Tuesday, 23 December 2008

Pray for Guinea

Background info: Mercy Ships are planning to visit Guinea for their field service in 2010 (although obviously won't if it is unstable). It neighbours Liberia and Sierra Leone - two of the poorest countries in the world and in no need of regional instability!

From the BBC (http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/africa/7796902.stm):

"A Guinea army statement has announced the dissolution of the government, after President Lansana Conte's death.

... A BBC correspondent in the capital Conakry says tanks have been seen on the streets...

...He announced earlier that President Conte, who ruled the West African country with an iron fist for 24 years, had died on Monday night after a "long illness". Forty days of national mourning have been declared...

...Guinea's neighbours - Liberia, Sierra Leone and Ivory Coast - are enjoying relative stability after years of conflict and there are fears any unrest there could spread and embroil the sub-region in fighting once more...

...Although Guinea's mineral wealth makes it potentially one of Africa's richest countries, its population of about 10 million is among the poorest in the region."

Monday, 22 December 2008

Commissioning Service to see us off

On Sunday, 11th January we will be in Cambridge for the last time for our commissioning service at Eden Baptist Church (directions). Eden have been fantastic in their suport for us going to serve with the ships - not just financially but in many other practical ways. There will be a simple lunch after the service in the back hall where we would love to say 'Au Revoir'. If you would like to come let us know so that we can have an idea of how much food we would need to provide.

If you don't normally come to Eden here is how the service will go (roughly). It begins at 10am with a hymn, welcome and prayers. The first half an hour or so of the service has more songs, bible readings and prayers. There will be a short break when the children go out for their sunday school groups (if you have a baby there is a creche available during the whole service) and then in the second half of the service there will be a sermon by our pastor, Julian Hardyman, on a short passage from the Bible:

Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinful men, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.
[Hebrews 12:1-3]
The sermon usually lasts about 35-40mins and would be followed by a final hymn. The service itself usually finishes about 11:45(ish).

We would love to see as many of our friends there to see us of (we fly out two days later) so please do come if you can make it. If you have any questions let us know.


Friday, 12 December 2008

The ship sails today!

After a frantic couple of weeks cleaning and tying everything down the ship is scheduled to leave Monrovia port at 2pm this afternoon (Friday).

Our friend, Daniel, who is a sailor on the ship says this:

"It takes us around 6 days sailing before arriving in Tenerife. The weather is mostly good here on the West coast of Africa but as a seaman you need to be prepared for every kind of weather conditions. Also pirates are sailing around on the West coast of Africa, not with swords but with rocket launchers..."

Please remember the sail in your prayers.


Thursday, 11 December 2008

CRB Check sorted!

Good News - my CRB check came in the post today and has been sent on to Texas. Hopefully this is the last bit of paperwork we need to get our visas sorted for Benin...

Thanks for all of your prayers (especially you, Natalie - very effective prayers!)


[33 Days and counting...]

Wednesday, 3 December 2008


Sarah and I had our last lot of jabs this week and my mind cast back to the presentation Dr Leo Cheng did at Eden in the summer. He said that he went to Africa feeling like Superman having had so many vaccinations. Here's what we're immune to now...

TB - BCGs for Tommy and Sarah when at school - Tom and Josh still to have theirs in the next few weeks
Hepatitis A + B - Sarah just needed a booster, Tommy had 4 injections while the poor boys needed 5!
Yellow Fever - Just a single injection each
Cholera - 2 drinks for Tommy and Sarah
Meningitus A,C,W+Y - 1 Jab for all (Josh will have his as a nice 2nd birthday present!)
Typhoid - Single jab each (Another present for Josh's birthday)
Flu - 1 jab, 2 for Joshua, none for Tom (getting a bit needle phobic now, as you can imagine)
Tetanus, Diptheria, Polio - 1 Booster for Sarah and Tommy
MMR - Booster for Sarah and Tommy
Pneumococcal - 1 for everyone

There are two points that I would like to raise about these vaccinations.

The first is to ask that you pray for Tom when he has his TB injection as he is beginning to react quite strongly when he knows he's having an injection and the BCG jab needs to be controlled and carefully placed otherwise he'll have to have it twice!

The second is to reiterate a point made by Leo in his talk. We are so lucky to have access to these jabs and between them they will protect us from one of the three big killers in West Africa. Thanks to the excellent provisions on the ship we will also be protected from Malnutrition and unclean water supply. It's sobering to think that this is not the case for the people we will be serving just the other side of the dock and in the near future these will still be the big three killers in West Africa and the reason around 1 in 5 babies born won't see their fifth birthday...