Sunday, 26 December 2010

Christmas Surprise!

If the ship was in South Africa at Christmas, it was always my intention to fly home. And so, in early August, I purchased my flights for spending Christmas and the New Year with my family in Cape Town. It is, after all, only a short two-hour flight down from Durban. Initially, I kept it a secret from my whole family, but then decided to let some of them know directly. And so it was that one of my sisters picked me up from Cape Town International this past Thursday.

We drove home and I surprised my mom when I suddenly appeared walking along the path with flowers in my hand! She had no idea and was really happy to see me - especially since I'd been telling her that I was "too busy to come home for Christmas." I even sent my parents a Christmas card several weeks back wishing them a merry Christmas and also saying how sad I was that I couldn't join them for Christmas this year! Photo here of the approach to Cape Town International - Table Mountain and the city of Cape Town welcome the traveller.

So I spent a great Christmas relaxing with my family at home here in Cape Town. We had our traditional Christmas eve dinner which was absolutely lovely, and on Christmas day opened our presents after church - everybody at my church were equally surprised to see me in town!

So the next few days I am just relaxing and enjoying a break before heading back to the ship on January 3rd. There's a lot of work waiting for me there, but I'm trying not to think about it all now! I trust you had a wonderful Christmas! God bless!

My nephews, Jesse and Rhyenn, wait for Christmas eve dinner.

Christmas eve dinner.

Great food and even better company!

Jesse and Rhyenn await their presents on Christmas day.

One of the things I miss the most when on the ship is animal interaction. Here's Flicka!

Wednesday, 22 December 2010

Christmas Update...

Well, Christmas is just around the corner and we have been gearing up for the celebration of our Saviour's birth here. The Academy put on their Christmas play, The Fear Not Factor, a couple of weeks ago, which told the Christmas story from the perspective of the angels. We have had Advent services on each of the four Sundays prior to Christmas, and last night there was even a gingerbread house decorating event in the Dining Room. And when I visited the ship on purser business yesterday, I was pleased to note that even in shipyard phase, there are still decorations! Here is one of the cabin doors decorated for Christmas.

More decorations.

Christmas Tree.

Simple but effective.

I thought this writing with tinsel was very innovative.

Reception even have a wire Christmas Tree on the desk...

... Complete with Fizz Pop lollipops as decorations!

I trust you and your family have a BLESSED Christmas this year and an AMAZING 2011! God bless from Appelsbosch, Murray

Tuesday, 14 December 2010

Moses Mabhida Stadium...

This past Sunday a group of us went and had a tour of Durban's brand-new 2010 World Cup venue, the Moses Mabhida Stadium. It was really interesting to see this amazing multi-sports facility - it can be used not only for football (soccer), but also for cricket, rugby, and athletics. We also got the chance to walk next to the pitch where so many famous football players played this past June/July. And this won't be my only visit to Moses Mabhida... In January the South African national cricket team, the Proteas, face the might of India in a Twenty20 International, and I'll be here to watch the action!

The stadium has a large arch that goes over the field. It even has a Skycar that goes to the viewing platform 106 metres up... Or you could choose to walk the 550 steps!

The north end of the stadium.

The field - note the cricket pitch being prepared in the centre.

The south end of the stadium.

The stadium had a capacity of 70,000 for the World Cup. This has since been reduced to 55,000. The colour scheme of the seats represents the ocean lapping up against the beach.

The player's tunnel.

Looking north.

Looking up at the arch...

... Which was inspired by the "Y" shape of the green in South Africa's national flag.

View from the south side.

Saturday, 11 December 2010

Shipyard update # 9

Progress continues on the Africa Mercy in Durban's ship repair facility. The pool is now being painted and cleaned, before the final installation of the "wave-catcher" device is complete.

The canopy frame has also been put up above the pool and much of Deck 8. This will provide much-needed shade from the hot West African sun.

Don't worry, that won't be the colour of the water when we swim in it!

Looking forward from the port side of the pool.

The main entrance to the pool.

Thursday, 2 December 2010

Shipyard update # 8

It seems that nowadays I am really struggling to come up with names for the blog posts in which I mention the shipyard phase on the Africa Mercy. I've done so many of them that the originality is lacking! But I feel I should continue to show glimpses of how the work on the Mercy Ship is progressing (since that is the reason we are here in South Africa)... Well, this is another one of those blog posts!

Another close up of one of our four new MAN generator units.

Each generator has five cylinders to provide power.

This is the new fuel filtration system, I believe.

Another view of our new Carrier air-conditioning unit.

The new pumps to provide water for the air-conditioning unit.

Lots of pipes lead out of the air-conditioning unit.

Up a deck now, on Deck 2, where a passageway has been made to run around the Boutique, Gym, and Prayer Room.

Many of the Deck 3 cabins are being re-carpeted.

The former Lecture Room/E Ward is now being used as storage space for cabin furnishings.

The Hospital Wards boast new sinks and cupboards.

Meanwhile, on the Bridge many wires and cables need to be connected joining the control panel here with the engine-room.

The new logo on the funnel is now complete.

Tuesday, 30 November 2010

Thanksgiving Testimony...

The Mercy Ships community at Appelsbosch celebrated America's Thanksgiving Day last Thursday (25th November). Our Food Services department did a great job in catering for us with turkeys, stuffing and roast vegetables!

Although South Africans (and much of the world, in fact) do not celebrate Thanksgiving, this holiday does provide me with an opportunity to think of those things for which I am thankful. Right up there are my family and friends all around the globe, along with the privilege of serving with Mercy Ships over the last three years. And most of all, I am thankful that God saved me and has called me to a mission so close to my heart.

I know that quite often my blog focuses more on the technical side of serving with Mercy Ships, but this blog I created over three years ago is a continual testimony of God's faithfulness to me. I hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving - I am thankful for you taking the time to read my story here. God bless!

Give thanks to the LORD, call on his name; make known among the nations what he has done. Sing to him, sing praise to him; tell of all his wonderful acts. Glory in his holy name; let the hearts of those who seek the LORD rejoice.
(Psalm 105: 1 - 3 NIV)

Friday, 26 November 2010

Appelsbosch Science Fair!

This past Wednesday the Academy hosted the annual Science Fair in Miss Orman's Science Lab. It is really interesting - as always - to see what the students are learning and how they are applying what they have learned to real situations and case studies. And, of course, the Biblical application is really cool! Here are some photos from the Science Fair!

Christina (Miss Orman)!

How much electricity do different fruits/vegetables produce?

Do birds care what colour their food is?

How Dirty is Dirt?

The Coke Test - to see if people could tell the difference between Coke Light, Coke Zero and regular Coca-Cola.

This was perhaps one of my favourite exhibits - since I was included in the sample for the experiment. It measured how gender plays a role in frustration - we had to try and play an (impossible to finish) game and the researcher captured our responses to the frustration of constantly having to re-start the game. It came up with some pretty interesting results.

Does anaesthesia with adrenalin last longer than anaesthesia without?

The practical implementation of the above experiment. Anaesthetic being administered into the arm via a needle.