My friends Ken and Ann Berry will be leaving the ship this week. I have known them from the very early days on the Caribbean Mercy in ’94 where we served together. They have been instrumental in the launching of the Africa Mercy and has been serving as our Managing Director and my supervisor. They will continue with Mercy Ships but out of the IOC in Texas serving in Marine Operations and in particular on our generator project for later this year. We will have a farewell party on Tuesday evening for them.
Today was our last Sunday to attend the evangelical church here in Tenerife. We were given an opportunity to share our thanks and so I translated for Clementine who has known the people of the church since last year. For me, it has been good to be able to worship the Lord in Espanol once again like when I served on the Caribbean Mercy in Latin/Central America. I know that we will stay in touch and that they are praying for us as we leave soon for Lome, Togo.
On Thursday, we opened the ship to the public here in Tenerife for the opportunity to come and visit. We are thankful for the hospitality of the Ports of Tenerife in allowing us to be here. My first tour was actually a group from the evangelical church that I have been attending – isn’t God’s timing great. In the photo, we are in Ward D that is set up to give the tour guests an idea what the hospital is like – though we couldn’t find a pulse on the guy in bed #6 : – )
The Technical Work Phase continues to go well here in Santa Cruz de Tenerife. They reported this morning that we have passed some inspections and more will probably happen next week with the Port State Inspection and Flag State Inspection. All of the safety equipment is receiving their annual servicing. We continue to pray for all those working on these technical work projects for safety and that there will not be any ‘show stoppers’ for us leaving at the end of the month for Lome, Togo.
Many of the crew and in particular the families were able to visit Loro Parque in Puerto de la Cruz – on the other side of the island. It is like a Sea World, if you have visited there. I went last year and spent the day with the Kronester family.
In this photo one of the Samaraweera kids had the chance to be in the ‘Dolphin Show’ and go out in the boat.
One of the project during this technical work phase is replacing the logo on the stack of the Africa Mercy. As we changed our logo awhile back, we need now to replace the old logo on the ship. You will notice in the background the hill/mountains as this island has many mountains including the highest point in Espana (Spain).
Greetings to you all at the beginning of a new year 2010!!!
I am writing to you from on board the ship while in Santa Cruz de Tenerife, Canary Islands – islands owned by Spain but only 100 km off the African coast near Morocco (see the map below). You may ask, “What are you doing there?” The ship is required to go through various inspections, obtain various certificates, etc and this is the closest place a ship of our size can go to for these services. Without the required certificates, we would not be permitted to sail. Mercy Ships has had a long term relationship with our agent and vendors here which all help in our dealings with them. There are many ship repairs that need to be done when the hospital is not in use and when the number of crew members on board is lower (as many long term crew take vacation during part of this time). We are not required to go into the drydock as that is when they take the ship out of the water – in those cases all the families have to move off for safety reason, but the singles and couples remain living on board with limited services. When I asked “What are some of our main projects happening this time?”, our Captain Tim shared the following: annual checks, lifeboats serviced and certified, water tanks (see photo) and other tanks cleaned and surveyed, hull surveys, work on the anchor chains, modification on the upper deck 8, modifications in almost every area of the hospital on deck 3, and general maintenance and smaller projects.
Personally, I am not involved in the technical work, though they have asked for volunteers from the general crew to assist with crawling into the tanks and doing the cleaning. I have been working intently on all the required final Benin ’09 field service reports and in particular on each of the 14 final project reports for the hospital and the activities off the ship. I strive for integrity and excellence with our reports, including our statistics and financial reporting on these projects. In addition, I continue to serve as the advance team liaison on board as our team is in Lomé, Togo. I am also working on preparations for our next field service in the nation of Togo (sailing date of January 31st).
Last Sunday, I was invited to a local evangelical church (Iglesia Cristiana Fuente de Paz y Esperanza) here on the island. My friend Clementine had met some of the people from this church last year and invited us to return. I was given the privilege to share in their morning service; I chose to share in Español and thought I will watch their faces to see if they can understand my Español. My language skills have not improved since I am not using it regularly except in correspondence with friends in Central America and with the few crew members on board who speak Español also. One recent slip/goof at a store was calling a lady here ‘Madame’ and saying ‘s’il vous plait’ (please in French).
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org – using this email account for personal correspondence
As part of our ship repairs, modifications and inspections in this season in Tenerife, this is a photo of some of the crew cleaning the water tanks on board the ship. Others were cleaning other tanks much dirtier than this, but they did it willingly. I continue working on reports from our time in Benin and preparing things for our upcoming field service in Togo.
This is an early morning photo of the Africa Mercy here in Santa Cruz de Tenerife – photo taken by a fellow crew member – Murray.
Last Sunday I had the privilege of sharing at Iglesia Cristiana Fuente de Paz y Esperanza during their morning service. I felt lead to share the story of Alimou who had both a physical and spiritual transformation. Then I went on to share more about Mercy Ships. I shared in Espanol/Spanish instead of being translated. I was a bit nervous as I don’t use my Spanish so much now serving in Africa – but I could tell from the expressions of the people’s faces they were understanding. Some from the church having already visited us on the ship and more will come later.
This is a whiteboard where the Captain and Managing Director place important announcements for the crew – it is just inside the entry at the gangway, by Reception. The Captain wrote ‘God’s Blessings to All in 2010!!’ and that would be my prayer also.