Sunday, 26 August 2012

Arrival in Conakry, Guinea...

The Africa Mercy arrived off the Iles de Los, the island group located off Conakry's peninsula, early on Wednesday morning. (22nd August.) We passed these beautiful islands, deeply reminiscent of the hills above Freetown, and reached the pilot station. Here, the pilot boat approached, delivered our pilot, and we were soon underway through the channel leading into Conakry's harbour.

The pilot boat had a couple of our crew members onboard, who had helped with the Advance Team, and it was very special to see them waving and smiling at us. Shortly thereafter, we were pulling alongside our small berth and were soon secure to the dock. The gangway was lowered and the celebrations on the dock began, complete with a military band!

The rest of the Advance Team were also waiting on the dock, and they were really happy to see us again. They've done a fantastic job despite a number of challenges, and we owe much to their hard work and diligence. Government officials were also present for the flag ceremony and speeches. This little function marked Mercy Ships' arrival in Guinea, and the start of our 2012 - 2013 Field Service to this nation. We believe God is going to do great things over the next ten months!

 The island archipelago. 
 Our pilot approaches.
 And comes onboard.
Pilot Onboard flag and Guinea flag flying in our forward mast.
Fishing vessel with friendly crew passes the AFM.
 The waters in this area are notorious for shipwrecks.
 Some form of crane barge, possible involved in mining.
 Sailing through the channel towards the harbour.
 Looking towards the Boulbinet Lighthouse, built in 1906.
Unfortunately the lantern and gallery have been removed.
 Entering the safety of the harbour.
 Looking back towards the islands.
Tug approaches to assist with berthing manoeuvres.
 Our berth space.
 Excited Advance Team members.
 Military band.
Cool shot of a rain puddle by Candace.
 A worker picking up rubbish in his wheelbarrow.
 Unfortunately much trash ends up in the harbour - as is common throughout West Africa.
 The gangway is lowered.
 And the flag ceremony begins.
Speeches as the Africa Mercy is officially welcomed to Guinea!

Friday, 24 August 2012

Some scenes of sailing...

We are safely in Conakry, Guinea, but before I blog about our arrival I wanted to do one more post with photos from the sail - enjoy!

 We had a man overboard drill the last weekend.
This is one of our rescue boats and their boat crew.
 Other ships at sea - a container vessel.
 Looks to be a tanker just under the horizon.
Possibly a bulk carrier or container ship.
Flying fish!
 Sunset on our final night at sea.
 It was beautiful!
Sunset another night from the bow.

Wednesday, 22 August 2012

Sailing Worship...

The sail is a great time to come together as a community and worship together. There are many awesome sights that one encounters while sailing, and it makes one appreciate God's majesty and splendour all the more! Candace has written a really good blog about it, so head on over to her blog to read about it. Here are some photos from an amazing night of worship on the bow.

 The worship team.
 Crew members worshipping our Saviour.
Many crew members were out on the bow.
And as we worshipped, a sliver of a silver moon appeared from behind the clouds.

Monday, 20 August 2012

African Candace...

During our last few days in Tenerife we went shopping. We bought a few items to last us deep into the sail and the Guinea Field Service, and had to walk all the way back to the ship, located right at the end of the cruise ship dock. Candace walked the entire length of the dock (well over a kilometre) with her bag on her head! I was so proud of her... She's becoming African! :-)

Saturday, 18 August 2012

Farewell Tenerife!

Tenerife has been good to us, and we have been blessed by our time here. We have made the most of the reliable public transport system, visiting all over the island by bus and tram. We have also been blessed by our three Sundays worshipping at Silencio Church. This last Sunday, after the service, Pastor Bill and his wife took Candace and I out for a lovely Lebanese lunch. It was so great to spend time with such an amazing couple, on fire for God!

And thus it was with some sadness that the Africa Mercy, serenaded by Theodora's faithful trumpet, sailed out of the protection of Santa Cruz de Tenerife's sheltered harbour this past Thursday. (16th August.) Theodora is a Mercy Ships legend, having played his trumpet on almost every occasion since 1991 that the Mercy Ship has entered and departed Tenerife. He was absent from our arrival here some six or more weeks ago due to ill health, but he was back to see us off on our way to Guinea. It certainly meant a lot to many crew members, and there were a few teary eyes.

As we headed out, the tunes of some well-known hymns drifted over the waters. Amazing Grace, Great is Thy Faithfulness, How Great Thou Art and Onward Christian Soldiers reminded us that we are marching off to a very real spiritual battle that awaits us in Guinea. But it is also an exciting time as there is plenty of potential and lots to be done in the nation of Guinea. Please continue to pray for this nation and our time there!

We did some magnetic compass tests in the waters off Santa Cruz de Tenerife, before offloading our pilot and sailing south, down the east coast of the island. We spotted landmarks that we have visited on our excursions, including the lighthouse at Punta Abona, and of course the magnificent Mount Teide, standing high above all else.

And so we are now sailing a six-day sail to Guinea, hoping to arrive early on Wednesday morning. (22nd August.) I hope Guinea is ready for all that God has in store for it!

 It was a beautiful morning on the day of our departure.
 Theodora farewells us with his trumpet.
 Heading out into open water.
 Many friends were there to wave us off.
 Thank you Theodora for your lovely music! It has blessed this crew!
 Looking towards the opera house.
 The main plaza in Santa Cruz de Tenerife.
 The Auditorium of Tenerife.
 Santa Cruz de Tenerife.
 The city skyline.
 View towards Playa de Las Teresitas.
 Pilot boat approaches...
 Stands by...
 And heads back to port with the pilot onboard.
 Heading down the coast of Tenerife, leaving Santa Cruz behind.
 Interesting patterns on the hills.
 Mount Teide overlooks everything.
 The lighthouse at Punta Abona, where Candace and I were a couple of weeks ago.
 Wind turbines.
Candace and I.
Tenerife behind us. Bring on Guinea!