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Sunday, December 19, 2010

Winter Newsletter

As we approach the Christmas holidays, may we take this opportunity to send our greetings and our new newsletter and hope that you have a great Christmas, full of wonderful blessings.
click below to read our winter edition newsletter

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Nathanael's Firsts

During our trip Nathanael has got to experience a lot of "firsts" in his life. We forget all the things that he misses whilst living on the ship. Taking his first trip on a steam train-just like "thomas, playing pooh sticks, using binoculars, seeing a search and rescue helicopter practicing their rescues, a drive in a uncle daves kit car, climbing trees, walking 3k's, hide and seek in a big house and in a car (amazing what my sister does to keep him amused whilst waiting in the car!), Seeing Bob the builder, Barney, fireman sam at the theatre, laying the table for lunch - strangely enough all the food ended up at one end of the table, feeding deer, t-ball (younger version of baseball) and chopping down a christmas tree with his toy saw!

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

San Antonio

As with all holidays they all come to an end and it wasn't long before we were boarding a plane making our way, via the UK, to our head office in Texas. Tim took some maritime courses in Baltimore before meeting up with Sharon and Nathanael in Texas. It was a good chance to meet and put a face to names that we knew and see how things run at the head office.
Whilst we were there we were able to spend thanksgiving with our friends (Tim's long time friend and best man for those who were at our wedding) down in San Antonio. We had a wonderful time with their family. We experienced Texas ribs, Tex mex,
feeding deer and the beautiful riverwalk. Thank you for a wonderful time, Wimer family, we were sorry to leave.
(With our friends, Vern and Carole)
(and the rest of the Wimer Family)
(Nathanael's new buddy, Jeremiah)

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Our Holiday Time

This year we saved up to do something that we haven't done since we got married, a holiday. A proper holiday and a rest. With us being in South Africa and the ship not needing a captain whilst it is in the dry dock, it seemed the ideal opportunity to do it and experience this wonderful country. Sharon used her google and tripadvisor skills to hunt out the best places to go and form a holiday for 3 weeks. We started off with a trip to a game reserve about 3 hours away. It was amazing to be so close to the animals
Here are some pictures from our holiday.
On Safari - once you get here, going to a game park is pretty cheap so we we couldn't not go to one for a few days. We spent a few days in Umfolozi/hluhluwe game reserve. Unfortunately we didn't get to see any lions (something the rangers hadn't seen for 6 weeks), but we saw many other animals and it proved to be a very exciting part of the holiday. Nathanael was a particularly good spotted. Nathanael spotted this rhino turning up at a water pan for a bath! After a few days up in False bay we came back down to St Lucia where we were able to see more animals in the reserve there and hippo's and crocodiles on a boat trip that was included in the price of the cottage that we were staying in. We then continued up to the Drakensberg mountains for some amazing scenery and ended the trip with a week at Morgan Bay. Thank you to all helped out to make this trip possible for us, we had an amazing rest and break.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Move to Appelsbosch

As the Africa Mercy prepared for the shipyard phase to replace the generators, many of the non-technical crew were preparing to move ashore. Now that's probably got you thinking, where on earth do you put 150 crew in a new country. A few month's before, our advance team were asking the same question and were hunting out several locations in South Africa to solve that problem. One day they received a phone call from "Wayne" ?!? who arranged to show them a property that might work. This phone call turned into reality and as soon as we were docked the crew went into action packing up their "needed" belongings for 4 months ashore. As you can see by the picture, bags for 150 crew takes a lot of room (and there was more round the corner!).
There was even a "plant hotel" so somebody on the ship could look after our precious plants whilst we were away (thank you so much!).
It was amazing how everybody just pitched in and worked together and soon all the bags, galley and office equipment were loaded onto a Pickfords truck and ready to go. The crew climbed into Landrovers and buses and took the 1.5 hour journey to Appelsbosch, their home for 4 months. It was quite funny to see pedestrians on the road stop and stand with their mouths wide open as they saw one landrover after another pass them in a convoy.
It wasn't such an unusual sight when we got nearer to Appelsbosch because they knew we were coming. At Appelsbosch there was a disused college, it was as if the previous occupants expected to come back as things were left on shelves, science equipment in the labs, full sets of cheerleading costumes!?, trophies from past achievements and many books in the library. When we arrived the tuck shop was open, selling lots of goodies and crew were soon lapping up the doughnuts and fresh milk as if they hadn't seen it before. That's what living in west Africa does to you. As we all took a look around we knew this was going to be a great place to live.

Monday, November 29, 2010


It's often said that a picture can say a thousand words. So here are a few pictures from our sail down to South Africa last August.
(Tim and the pilot preparing to leave Togo)
(Nathanael and his pre-school buddies on the bow)
(Sometimes the sea was a little rougher than we would like)
(In Durban, South Africa, the Pilot often arrives by helicoptor)
(arriving in Durban, South Africa)
(Our advance team waiting our arrival on the dock)

Thursday, November 18, 2010

We're Back on Line

(whilst in South Africa)

At last we are back on line and the blog is fixed and looking a lot better.

After coming ashore and using a faster internet connection without all the firewalls etc. that we have on the ship, we came to realise that a lot of the code on our blog site had got a bit messed up-it looked fine on the ship, but it was definately not the same picture on land. So we are sorry for those who have had to suffer by working out the grey writing against the grey background. Not so good!
We've now changed to the new blogger layout and everything seems to be working a lot better, especially for those using firefox.
So now we've got a lot of catching up to do since we've been travelling around, so in the next few days we will try and bring you up to speed on all our travels and what's happening with the ship whilst it's in South Africa.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Mighty Ships Update - Showing 14th September

Just a note to follow on from my post earlier this week. Quest TV have now brought out the schedule to say that the Africa Mercy episode of Mighty Ships will be shown on Tuesday at 21:00 in the UK. Click Here to view schedule for Quest TV.

Freeview Channel: 38 Sky Channel: 154

Please post a comment if you watch it, we'd love to hear what you think.

Ready for Sailing

We are constantly amazed at the world that Nathanael lives in and how he easily adapts to it. As we prepared for sailing, I asked him one day what he does when the alarm goes off - this is his reponse:
Whenever an overhead announcement is made he always comes running over to me to check whether it's a drill or not.
He doesn't go out hunting for slugs and worms, instead he looks for flying fish, dolphins, sharks or whales.
He hasn't got a back yard to play in, but the bow is a great alternative on the sail
A pre-school field trip is a trip to the bow
and having to constantly try and keep his balance whilst walking just tires him out that he just falls asleep where he's playing!

Monday, August 30, 2010

Togo Honours

When it came to the time to leave Togo, our hearts weren't ready. It's been amazing how our lives have been wovened into this country in such a short time. How they have embraced us into their country and called us friends. This friendship was portrayed to us on the last Friday/Saturday we were there. We say two days because we started out on Friday only to find that it might not happen and then we started out again on the Saturday! The ways of Africa just don't surprise us any more and we just accept it, whereas if this way of life was the norm back home we would lead a very frustrated life.
During our last week the health minister visited the ship to say "thank you" and presented the crew with a beautiful wood carving.
During this visit it was hinted that somebody higher up wanted to honour them. Immediately panic set in as visions of the president wanting to visit the ship as we were trying to pack everything up, could delay our departure time. It soon became clear, we would go to him and we did not expect what was going to happen next.
A local hotel was the venue and as the time went on and we were briefed on standing positions and protocol. We lined up to meet the Health Minister and we proceeded into a big room, half occupied by a full military band! Members of our senior management team lined up, and the wives stood on the side lines, looking pretty! 9 medals sat on cushions - it soon became clear that this was more than just a thank you dinner. 1 Officer Mono, 4 Chevalier Mono and 4 Chevalier Merit were awarded.
(Tim receiving the Chevalier Mono Medal)
(Saluting for the USA National Anthem)
(Even a full Military band)
The event was followed by a dinner with various Government Ministers.
(Tim and Sharon with Madame Adjei - a remarkable lady)
We feel humbled that when we felt honoured to be serving in Togo, that they would want to honour us, but it's not just about the Senior Managment Team, these medals represent the work and dedication of the entire crew of Mercy Ships, both on the ship and those on shore in our land based offices, because it's not just one person that does all the work, it is a joint effort and without each other and the Lord working through us, nothing would be accomplished and complete. So we say well done good and faithful servants, the Lord honours your work and servant hearts, and so does Togo!
(Medal recipients)
(the wives)

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Potty Handover

Today we witnessed the historic event of Nathanael handing over his potty to his friend, Xavier, as Xavier embarks on his own potty training quest. So they sealed it with a hand shake and Xavier knows that Nathanael is always on hand to give advice, if needed.
Meanwhile Nathanael has now started target practice at floating cheerio's in the toilet.

Mighty Ships on UK Quest TV Channel

Remember Mighty Ships?


Freeview Channel: 38

Sky Channel: 154

Quest TV Listing Schedule: Click Here

We are now calling all those who have sky or freeview in the UK to check out this listing for Quest TV channel over the next month or so as it looks like the Africa Mercy episode is due to be shown. At the moment the series 3 of Mighty Ships is being shown on Tuesdays and Wednesdays, the only problem is that the website only lists the schedule for the next 2 weeks so you'll have to keep your eye out for us as we might not be able to remind you due to our limited internet connection over the next few weeks as we move of the ship, then go on holiday!

Series 3 includes ships: Africa Mercy Cristobal Colon, aka, Christopher Columbus G.O. SARS Oasis of the Seas Solitaire U.S.S. Kentucky

Click Here for episode write ups

Please try and take a moment to watch it-they did a really good job and it shows a little more of what goes on, on the technical side that supports the programs ministry we have here.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Would You Shop Here?

.......Because we did and were very happy with our products!
With different functions going on, we thought it would be a good idea to expand our "African wardrobe" so on good recommendations we ventured out to Samuel the Tailor. This is his tailors shop. (thanks Marty for the picture!)
It doesn't look much, but what goes on in here is the work of a great designer and tailor. He measures nearly every part of your body and says in his limited english "it is ok, I do something good" and you trust him. Sounds easy doesn't it? So we thought we'd give you a glimpse of our outfits so you know what the latest trends are in Africa if you ever come this way.
Tim's shirt - if you look too long at it you might get dizzy, we almost expect one of those 3D pictures to come out of it, but it looks great on him, in Africa!
Nathanael's shorts in the left over material from Tim's shirt.
And Sharon's 2 piece
Please know that we won't be offended if you would like to follow our fashion trends, we just need to add a disclaimer that, folk might laugh at you at home.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Knitting for Mercy

Theresa Rowntree, (75) from Braintree in Essex, who recently lost her sight, is part of a knitting team producing teddy bears for child patients onboard the Africa Mercy.

Rebecca Bond from Bassingbourn, Hertfordshire, was deeply touched by stories from her sister, who volunteered onboard the Africa Mercy in Togo earlier this year. Rebecca wanted to do something to help. She had heard how comforting the teddy bears were when children would come onboard the ship to receive treatment, and so created an advert, asking for knitters, to produce as many teddy bears as they can.

Theresa’s daughter read the advert and thought that knitting teddies for Mercy Ships using a simple pattern was a way to re-ignite her mother’s interest in knitting. Friends and family had always said that Theresa could knit with her eyes closed.

Rebecca is keen for as many people in the local area to help in her knitting mission. She said: “Anyone who can knit will find this pattern easy to do and the joy it brings to children is beyond imaginable. These young children are often very frightened and also very poor so to receive a gift like this means a great deal to them and sees them through a difficult time. “I am surprised at the amount of people who have responded to the appeal and delighted by the number of teddies that arrive almost daily.” Judy Polkinhorn, Executive Director of Mercy Ships UK, said: “This is an amazing gesture by Rebecca and all the knitters. Donations like this make such a difference to the child patients on board the Africa Mercy who love teddies just as much as children here. We would like to say a huge thank you to everyone that had kindly given their time to knit teddies for the children on the ship. Their efforts show real compassion and commitment”.

If you would like to help Rebecca in her knitting mission and would like details or the pattern please ‘phone her on 01763 246556 (leave a message) or email beccibond@hotmail.com

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Pink Slips

As we wrapped up the field service in Togo the hospital still had lots of pink slips. Pink slips belonging to many who we could not help or couldn't make contact with. We wanted to share this blog that is written by one of our nurses, Ali. Please read it, it will tug at your heart! Ali was involved in praying for everyone of those written on those slips. They didn't stop there, they got others to pray and now have 600 people over the world praying for those we left behind.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

A New Lip

Amavi and her baby sister, Kossinovi, are from a family of eight children. They share a distinctive characteristic – they were both born with a cleft lip. In the West African culture, such deformities are viewed with superstition and ridicule.
Little Kossinovi is only seven months old – too young to suffer from the harsh remarks of unfeeling friends. But Amavi is twelve and has felt the sting of sharp tongues all too often. An 8th grade student, she has struggled to make friends. But her classmates find her disfigured upper lip a good reason to belittle her and call her names. Her mother says when she sends Amavi out to play, there is always a fight, and she comes home crying. Amavi has coped by becoming shy and retiring, keeping to herself to avoid hurtful remarks. The children's mother has been very concerned about their future, but surgical repair has been out of reach because of the cost. So when a friend at the local hospital told her that the volunteer doctors with Mercy Ships would do the surgery without charge, she quickly made arrangements to get Amavi and Kossinovi to the Africa Mercy . Following a medical screening, both children were admitted to the hospital ward. They received successful surgeries and went home the next day. They returned to the ship for post-operative care until they were totally healed and released. Amavi, who usually says very little, expressed her happiness about the successful procedure. She hopes to train to be a nurse after she graduates from secondary school. And the children's very relieved mother said, “ Thank you Mercy Ships for what you have done for my children.”
(leaving the ship fully healed!)
Story by Elaine B. Winn (Africa Mercy Communications Department) Edited by Nancy Predaina Photos by Liz Cantu