the control of the ship. It was also a great time to get the crew into “sailing” condition, and the bridge teams operated the ship by various means, tested the ship in emergency turns, and checked out numerous problems or glitches.

After 26 hours of maneuvers and tests at sea, Africa Mercy headed for a new port and a new set of challenges. At about 1600 Africa Mercy sailed into Blyth, a port north of Newcastle, and moored at “Battleship Wharf.” It was a wonderful feeling to arrive in a new berth, in a new port, to begin a new work with the vessel we have been investing in for many years. Much still remains to be accomplished while the ship remains at Blyth. The sea trials were conducted while the ship was still categorized as a cargo ship. So we still need to see many contract items completed, and many of these will have to be done by the crew, before we can receive our “passenger ship” classification. (Since there is no “hospital ship classification” in the International Maritime regulations, our Mercy Ships must meet passenger class regulations.) Due to constraints by the shipyard, there are many tasks that still need to be done and equipment installed to make the ship an effective mercy ship. Further, there will need to be a lot of training in emergency procedures, which we ourselves are busy developing now that the information on the new systems is finally being handed over. Finally, we will have to actually load the ship with final supplies.

Please pray for the crew as many long hours lie ahead and rejoice with us as we see God guiding us into this new stage.

Click below to see more images of the sea trials

Thursday, April 05, 2007

Inclining Experiment

27th January brought us another step closer to getting the ship ready for deployment as the ship went through it's inclining experiment. This tests the characteristics of the ship's stability
(basically to see how "Tippy" it is!)
Click below to see how it went

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Pray for our Neighbourhood

Was that a bang, gun shot or what? was Tim's thoughts when he was awoken in the middle of the night. Somehow over the years, from all Tim's time on the ships, he's managed to train his ears to sense changes in any pattern of noises whilst asleep like when an engine cuts out, or a sail breaks and is able to wake up and respond. This is exactly what he was able to do last night as the car that was parked in front of ours was petrol bombed. Fortunately he was able to get there in time to move our car out of the way before that caught on fire too.
Please pray for this neighbourhood. Throughout our time here the crew have been committed to pray for this area and there have been some significant improvements in crime here, with lives touched in different ways as many friendships have been made. Pray that this is just a one off incident and things will continue as before.

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Week 5 - Mercy Ships 40 Days of Prayer & Fasting

Week 4: Mar 19 - 25 Other Programs (Submitted by Glenn Strauss) Click here to download prayer points National Offices Week 5 40 Days prayer.pdf

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Mr Strong & Miss Greedy Venture Out!

There are times when things get busy and we have to let our hair down and have some fun. There are a few crew members who love arranging theme parties so crew can get together and have some fun. We managed to get to the last one which was a Mr Men party. The Mr Men stories are always a favourite with children and include a good message.
(if you haven't heard of them before click here to learn more http://www.mrmen.net/ )
So with our glue sticks & paint at the ready we got cutting and sticking to make our costumes.
One top tip for if you ever need to make a costume....make sure you can sit in it!
In our haste we forgot to make an allowance for Tim to sit for the evening, as you can see he didn't have a very comfortable evening!

Monday, March 19, 2007

Week 4 - Mercy Ships 40 Days of Prayer and Fasting

Week 4: Mar 19 - 25 Other Programs (Submitted by Glenn Strauss) Click here to download prayer points Other Programs Week 4 40 days prayer.pdf

Monday, March 12, 2007

Week 3 - Mercy Ships 40 Days of Prayer and Fasting

Week 3: Mar 12 - 18 International Operations Centre (Mercy Ships Head Office in Texas) (Submitted by Deyon Stephens) Click here to download prayer points IOC-Texas Week 3 40 days prayer.pdf

Sunday, March 11, 2007

2 More Lifeboats!

Just when you thought that installing two 150 man lifeboats would be enough, we go and put another 2 on. Last month saw the final installment of two 50 man lifeboats being loaded onto the ship. A lot of work has gone into this with many alterations to make them fit, so it was very satisfying to at last see them hanging from their davits. I just hope we never have to use them for other than training, but you never want to be without them!

Monday, March 05, 2007

Week 2 - Mercy Ships 40 Days of Prayer and Fasting

Week 2: Mar 5 - 11 Sierra Leone Focus: (Submitted by RenĂ© Lako) Mercy Ships currently have the land base, "New Steps" in Sierra Leone, click here to find out more: · History of New Steps: · New Steps News: Click here to download prayer points New Steps Week 2 40 days prayer.pdf

Monday, February 26, 2007

Week 1 - Mercy Ships 40 Days of Prayer and Fasting

We would be grateful if you could spend a moment in your week to pray for some of these items...thank YOU for partnering with us.
Week 1: Feb 27 - Mar 4
m/v Anastasis Focus:
(Submitted by Solfrid Quist & Henry Gwani)
Click here to download prayer points Anastasis Week 1 40 days prayer.pdf

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Mercy Ships 40 Days of Prayer and Fasting

Once again, it is the season of Lent: the season for preparing our hearts and minds for Easter. For the 5th time, Mercy Ships has set aside these 40 days as a time of prayer and fasting beginning February 27th and ending at Easter.

This year, we will again be looking not only to the resurrection of our Savior, but also in eager hopefulness to the long awaited sailing of the Africa Mercy. Throughout Mercy Ships is a growing sense that the “Year of Jubilee” has begun for each individual and location. In the past, a devotional has been sent out daily with words for meditation and a prayer focus. This year we will have a different focus for each week according to the following schedule:
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~27 Feb - 04 Mar - Anastasis ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~05 Mar - 11 Mar - Sierra Leone
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~12 Mar - 18 Mar - International Operations Center ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~19 Mar - 25 Mar - Other Programs ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~26 Mar - 01 Apr - National Offices ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~02 Apr - 07 Apr - Africa Mercy
Since this is such a crucial time for the launch of the Africa Mercy we will also have an Africa Mercy focus every week in addition to the other focus of that week. We will be posting some weekly points for praise and thanksgiving, points for prayer, as well as an aspect of God’s character for meditation and worship if you would like take part in this time. These will be activated according to the timeline.
Psalm 34 will be a scripture focus for the 40 days. It starts:
“I will bless the Lord at all times. His praise shall continually be in my mouth.”
It’s a wonderful psalm of praise and promise, of teaching and caution.
Verse 18 could apply to many of those whom we serve:
“The Lord is near to those who have a broken heart and saves such as have a contrite spirit.”
You may want to read all or part of the psalm as prayer and proclamation in some of your prayer times. May the Lord infuse our efforts with His Spirit and may He be pleased by our offerings of ourselves.

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Deck Department Achievements 2006

What can a small team of dedicated people accomplish in a year? Move furniture more than 12,000 times? Prepare and paint an area the size of a WWII aircraft carrier flight deck? Move 20 tons of rubbish and scrap? Walk the distance from Newcastle to Jerusalem? These are just a few of the accomplishments of the Africa Mercy Deck department.
The year 2006 was a challenging and exhausting period for Africa Mercy’s small but determined Deck Department. The first two months of the year saw all efforts made to accomplish a planned limited capacity voyage from Newcastle to London. The Deck Department grew slightly during this time to 5 officers and 8 Seamen and deckhands. However, by early summer the department saw the departure of many of its long and short term crew. In addition, illness and leaves reduced the department to 3 officers and 3-4 healthy seamen/deckhands by December 2006, even though the ship was to be “sailing within weeks.” In addition to completing contract items renegotiated with the shipyard, and normal maintenance, the department was tasked to take over the moving of owner supplied furniture and equipment onto and within the vessel. Although various other individuals helped from time to time, the bulk of all labour came from the faithful few seamen/deckhands. Like Gideon’s army, they accomplished much with few people, with the help of the Lord. The following is a list of some of the amazing accomplishments made by the members of the deck department: FURNITURE MOVES: Furniture components amounting to approximately 4950 pieces were moved. However, although the shipyard wanted these items placed on board, most could not be placed in final position, necessitating two, three and even four relocations.
Therefore: 12,375 moves performed. 2062 Pieces of furniture by EACH person! STEEL PREPARATION AND PAINTING: These same people also accomplished the following, mainly using hand power tools due to limitations by the shipyard on the work done by the crew. Many of these areas were originally in the shipyard scope of work but negotiated back to the crew.
Deck and other areas prepared: approximately 3600 square meters of chipping Exterior area painting: approximately 8000 square meters of painting (various coats) Interior Painting: approximately 2500 Square Meters of painting Total painting in 2006: 10,500 Square meters, equivalent to about 2.6 acres or the flight deck area of a World War II aircraft carrier! SCRAP, RUBBISH, and DEBRIS REMOVALS The ship’s crew were called upon to remove old items and equipment, debris from work and rubbish from the ship. The deck crew also removed scrap materials and other salvageable waste. In all, about 20 tons were handled by the deck department, much of it by hand.
INSTALLATIONS and OTHER WORK Assisted in and/or provided fire cover for engine trials, basin trials, etc. Completely overhauled and repaired two original lifeboats Installation and testing of liferaft cradles, davits and rescue boats Adjusted and shifted moorings many times. Installation of 2 new lifeboats. Participation in installation of new 23-ton Crane, including testing. The deck crew were also deeply involved in cleanup and preparations for the Commissioning Service and other on board events. Responded to unnumbered by the yard to assist. Countless other jobs to assist other departments and advance the project. WATCHES AND PATROLS Deck and other departments covered all watches on board prior to the arrival of the Ghurka security team at the end of February. They continued to be included in the Saturday watches and daily safety patrols, up to the present.
All together, the watchmen walked 3700 kilometers, about the same distance as a walk directly from Newcastle to Jerusalem, with a few stretches of wet travel over the North Sea!
All this work was accomplished by a very small but dedicated group of people, on average less than 4 healthy persons. Often the goals and directions seemed to be conflicting but each one remained as focussed and determined to complete the ship as possible. Their work goes unrecognized, but their dedication is seen by the God they serve and their treasure is piling up rapidly in heaven.
We are extremely proud to serve and work alongside men and women such as those who faithfully served in the Africa Mercy Project in 2006.

Saturday, February 10, 2007

Goodbye to the Security Guards.

You may have learnt, or even heard, that you should never to mess with a Ghurkha, but if you get on their good side they are the sweetest people to know. As part of the new security regulations that have been brought in on ships, Mercy Ships now has security guards to keep an eye out for those “unwanted visitors”. We have been blessed with 4 security guards from Nepal who have faithfully looked after our ship day and night. In the day they hold the gangway watch, checking security badges for who’s allowed on board and at night they are patrolling the decks and have clocked up 3700 km in the year they have been here (that’s like walking from the UK to Jerusalem).
Now it is time for them to return to their families in Nepal…..thank you Om, Pradip, Bharat & Tek for your faithful & diligent service & may God bless you as you return to the mountains of Nepal…you will be greatly missed!!

Meanwhile we'd also like to say a big welcome to 4 new security guards, Lum, Ras, Shyam & Bablu. Please pray for them as they settle into life on the Africa Mercy, for their safety during their watches and that they will see and know the love Jesus in their lives.

Sunday, January 14, 2007

Fearfully and Wonderfully Made!

O Lord, You have searched me and you know me. You know when I sit and when I rise; You perceive my thoughts from afar. You discern my going out and my lying down; you are familiar with all my ways. Before a word is on my tongue you know it completely, O LORD. You hem me in-behind and before; You have laid your hand upon me. Such knowledge is too wonderful for me, too lofty for me to attain. Where can I go from your Spirit? Where can I flee from your Presence?
If I go to the heavens, You are there; if I make my bed in the depths, You are there. If I rise on the wings of the dawn, if I settle on the far side of the sea, even there Your hand will guide me, Your right hand will hold me fast. If I say, “surely the darkness will hide me and the light become night around me,” even the darkness will not be dark to you; the night will shine like the day, for darkness is as light to you. For You created my inmost being; You knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; Your works are wonderful, I know that full well. (taken from Psalm 139) Hopefully you have all caught up on the news that we are expecting our first child in April. So far both mother and child are growing rapidly! And the father is coping well with the extra chores like carrying the shopping and putting up with the strange antics of a pregnant woman. As you can see by the picture even Aunty Sally spent some time introducing herself over Christmas. (click on the movie to hear what she had to say)

Saturday, January 06, 2007

Deck Leaders Get Together

What a great bunch of people we have in the deck department, it is a priviledge to serve alongside them. With the arrival of our new captain we had a get together for a chilli night at the "Tretheways flat". Getting together has proved very important as we gel as a team.

Deck Leaders from L-R:

Lars (2nd Officer-Danish), Jurryan (Captain-Dutch), Lee (2nd Officer-S.African), Lawrence (Bosun-Ghanaian), Tim (Chief Officer-USA) & Rodrigo (3rd Officer-Brazilian) Quite a mix of nationalities The wives from L-R: Gina (Ghanaian), Tatyana (Brazilian), Rahel (Swiss), Dana (S.African), Sharon (UK) & Lena (Swedish)