Tuesday, September 14, 2010

First Week in California

We've had a GREAT first week back in California. We're amazed it's only been one week. We've had a wonderful time catching up with friends and family. One of the major hightlights of the week was meeting our new baby neice, Daisy Anne. She was born on September 1, while we were in Hawaii. We actually had FOUR neices born during our two years on board the Logos Hope. My (Jennifer) brother and his wife had their second, a baby girl Lauren. And John's sister and brother-in-law had twin daughters June 2009 and then their third on September 1. Below are a few adorable pictures of our neices.

John with baby Daisy. She was just eight days old in this picture.

I'm in love with my new baby neice! I love being an aunt to four beautiful neices and a nephew.

The twins are just over 15 months old now. They are identical, so John and I were having trouble telling them apart!

True love.
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Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Back in California!

We arrived in California last night after our wonderful week in Hawaii. We were so surprised when our closest friends were all at the airport to welcome us! We are so thankful for an awesome welcome back to California. We'll be in California for about six weeks before relocating to Florida. We're so excited to spend these six weeks resting and recouping, and also connecting with John's family, our friends and our home church.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

More Hawaii Pictures

A few more Hawaii pictures for you to enjoy.

My baby neice Lauren! She is such a doll baby!

Pink ladies! Posing in front of Diamond Head -- me, sister-in-law Jen, mother Carol and Grandmother Mary.

John really enjoyed surfing several times along Waikiki as Hawaii is the home of surfing! Here he poses with a wooden surf board from long ago.

Happy 1st Birthday Lauren!
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We had a WONDERFUL week in Hawaii celebrating my Grandparent's 65th anniversary. What a momentous occasion! We loved having the whole family together -- we had a 4-bedroom condo, so we all got to stay together! We really DID Hawaii.... we visited the Pearl Harbor Memorial, went to a luau, took hula and ukulele lessons, and went parasailing, kayaking, snorkeling, surfing, paddle board surfing, and even swam with huge sea turtles! We had a fabulous time! We also had the wonderful privilege of celebrating my niece Lauren's 1st birthday with her on Saturday. This was our first time meeting Lauren as she was born while we were on board the ship. We absolutely loved getting to play with her and her big brother Gavin all week! We are so thankful to God for this great celebration. What a wonderful week!

Ready for the luau with all our leis on!

Beautiful palm leaf crowns.

I love this picture of my brother Scott playing with his baby Lauren at the luau.

Beautiful family!
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Saturday, August 28, 2010

Re-Entry at OM USA

We've had a wonderful week here in Tyrone, Georgia debriefing at OM USA. We've had lots of great meetings with OM USA staff, but have also had time to relax, rest and recoup. Highlights were connecting with OM USA missionaries that are also from our home church PCC and spending time with a friend that lives locally that we worked alongside on board. We praise God for this wonderful transition week -- transitioning from ship life back into life in the USA. Tomorrow (Sunday) we fly to Honolulu to meet up with Jennifer's family to celebrate her Grandparent's 65th wedding anniversary. We can't hardly wait!

In our cute little apartment.... still wearing our African clothes! :)

Tuesday, August 24, 2010


We had a wonderful last week on board, so wanted to share a few pictures from our various farewells.

Our last ship family night!

Jennifer's training services team had a nice farewell dinner for her.

Jennifer's STEP (short-term exposure program) also threw a fun farewell party for her.

John's boss Randy and his wife Kim took us out for a wonderful farewell lunch.

We're Home in the USA!

We arrived home safely to the USA last evening! Wow, so crazy being back in the USA after being gone for such a long time. We traveled over 30 hours from Liberia (through Brussels and Chicago) and arrived into Atlanta for our OM USA debriefing. My favorite airport moment was the US Immigrations lady greeting us with "Welcome Home." I actually got a little choked up. We are so thankful to be home. We're staying in an apartment on the OM USA campus here in Atlanta and it's so wonderful! Thanks to all of you that were praying for travel mercies. All of our luggage made it in one piece, which is a real praise! :)

Friday, August 20, 2010

One millionth visitor to Logos Hope!

One in a Million!

Logos Hope receives her one millionth visitor in Monrovia, Liberia.

LIBERIA - 19 August, 2010

A major milestone was reached as the one millionth visitor climbed the gangway to visit OM's ship Logos Hope in Monrovia, Liberia, this week. Francis Mulbaha, a local university student, was welcomed at 1300 local time on Wednesday 18 August by Director Gian Walser (Switzerland) and Captain Dirk Colenbrander (Netherlands). The ship's mascot El Capitano was on hand along with crewmembers in national costumes. Excited, as well as somewhat overwhelmed by all the attention, Mr. Mulbaha said he had heard about the visit on the radio and was keen to come on board to find books for his studies as well as his family. To mark the occasion, Mr. Mulbaha was presented with a gift of books and a discount voucher for the onboard book fair.

"To reach a million visitors is a wonderful testimony to God's grace and faithfulness," said OM Ships International CEO Peter Nicoll. "It is our privilege and a great responsibility to welcome so many people in these past eighteen months and we have seen so many lives changed as a result. This is only possible because of the faithfulness of partners around the world who support this ministry financially and in prayer."

Just a few days previously, Logos Hope was honoured to receive the President of the Republic of Liberia, Her Excellency Ellen Johnson Sirleaf. "Knowledge is the one thing that propels any person, any group, any nation," said Her Excellency. "So when you come and get us exposed to the books you have, you contribute a whole lot to our rebuilding process." After a short welcome programme, the President mingled with local citizens on the Visitor Experience Deck, especially the young ones. The President has a passion for children, books and education and was very appreciative of the value of the visit of Logos Hope to her nation, still striving to recover from the devastation of civil war.

As well as the high quality educational and Christian literature and events taking place on board during the visit, Logos Hope teams are involved in development projects on shore, including building projects, and medical and dental clinics. Accompanying Mr. Mulhaba was his brother, who came hoping to receive dental treatment. He was able to go straight from the ship to the dental clinic taking place just ten minutes away at the Redemption Hospital.

Liberia is the third country in Logos Hope's tour of West Africa, following visits to Freetown, Sierra Leone and the ports of Tema and Takoradi in Ghana. In Sierra Leone, libraries in rural communities were established using books donated by Logos Hope together with the National Postal Service. Training for librarians was also provided on board to ensure the newly established libraries are well looked after and can provide access to life-changing literature for many years to come. On board, seminars on establishing and running a small business in line with Christian ethics and principles were provided in partnership with the international organisation 'A Call to Business'.

During the visit to Takoradi, Ghana, a new record for visitors to Logos Hope in one day was set, with 12,028 visitors coming on board on the last Saturday in port. Interest in Christian literature was immense, and a Bible was bought on board every 52 seconds the ship was open! Every visitor has the opportunity to hear about God's love for them and many lives have been changed for eternity as people respond to the Good News.

Since the ship's launch into ministry in February 2009, Logos Hope has visited 39 ports in 30 countries in Europe, the Caribbean and West Africa, to bring 'knowledge, help and hope'. Over two million Christian and educational books have been distributed through the book fair already.

For latest news and further information including the future port schedule, visit www.omships.org. To support the ongoing ministry of Logos Hope, please contact your local OM office, or give online at www.omships.org/donate.

Ken Miller

Communications Manager

OM Ships International

Monday, August 16, 2010

One Week

We can hardly believe we have just one week left on board the Logos Hope.  Please be praying for our last week -- for all the packing, saying goodbye to friends and bringing closure to our time.  We have had a wonderful two years on board the ship.  Time flies when you're having fun!  We knew the time would fly and it did.  Thanks!

Saturday, August 14, 2010

The President of Liberia Visits the Logos Hope Today!

We had the incredible privilege of welcoming Her Excellency Ellen Johnson Sirleaf to the ship this morning.  We hosted a welcoming ceremony for her and her staff, in which John and I wore our American cowboy costumes to welcome her.  She loved all of the national costumes!  We are so thankful for her visit today and for her support of our ship.  What an awesome honor to welcome a President on board the Logos Hope!!

Her Excellency Sirleaf is the first female President to have been elected in all of Africa (elected in 2006).  She has done an outstanding job in working towards rebuilding their economy after their devastating civil war.

AIDS Hospital Visit

Yesterday, I (Jennifer) had the awesome opportunity to visit an AIDS hospital here in Monrovia.  Along with three others from the ship, we presented a program  to the patients -- first to the women and children and then again for the men.  I gave an encouraging message about God's strength -- that the joy of the Lord is our strength.  We brought gift bags to each of the patients filled with basic necessities (soap, toothpaste, toothbrush, comb, etc.).  We really enjoyed our visit and loved meeting each and every one of them and having the chance to pray with them.  The patients receive visitors very seldom, so it was such a privilege to visit them and to bring to them the message of hope.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

New ShipShots Video

Watch the latest ShipShot video called "Hope Team." This is a great example of the types of teams we send out into the community on a daily basis. Enjoy! Click here.

Saturday, August 7, 2010

OM Ships Website

This week, John and I participated in a re-entry training as we’re preparing to head home in a few weeks. The OM Ships website has a short article about it on the website today www.omships.org. If you click on the photo, you can see John on the far left next to the window with a green shirt on and I’m next to him with a red shirt on. Check it out!


Liberia is a country on the west coast of Africa, bordered by Sierra Leone, Guinea, Cote d’Ivoire, and the Atlantic Ocean. The population is approximately 3.5 million people and cover 43,000 square miles. The capital of Liberia is Monrovia (where we’re berthed) and over half of Liberia’s population lives in Monrovia.

The history of Liberia is unique among African nations because of its relationship with the United States. Liberia was founded and colonized by freed American slaves with the help of a private organization called the American Colonization Society in 1821-1822, on the premise that former American slaves would have greater freedom and equality there. These colonists formed an elite group in Liberian society, and, in 1847, they founded the Republic of Liberia (Liberia denotes “liberty”), establishing a government modeled on that of the United States, naming Monrovia, their capital city, after James Monroe, the fifth president of the United States and a prominent supporter of the colonization.

A military-led coup in 1980 overthrew then-president William Tolbert, which marked the beginning of a period of instability that eventually led to two civil war that left hundreds of thousands of people dead and devastated the country's economy. Today, Liberia is recovering from the lingering effects of the civil war and related economic dislocation, but statistics indicate that about 85% of the population are living on less than $1.25 a day. Liberia is considered one of the worlds poorest countries, with 85% unemployment.

As of 2006, Liberia has the highest population growth rate in the world. Similar to its neighbors, it has a large youth population, with half of the population under the age of 18.

Friday, August 6, 2010

Hello Monrovia, Liberia!

We arrived in Monrovia, Liberia this morning! We are really looking forward to our two weeks here. We had a really smooth sail for our last voyage, so that was a big answer to prayer! We even saw a group of about 50 dolphins jumping and swimming right by our ship, so that was so special for our last sail.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Goodbye Takoradi, Ghana!

Yesterday evening, we set sail from Takoradi. Hard to believe this is our last voyage! I (Jennifer) got a little choked up thinking about embarking on our last sail and heading into our last port. We still can't believe how fast the time has flown. We're due to arrive into Monrovia, Liberia on Friday afternoon. In our two weeks in Takoradi, we had 63,972 visitors. Praise God!!

Sunday, August 1, 2010

AIDS Presentations in Jomoro District

Yesterday was a FANTASTIC day -- what a dream come true!  We spent the entire day giving AIDS Awareness presentations to remote villages in the Jomoro District of Ghana (by the border of Cote d'Ivoire).  We were with a team of seven people from the ship and we each had a section of the presentation that we gave.  Before giving our presentation to the villagers, we first had to stop and see the chief of each village to gain his permission to address his village.  What an experience.  It was one of those days that I had to keep pinching myself to believe this was really happening.  What an incredible experience and honor both have been able to be on this team.  Enjoy the pictures!

Record Breaking Day!

Yesterday, we had a record breaking day for the number of visitors on one day.  We had 12,028 visitors!  Our previous record was just over 8,000 on one day, so we beat the record by 4,000!!  Thank you Lord!  We are overwhelmed with joy by the number of people here in Takoradi that have been visiting our ship.  What a day to rejoice!

Local Church this Morning

This morning, we had a wonderful time at a local church here in Takoradi.  We were on a team with two other friends -- Steve (USA) and Alex (Russia).  The service was so lovely... but long!  Nearly 4 hours!  :)  We sang so many beautiful songs, complete with African drums and dancing of course.  We delivered a ship presentation, drama, and a testimony and also gave a short presentation to the children's Sunday school as well.  We felt so loved and welcomed.  There was 200+ people in attendance and it was so nice seeing all of them dressed in their brightly colored traditional African clothing.  This will probably be the last local church we visit, so we were so thankful for this a wonderful experience.

Friday, July 30, 2010

Chiefs Event + Nursing School

Yesterday was a really tremendous day!  In the morning, John and I were hosts for an exciting event on board.  We had an event for all the chiefs in the area.  Wow, what an experience!  It's certainly not everyday that you meet 50 African chiefs dressed in their beautiful robes and lavish gold jewelry.  The event coordinator asked several crew members to crew in their "national costumes" as the chiefs were also dressed in their traditional clothing.  John and I dressed like cowboys and really had fun! :)

Later in the day, I (Jennifer) joined a team of ladies from the ship to give an AIDS seminar to a local nursing school.  What an honor and a privilege!  We did a one-hour seminar on the social and emotional impacts of HIV and AIDS.  There was about 150 nurses in attendance.  They were very attentive and interested in our presentation.  It was so encouraging to see so many young African men and women desiring to become nurses in their country.  Now I can add to my list of experiences "college lecturer!"  ;)  

Check out the OM Ships Website!

The posting on the OM Ship's website today is about the school visits that John has been involved with as an actor. Check it out - www.omships.org. Interesting!

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

John as the Captain!

A few postings back (July 16), I wrote about John's debut in our children's program "The Greatest Treasure." Since, he's performed the play many times, so we thought you'd enjoy seeing a few pictures of John as "Captain Scally Wag" with his fellow sailors "Skittle" and "One-Eye Pete." :)

New ShipShots Video!

A new ShipShots video was released today called "Legacy of Libraries." Enjoy! Click here.

Marriage Revival Event

On Sunday afternoon, John and I MC'd an event on board called "Marriage Revival." What a GREAT event! We had 120 locals come on board for an afternoon of teaching and renewing their marriage. The main speaker was a local pastor/ professor (of business!) and did a fabulous job. In addition to enjoying MC'ing the event, we also really enjoyed the messages. We got lots of great new tips and ideas for a healthy marriage... from the African point of view! ;) What a blessing.

Saturday, July 24, 2010


In each port the ship visits, we have a program called "DEEP." The program is for locals to come on board each day to volunteer in one of the departments on board and also go through a training program. DEEP stands for Discipleship, Exposure to Missions, Expression of Love, and Practical Work. In many of the ports, John and I co-lead a training session called "Show." The session is all about how God shows His love for us; and in return, how we show His love to others. Yesterday was the last session we'll lead for DEEP before going home. Thanks to God, the session went great! We have loved meeting the volunteers in each port. They are such a HUGE help to us and we count it a blessing that so many people in each port have the desire to be apart of this great program! Enjoy the pictures!

John did such a good job teaching the group. We thank God for so many public speaking opportunities on the ship over the past two years! John has become quite a good public speaker if I do say so myself. ;)

The group of volunteers working through some questions. We had about 50 volunteers yesterday!

We love interacting with the volunteers. They are always so friendly, lively and fun! They always make us laugh. ;)

While John teaches the session, I act as the "scribe." One of the topics we discuss is how God describes His love for us in the Bible in so many ways. He loves us like a hen loves her chicks; like a shepherd love his flock and like a father and a mother love their children. Here I'm taking notes about how God loves us like a mother. They always have such good answers!

Thursday, July 22, 2010

One month!

We can hardly believe that today marks our one month count down until we leave the ship. Two years had FLOWN! We'll be flying home in our next port, Monrovia, Liberia on August 22. Please pray that we'd have an impacting and meaningful last month on the Logos Hope!

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Goodbye Tema, Hello Takoradi

Early yesterday morning, we set sail from Tema, Ghana to Takoradi, Ghana.  We arrived into Takoradi early this morning.  We are thankful that it was a relatively short sail as it was ROUGH!  Whew!  A few times last night, we thought we might roll out of bed.  :)  Tema was an excellent port for the ship.  In the 14 days that we were open for visitors, we had over 52,000 people come on board.  On our busiest day, we had 8,000 in one day!  We sold lots and lots of books - about 137,000 books in total.  And the most exciting part of the book sales was that we sold one Bible every minute our book fair was open!  We're really looking forward to this second port in Ghana.  Hard to believe this is our 2nd to last port!

Saturday, July 17, 2010


As many of our readers know, mentoring is one of my main passions in life (Jennifer). So I am thrilled to announce that last night, we kicked off a six-week course for crew on board that are interested in learning more about mentoring and being mentors for younger crew members on board. When one of our chaplains on board mentioned that she really wanted to run this course, I (of course!) offered to help train. Last night we had our first session and it went really well. We're going to run the course on both Friday and Saturday nights. We had 40 people sign up which is so encouraging! Last night, I trained on the Mentoring Continuum and the Constellation Model of Mentoring Relationships (both are concepts that I've learned since joining the ship). Before coming to the ship, I worked at a mentoring program for at-risk youth, so most of my knowledge of mentoring was between a caring, stable adult and an at-risk youth. Since coming to the ship, my understanding of mentoring has broadened quite a bit and I've become more familiar with the adult-to-adult type of mentoring. Over the past several months, I've actually been mentoring four younger female crew members which has been an absolute joy!

Friday, July 16, 2010

John acts in "The Greatest Treasure"!

Since the Logos Hope took her maiden voyage 17 months ago, we've been having school visits in each port.  We bring several classes into our 400-seat theater for a fun kid's program almost each day the ship is open.  The program is called "The Greatest Treasure."  On busy days, we have up to five programs a day! The program is very interactive and exciting for the kids.  A group of sailors are looking for the "greatest treasure" which turns out to the be the Word of God.  We also share about God's love and what our ship is all about. 

John and I have helped with the program before (welcoming children, etc.), but have never acted in the play before.  Since we're in our final stretch, we decided to go ahead and try something new and participate in a training to learn the play.  I'm happy to say that John played the part of the Captain twice this week.  He did a GREAT job!  I was so proud of his "pirate" captain voice.  So cute.  The kids love it.  We're so happy to still have the opportunity to try new things even in our final months on board.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

New ShipShots Video!

Check out the latest ShipShots video about our Atlantic crossing. Click here!

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

John's 30th Birthday!

We just returned to the ship after a few days of break on shore celebrating John's 30th birthday. We had a wonderful time! We stayed at a fun little place called Big Milly's Backyard in Kokrobite (pronounced cock-rah-bee-tee), a small fishing village about two hours from where our ship is berthed in Tema. We had a great time resting and practicing our new hobby... African djembe drumming! :)

John's birthday on the beach!

Our drumming instructor, Master Okoe.

My new little friends!

Our new friend, Thomas, the head waiter at Big Milly's. We loved connecting with all the locals working at Big Milly's. What a great staff.

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Happy 4th of July!

Happy 4th of July to all of our American readers! Hope you have a wonderful day celebrating the gift of our independence today with your friends and family. Hard to believe we're in Ghana today celebrating an American holiday! :) All of the Americans on board will celebrate together tonight with a BBQ. May today be a wonderful day of celebration for you. May we never forget the amazing freedoms we have as Americans and all those who sacrificed their lives to enable those freedoms. May God bless America!

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Check out the OM Ships Website!

Our friend Emmanuel Shaw (that runs the Mercy Children's Orphanage in Sierra Leone) is featured today on our OM Ships website (www.omships.org)!  The article will be on the main page for only a few days, so check it out ASAP!  How wonderful!

Hello Ghana!

We arrived into Tema, Ghana last night around midnight!  We haven't been off the ship yet today, but are anxious to go out and explore soon! 

Friday, July 2, 2010

John worked so hard in Calaba Town!

I thought you'd get a kick out of seeing all the different types of jobs that John had during our time in Calaba Town -- digging, carrying water (on his head African style!), pumping water at the well, and breaking up rock to make gravel.  Just a few of the many ways John served the people of Calaba Town during our week there.

Thursday, July 1, 2010


Ghana is a country located in West Africa bordered by Côte d'Ivoire to the west, Burkina Faso to the north, Togo to the east, and the Gulf of Guinea to the south. The word Ghana means "Warrior King" and is derived from the Ghana Empire. The capital of Ghana is Accra. The official language is English as Ghana was a former British colony; however, most Ghanaians also speak at least one local language.

Ghana has a population of about 24 million people and is home to more than 100 different ethnic groups. Ghana has not seen the kind of ethnic conflict that has created civil wars in many other African countries.

Ghana, known for its gold in colonial times, remains one of the world's top gold producers. Other exports such as cocoa, timber, electricity, diamond, bauxite, and manganese are major sources of foreign exchange.

Here are a few interesting facts about Ghana:

-Ghana is the second largest producer of cocoa in the world.

-Ghana is one of West Africa's most popular tourist destinations.

-In the 1970s, Shirley Temple Black, a former world-famous actress, was appointed America's ambassador to Ghana.

-Lake Volta is one of the largest artificial lakes of the world (more than twice the size of Rhode Island).

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Calaba Town

What are so thankful to experience Africa together!

A few girls from our team, along with our local friends.

All week, we drank water from this little bags!

One of the last nights, we had a dance party with some of the locals. So fun!!

John and I, along with a team of seven others from the ship, spent June 21 - 27 in the community of Calaba Town. Our task was to build a church for the local community. There was a "church" in the town, but it was just four sticks with material around it, providing just a little shelter. Over the week, we build a really solid foundation and begin the construction of the church. What a week! We stayed at the home of the pastor, which was quite a tight fit for nine of us, plus him! We certainly had a interesting time as there was no running water and electricity only came on for a few hours twice during the week. We were so thankful for the opportunity to stay among the locals for the week though. We found it fascinating to observe how they do their daily tasks -- washing, cooking, ironing, and bathing. What a eye-opening experience for us. Wow.

We built incredible friendships with the locals. A group of the church members helped us each day in building the church. They were so strong and such an incredible help. They were so warm, kind and open with us. We also loved meeting all of the children of the village. They LOVED playing with us and we loved playing with them too! :) Two very special friends we made were Mustapha and Patrick, whom both dedicated their lives to the Lord. Praise God! This week will certainly be a week we'll remember for the rest of our lives. God truly broke our hearts for the things that break His.