Thursday, June 07, 2007

June 2007 - Monrovia, Liberia

What a celebration it was when the Africa Mercy arrived in the port of Monrovia, Liberia. All 300 plus people on the Anastasis were out waving at us and welcoming us to the city. They were so excited to see the long awaited ship that took eight years to build.

There were many dangers. The first night we were in port, there were six swimmers trying to climb the ship and steal whatever they could. A week before we got there, the Anastasis had three armed robberies one night. A guy got on board swimming and held people at knife-point. You see, there are many sunken ships in the harbor and many that are abandoned. The companies that sent the ships to Monrovia abandon the ships and leave the men aboard. The men can't go on ashore since they can't clear immigration, so they swim the filthy waters to steal from other ships. One of the ships next to us was fed by those on the Anastasis. The men were very thankful.

Many robberies in town as the cars stop, they reach in the cars and steal cell phones, cameras, whatever is valuable.

About 80 percent of the people in Liberia are unemployed so there are people all over the streets. Here is an example of many houses in Monrovia and Liberia. In the countryside, all houses are tree branches and poles cut from trees.

I got to an orphanage to see some of the native children. Many of the native Africans wear no undergarments but just shorts, maybe a shirt, dress for girls, and some wear shoes. The kids were so adorable and fun to play with. We stuck two poles carved from branches in the ground and tied a rope to the two at the top. Someone brought a blow up beach ball so we played volleyball. We must have played an hour under the intense African sun and heat and humidity.

Boy is it humid in Liberia. When we go out in public (off the ship) we must wear pants or dresses for girls. Included are a few pictures I took. There were about 30 kids there at the school but not all were attending since they couldn't pay for a uniform, books, and all. It costs about $200 for each child to attend school. There are precious children both boys and girls. One little boy wrote his name on a piece of paper and gave it to me. His name was Sackie.

What a difference in how they worship the Lord. The Liberians would dance and sing all through their service, and I mean shake and dance. They didn't have an organ or guitar or drums, but they make noise. They knew how to keep a beat with their homemade instruments and it was wonderful to hear. There was a sermon preached and they tried to keep it under two hours for us foreigners. We all took water with us as I could feel the sweat dripping down my back for two hours. It was a special mother's day sunday, about one month after ours in America. They even dance and sing when shaking hands with the visitors lined up front in the church.


President Johnson Surileaf, the first lady president of an African nation, visited the Africa Mercy. It was a super day and she came with many soldiers and body guards. The soldiers were in bullet proof vests, helmets, and M-16's lining the dock and standing high on top of shipping containers. Here you see in the picture the men all dressed up for battle. The previous president, who was very cruel to the people, still has supporters in the country. So they have to be prepared at all times.

I thought I would show you our children. Joy, Matt, and John are having fun with cans of silly string at Matt's 14th birthday. They soon had the silly string all over everyone and in their hair. But it was fun. Can you tell which three are the Siver kids. The three red heads on the left. They are gorgeous.

Sunday, May 20, 2007

May 2007 - Sailing To Africa

What an exciting trip it has been. When leaving Rotterdam, the waves turned bigger. Then after two days of big waves, the waves got bigger. When we passed through the Bay of Biscay off the coast of France/Spain, we encountered Force 12 winds. This equates to over 90 mph winds and the waves were slamming into our ship and over us. Chairs were sliding acrossed our dining room and took out two tables bolted into the floor on deck 5, toppled chairs two high on deck 6, and damaged a small amount of medicine when their cabinet came off its track on deck 3. Many of us went running to help out when this happened, especially the medicine spillage.

Here, Jeff is moving computers from the warehouse in Blythe to the Africa Mercy.

The good news is, I never got sick. I had never sailed before so thank God. The ship was really rocking back and forth, too. For those who have been on cruise ships with stabilizers on the ships, we don't have them. It rolls from side to side.

This is a picture of a double decker bus. I caught these zipping around Blythe, England. The bus drivers drove these just like a car around the city. I had always heard of the double decker buses in England and now I got a picture of one.


Friday, April 13, 2007

April 2007 - Jeff is Africa Bound

Jeff was selected to go to the Africa Mercy in England where he will sail with it to Liberia, West Africa. It will be a wonderful opportunity to see what goes on aboard the ship and how they minister to the local Africans. He will be there from April 17 - June 2, 2007. The computer training and knowledge he has acquired at the headquarters in Texas will help him on ship with the set up of computer equipment.

- That he will be used by the Lord
- For Mary Ann and our children and their health
- For our children's school classes and that they do exceedingly well

----------------------------MORE COMING SOON ----------------

Saturday, January 06, 2007

January 2007 - Jeff's Work

Jeff has been working some on the computer servers at Mercy Ships. Mercy Ships recently purchased a Microsoft server (their first since the other servers are Linux). Jeff watched the Microsoft developer implement the server and took many notes. Then he proceeded in installing Microsoft Server 2003 on two other Microsoft servers and installing the software for finance.

This past week, he has worked with people from Sierra Leone, North Carolina, Boston, and England. His work at the headquarters involves people from the ships and operating locations worldwide.

This semester, he will be taking a computer course with a junior college. It will be fun to finally get some instruction on computers. The course is about Windows XP.

December 2006 - Tyler Zoo

It was fun to take a Saturday and go see the local zoo. Tyler has a nice zoo since all the animals are in their natural surroundings. All the animals, except birds, are in their natural surroundings. We have not visited much in our two years with Mercy Ships, so it was relaxing to see where the local people go.

November 2006 - Grandma LuLu Visits

It was a great time at Thanksgiving. Mary Ann's mother visited from Florida. It is always great to have relatives with us especially at Thanksgiving. We traveled to see Lake Tyler. We had never seen the lakes and it was fun seeing all the pretty homes. The lakes were gorgeous.

Monday, October 23, 2006

October 23, 2006 - Siver Family Farm Trip

It is so nice to finally feel the fall cool weather. It is about 70 during the day and 47 at night. It is absolutely delightful. The leaves are changing colors and falling to the ground. Tyler Rose Festival was last weekend and they have some beautiful roses.

Jeff has been busy training other computer men to go to the ships. It seems God has gifted him with this skill to train others. He is helping to install some new computer servers for Mercy Ships. Jeff may be going to the two ships to install the servers. Exciting.

Mary Ann isn't working with Mercy Ships right now. She is working to support her husband to continue in the ministry.

Our boys are busy with football. John travels to Texas High to play their undefeated junior varsity team. The city is Texarkana, Texas, about 3 hours away.

The picture is our family visiting some friends at their farm. They shot many water mocasin snakes this last year in the pond behind us.

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

May 5, 2006 - Guatemala Trip

Jeff had an incredible opportunity to go with other people from Mercy Ships and his church to some orphanages in Guatemala. First, they visited a handicapped hospital for children in Antigua, Guatemala. The children were nearly all in wheelchairs and most of them need help feeding themselves. It was extremely difficult watching the children in their wheelchairs not able to do anything. So we would lift them out and put them on blanks on the ground. It was a highlight for them and humbling for us. Some of the children had brain hemorages from hitting their heads on the steel beds. The beds were more like cages, though. There wasn't enough money to pay for workers.

The first picture is of Jeff Siver and a little girl called Gloria. They actually fed medicine to all the children so they were sedated during the day and then at night during their sleep.

The second part of the trip we went to Casa Bernabe. It was up on a mountain and much better shape. But here too, the children wanted attention. I was often chopping wood for their stove and one little boy helped carry the wood for me. The children were much better off here but still lacked the attention they so desperately needed.

The second picture is of a girl who was a teenager at the catholic hospital in Antigua, Guatemala. All of the children were in wheelchairs. This picture is when we took them out to a fast food restaurant in the city. All the sidewalks and streets were of bricks in Antigua. We had to feed the children or they ate nothing. Most of them were uncapable to feed themselves.