Keith R. Brinkman serving with Mercy Ships. This is another way for me to communicate with you all what is happening. I hope you enjoy seeing the photos and entries.

Monday, December 27, 2010

Christmas Day on the Ship

We were so blessed to be able to celebrate Christmas on the ship - even in shipyard! The Southern African Shipyards allowed all the crew from Appelsbosch (including our children) to come to the ship for Christmas Day! A group of us volunteered to help with setting up and cleaning for the celebration and we were able to stay overnight the ship on ship on Friday night. This meant I was able to sleep in my own bed in my cabin even though it was hot in the 90's and so enjoyed being home.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Christmas South Africa

Christmas in South Africa

Greetings from South Africa to you all my family and friends around the globe at this special time of the year as we approach Christmas.

Our chaplains have led us in the four Sundays of Advent during our Sunday Evening Services at Appelsbosch. The first candle is a symbol of Hope, the second a symbol of Preparation, the third of Joy and then the fourth candle reminds us that Jesus comes to bring Peace to both the world and to people's hearts. Without Christ there is no peace in this world. He also shared this quote from an anonymous source: Peace: It does not mean to be in a place where there is no noise, trouble or hard work. It means to be in the midst of those things and still be calm in your heart.

“For a child is born to us, a son is given to us. And the government will rest on his shoulders. These will be his royal titles: Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, and Prince of Peace. His ever expanding, peaceful government will never end. He will rule forever with fairness and justice from the throne of his ancestor David. The passionate commitment of the LORD Almighty will guarantee this!” Isaiah 9:6-7

We have had some of our familiar activities leading up to Christmas, though since our community is divided it has been a bit different. We have those living on the ship in Durban, those of us non-technical crew out here at Appelsbosch and then also our long term crew who are away on extended leave during this unique period. Here at Appelsbosch we have had the four Sundays of Advent, time to decorate the tree (a friend said it looks like a Charlie Brown tree – see photo to the left), time to build gingerbread houses (which we did last night – see photo below), worship services with carols and all. For Christmas Day we have permission for the group living at Appelsbosch who are not traveling to go to the Africa Mercy for the day, which I am looking forward to our time together. This will be my first Christmas in the Southern Hemisphere.

Merry Christmas and UKhisimusi omuhle (which is in the local language of Zulu)

Prayer Requests: ** Safety for those living on and off the ship ** The final stages of the shipyard phase (as my friend Greenfield put it ‘that everything is done accurately and correctly the first time’ ** For our Advance Team in Sierra Leone preparing the way for our 2011 Field Service including surgical screening which will take place next month prior to the ship’s arrival.

Wednesday, November 03, 2010

KRB Update Appelsbosch South Africa

KRB Update #2160 November 3, 2010
Keith R. Brinkman
Appelsbosch South Africa

Greetings from Kwa Zulu Natal, Republic of South Africa. As I have previously mentioned the Africa Mercy crew have been divided – the technical crew who continue to live and work on board the ship while in shipyard and drydock and the balance of the crew (myself included) who are being housed at Appelsbosch, an abandoned college left empty after the defeat of apartheid in the mid 90’s. One of the responsibilities of the Advance Team for South Africa was to find suitable accommodations and I remember the first drive to this property back in April with Brenda and Cathy.

Someone asked about Appelsbosch and the history is interesting and I thought I would share a bit. A church was established at Appelsbosch by missionaries from the Swedish Mission. The founder of Appelsbosch was the late Reverend J. Jungquist around 1883. Their aim was to bring the Gospel, the Light (schools) and Health (hospital). A Lutheran church is just across the road from the college where we worshipped our first Sunday. We are living at the former college campus and there are other elementary and high school schools very close. The hospital serves in the greater area and is part of the Department of Health for the government. I have been to the hospital twice with crew members who needed to see a doctor.

A fellow crew member, Elaine Winn, serves in our Communications Department as a writer wrote this paragraph and I think her choice of words is much more descriptive than mine. “It is 3,000 feet up in the mountains in a very remote area about an hour from Durban. The land is rolling and beautiful, with many canyons called ‘drifts’ which are often seven thousand feet deep. Despite this, all the land is cultivated and farmed, neatly segmented into various shapes for growing sugar cane, corn, bananas, or trees. As we drive along the hilly, curving road, the vast expanse of farmlands looks like a giant African quilt of greens and browns. It can take your breath away!
There is a marked dichotomy in the residents; many blacks – Zulus mostly, descendants of the tribes that were forced into the area by the government many years ago and whites descendants of the Dutch, German or Swedish farmers and missionaries who came here in the 1800s. There has been much strife in the past but they are beginning to learn to work together for their mutual benefit, which is the only way it can successfully work. Both are South African now and neither wants to change that. Although the area is well into its spring to summer season, we have many days that seem to be more like late November at home (New Hampshire, USA). When the clouds roll in, as they seem to very often, we realize we are actually IN them. A light mist covers us and visibility can be cut off very suddenly. Then again, we will have a mid summer day of high 80’s. But I understand when the summer hits, we will know it.” Last Thursday, we had a storm roll in and lost power for over seven hours and there was hail – pinging on my window so hard I thought it would break. Some of our West African crew had never seen hail before.

Prayer Requests: ** Safety for those living on and off the ship ** Dental project working with the Department of Health – providing services and education + their upcoming extreme outreach providing services to the homeless in Durban in partnership with a local church ** That the shipyard phase will finish on schedule and without problems – I went to the ship on Saturday – seems like I had been away for a long time (actually only two months).

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Group photo of Newcastle - Mental Health

During my visit to the venue for the Mental Health / Whole Person Ministry workshop, Debra Bell from our Communications Department took this photo of us all. Great group of male church leaders who are now friends and brothers in the Lord.

Lamin Conteh from The Gambia

In memory of my friend from The Gambia here in West Africa - Lamin Conteh who died on the 13th of October due to drowning as he gave his life to save a friend. My last communications with him was at the end of September as he stayed in touch via email.

Mental Health / Whole Person Ministry Workshop

Last week, I was able to go to Newcastle, Kwa Zulu Natal for a couple days for the mental health/whole person ministry workshop for 24 church leaders from the TAM Christian Council. Dr. Lyn and Clementine had 70 hours of training with these church leaders over two weeks. It was a privilege to visit them. Part of my role here in South Africa was to make initial contacts with the Christian Councils and see what might be possible related to this type of training plus to assist with administration and logistics.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Shipyard Generator Replacement

This is a photo of one of the new MAN generators to be installed on the Africa Mercy. They will be able to produce all the electrical power needed while sailing and while in port and being able to do that with less noise pollution and will offer better fuel efficiency also.

Looking at the engineering space of Africa Mercy

The Africa Mercy is in the graving dock/drydock now here in Durban - here is a photo looking in on the engineering space as they have been taking out the old and preparing to bring in the new generators for decades of good life. The reports are that the progress is going along well. Please keep praying.

Saturday, October 09, 2010

KRB Update Programs in South Africa

KRB Update #2159 October 08, 2010
Keith R. Brinkman
Programs in South Africa

Greetings from Kwa Zulu Natal, Republic of South Africa. As the Africa Mercy is in the drydock at the shipyard currently up on blocks, we do have some programs that are active here in South Africa. Those three programs are: Mental Health Training, Dental Care and the Eye Project. Here is a little more information on those:
Mental Health / Whole Person Ministry: Our team has been working with church leaders here in this province to offer training in Mental Health & Whole Person Ministry. As part of my role on the Advance Team, I researched and connected with possible partners for this training. I am grateful for Mxolisi Nyuswa, who is the director at the Kwa Zulu Regional Christian Council. Our team has offered four courses with them in Pietermaritzburg, Pongola, Eshowe and Mbazwana for a total of 96 participants. Their last training seminar is happening now and will continue till next week with the Thukela Amajuba Mzinyathi Christian Council (TAMCC) which is led by Rev. Gugu Shelembe. We are really believing that this will help to make an impact in the Christian community and that they will share what they have learned with their churches and other leaders. Here is a quote from one of the participants Pastor Gumede: “God can heal psychologically, mentally and socially… but it will start with their heart. First they must change their mind before their spirit can be changed. Then they can accept Jesus. They must then apologize to their victims and ask for forgiveness, even if they are in jail for life.” He has found this training seminar extremely helpful for dealing with members of his congregation and the prisoners – especially in dealing with trauma and conflict.

Dental Care: In partnership with the Department of Health, a smaller version of our Dental team is going to rural clinics. They are offering training for some of their dentists in specific surgical skills (incision and drainage, removal of impacted teeth). The Dental team is doing dental procedures for up to 1,000 patients and some dental hygiene services. They are also going into the public schools and doing sessions on basic oral health with a goal of 5,000 students.

Eye Project: In partnership with the Mercy Ships Southern Africa office and the Fred Hollows Foundation, our Eye Team professionals are working in another province – the Eastern Cape. They will be in three locations – Port Elizabeth, Queenstown and Umthatha. Training will be provided both to surgeons, surgical nurses and the community eye care workers. We are hoping to assist to build sustainable capacity of the local eye care system. I enjoyed recently being able to visit them for a few days in September to see how things are progressing and to have a few meetings.

Prayer Requests: ** Safety for those living on and off the ship ** Training Participants - church leaders participating in the mental health training ** Dental project working with the Department of Health – providing services and education ** Eye project working at 3 locations in the Eastern Cape ** Our community as we are separated

Monday, October 04, 2010

Old Generators removed from the AFM

The Africa Mercy is in drydock here in Durban, South Africa. As you see in this photo from this past weekend, they are removing one of the generators through a large hole in the side of the ship. The removal of the old and placement of the new generators is part of a four month technical phase.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Braai in Port Elizabeth

During our time in South Africa, we have our Eye Teams working, but not here in Kwa Zulu Natal, but in the Eastern Cape. I was invited to join our Managing Director and Brenda as we went down there to see how they are doing. The first night we enjoyed a traditional South African Braai with our Braai Master, Mr. John Rae.

Kragga Kamma Game Park

Kragga Kamma Game Park was recommended by a friend's brother as a place to visit - I spent 2 1/2 hours there and it was amazing how close to the animals - I enjoyed watching the giraffes as you see in this photo of three of them.

Seaview Game Lion Park

Even though these white lions are in a large enclosure and not in the wild - it was amazing to watch them during a visit to the Seaview Game / Lion Park in the Eastern Cape. There are not that many of them still living.

Addo Elephant Park

Addo Elephant Park
Originally uploaded by keith.brinkman
Here in South Africa, Friday was a national holiday. I had been with the Eye Teams who are working in the Eastern Cape and so I stayed a bit longer and spent the day at Addo Elephant Park - so close to the world's largest land mammal. I loved just watching them from the vehicle.

Howick Falls

.Howick Falls
Originally uploaded by keith.brinkman
On last Saturday, I was able to join two families as their 9th person in the Land Rover vehicle and we travelled almost 100 km to the Howick Falls as you see behind me in the photo - then we went to a very kid friendly restaurant before stopping for some shopping and heading back to Appelsbosch.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Church Leaders - Whole Person Ministry - KRCC

Even though during this season in South Africa, we are not able to use our hospital on board - we do still have some programs active in the country - Dental, Eyes and Mental Health. While on the Advance Team, I was responsible to coordinate the mental health/whole person ministry / counseling training program. The photo is of our first group - church leaders from all over the Kwa-Zulu Natal province - 32 attended the 5 day course. Currently, Dr. Lyn and Clementine are working in Pongo with 22 church leaders and next week in Eshowe.

Picking up Clementine at King Shaka Int'l

Durban South Africa has a new airport which just opened on May 1, 2010 in time for the World Cup games here - the airport is called King Shaka International. Our friend Clementine hates to sail as she gets so sick - someone provided for her and she instead flew. Naomi and I had the privilege to collect her from the airport. Many of the World Cup advertising is still around 'Africa United' - representing the six African nations who participated.


Appelsbosch is our new home for four months. While on the Advance Team, one of our big responsibilities was looking for possible off ship housing. This place is a former college campus and so it provided enough dormitory space and classroom space for our Academy. The property has not been used in many years and so it took some cleaning up.

Convoy to Appelsbosch

For the move off of the non-technical crew, we had moving trucks for our belongings, two buses and 13 of the ship vehicles for the journey. I was driving the lead vehicle with the Finance Director and Ship Security Officer. What would only take 90 minutes normally, took us over 3 hours, but everyone arrived safely. The day was cool, light rain and a bit of wind as it is spring time here.

Move to Appelsbosch

Move to Appelsbosch
Originally uploaded by keith.brinkman
Over 100 adults and 47 children moved off the Africa Mercy within 24 hours of our arrival into South Africa. This is required by the shipyard for safety reasons, etc. It was an 'all hands on deck' moving party to get all the personal belongings, work items and over 240 boxes for the Academy.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

KRB Update #2158 September 1, 2010
Keith R. Brinkman
Arrival in South Africa

Greetings from eThekwini (Durban) Kwa-Zulu Natal, Republic of South Africa. We have arrived at the shipyard in the harbor in Durban and we enter into a new season for the ship and for us the crew members.

But first, the sail… we left Togo around noon on Sunday August 15th for the long sail to South Africa. We practiced our drills for emergencies and secured everything in our cabins and work spaces for sailing. While still prior to going around the point of the African continent, we hit some bad weather for about three days – see the below photos to give you an idea. In total, we traveled over 3,400 nautical miles (6,290 km or 3,910 1.15 mile) arriving in Durban this morning. I was able to work at my desk just like normal – though sometimes the monitor moved a bit much for my eyes.

For the ship, she will undergo the replacement of our electrical generators, main switchboard, upgrades to our air conditioning units for decks 5, 6, & 7 plus various other projects. The goal with the new generators to reduce the noise and vibrations and their affect on the hospital on deck 3 and throughout the ship.

For us in Programs, we will be active on a smaller scale as do not have the platform of the ship and the hospital available to us. The Eye Team will be working in another province in partnership with our Mercy Ships Southern Africa office and a local foundation at three hospital locations for three weeks each. The Dental Team will be at various rural locations in the Kwa-Zulu Natal area at the discretion of the Department of Health. Our Mental Health Team will be in four rural areas providing training sessions in basic mental health assessment and counseling skills for churchleaders in partnership with three local Christian Councils.

In my role as Programs Administrator, I still have much to do related to the close out of our time in Togo – 14 official final project reports and 11 unofficial reports. I will continue to support the programs teams working on the field. Then I have a couple projects to work on, before shifting gears as we look at the possibility of public relations in Durban and Cape Town. Plus we will be deploying our Sierra Leone advance team in mid October and so I will serve as their liaison on board the ship.

Prayer Requests: ** Safety for those living on and off the ship ** My completion of the many reports – that they will be complete and full of integrity **Training Participants – with the eye project in the Eastern Cape and for the 75 church leaders participating in the mental health training ** Our community as we are separated between those still on the ship (primarily in the technical departments) and the families and others (I am an ‘other’) who are living over 100 km away at a former government college campus.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Waves on the Sail to South Africa

We are on day 10 of our sail from Togo in West Africa to South Africa - we have already travelled over 1,800 nautical miles. A friend took this photo yesterday. Here is the description from the captain of the day "As anticipated, the weather deteriorted overnight and the sea conditions have worsen. The winds are from the southeast at 40 kts, gusting to 50 kts. The ship is rolling moderate to heavy and pitching heavily. There is heavy spray on deck and sometimes the spray envelops the bridge. The weather forecast call for similar weather through Tuesday."

Saturday, August 07, 2010

Thank you Reception

Originally uploaded by keith.brinkman
We greatly appreciate our many partners during this field service in the nation of Togo. In this photo are Donovan Palmer, our Managing Director, and Pierre Christ, our Government Liaison, who served as his translator. I am sitting with Ambassador Apaloo who I initially met last year while during assessment work. Mr. Apaloo was instrumental with our first visit to Togo back in '90 - which was our first visit to the continent of Africa.

Thank you Reception

Originally uploaded by keith.brinkman
As we are nearing the end of our field service here in Togo, we are taking the opportunity to express our appreciation to our many partners. We hosted on board representatives from the government, non-governmental organizations, churches and other organizations. In this photo, I am part of the receiving line as the guests arrived on board.

Dental Clinic Toni w Small Girl

One of my responsibilities as Programs Administrator with the Africa Mercy is to coordinate and host the 'Off Ship Ministry Site Visits' for the general crew - both short and long term - to visit the various ministry sites that are located off the ship - these include the dental clinic (as seen in the photo), field eye team site, screening site, Program Support Facility, and Hospitality Center.

Mercy Ministry Dayvolunteers

Originally uploaded by keith.brinkman
On Friday afternoon, we hosted our Togolese dayvolunteers at the Thank You Reception for them. This is a photo of three of our dayvolunteers who served with us in Mercy Ministry, an area here on board in Programs which I am responsible for. They did a great job this year, especially Emmanuel to my left in the photo.

Crew Shot Togo '10 FS

Photo of some of the crew of the Africa Mercy during this Togo '10 Field Service in Lome. Communications scheduled the shot to be done after our emergency/fire drill on Thursday afternoon. I am located on the far left hand side, second row with the bright yellow vest on (which is what we wear for Emergency Medical Team).

Sunday, August 01, 2010

Christian et Gea Wedding 31July10

Yesterday I was able to attend the wedding of a couple who met here on the Africa Mercy - Christian Gbaguidi from Benin and Gea from The Netherlands. He was smiling the entire service. They were married in his church in Cotonou, Benin - Benin is the neighboring nation to Togo where the ship is on field service location. Benin is celebrating their 50th Year of Independence from France today.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

KRB Update 2156 - Durban / eThekwini – South Africa

KRB Update #2156 July 19, 2010
Keith R. Brinkman
Durban / eThekwini – South Africa

Greetings from Durban / eThekwini, South Africa. The reasons we are going to South Africa are for a technical work phase primarily though we will have some programmatic activities ashore. These may include an Eye Training Program, Mental Health training for local Christian leaders, and a Dental Clinic outreach. I am here serving on the Advance Team.

Mercy Ships will bring the ship to the city of Durban. Durban is also known by its Zulu name – eThekwini – which is translated as the place ‘where the earth and the ocean meets’. It is situated on the east of coast of South Africa, on the shores of the Indian Ocean. The weather is milder, subtropical climate with all-year-round sunshine (down here the seasons are opposite to us in the United States and Europe, so here we are in winter). South Africa has eleven official languages – though the predominant language in this area is Zulu.

Some of our tasks here as the Advance Team include finding accommodations for the crew who are not able to live on the ship while it is in the shipyard – that consists of families with children (51 children in total), couples, and singles (though about 80 crew members, primarily technical crew, will remain on board). We as a team (primarily Cathy) have followed up on many contacts and have taken hundreds photos and written reports so our leaders can review the options. Brenda, who is our team leader, continues to work with the government contacts.

At the same time, I am here on the Advance Team, I am still doing various aspects of my role as Programs Administrator for the Africa Mercy – doing that remotely has had its challenges.

A side note – the nation of South Africa hosted the World Cup 2010 – Soccer or Football depending where you are from. The excitement was in the air – flags were flying – South African flags and also the flags of the other countries competing in the World Cup. Even though South Africa was knocked out in the first round, the people are still proud of the team and the country for being able to host this huge event. We as a team have watched various matches on the television.

Prayer Requests: ** Technical work to be completed with excellence and on schedule **All the logistics for the crew who need to move off the ship during the shipyard phase ** Divine opportunities and appointments ** Remaining funds needed to pay for the shipyard phase

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Church in Assahoun at Gabriel's House

These are some of the young ones at a new church that I visited this morning with my friend Gabriel. During my short time of sharing in this church and the others, I shared about how we are all part of the Body of Christ and that you are my brother and sister in Christ.

Church in Assahoun at Gabriel's House

Pastor Gabriel is a former day volunteer with the Anastasis back in the early 90's. God has used him to plant churches in and around Togo in cooperation with the Pentecostal Church of Togo. He invited me to visit some of his churches which I did today. The photo is of the newest group who are meeting in his home. Gabriel is in the middle with the yellow shirt.

Life Guide Bible Church Djegbakondji

While visiting a past church plant here in Togo, I was able to present to Pastor Andrew a few copies of the Life Guide Bible in the French language - this Bible includes Psalms, Proverbs, and the New Testament - in addition, it has a section related to health. issues.

Church at Djegbakondji Group Photo

Mercy Ships first time in Africa was in the nation of Togo in 1990. A former crew member and friend was involved with agriculture training and construction of a school. This community had no Christian church - only idol worship. My friend and his translator were able to plant a Christian church there. I had the opportunity to visit and share with them this morning at Sunday service. This is a photo of the congregation.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Catamaran Durban Harbor Tour

Enjoying a short "ride" around the Durban harbour on a new catamaran with a former crew member from the Anastasis days - Chris. He lives and works locally here in Durban. It was an enjoyable time and break from the normal duties of advance team and programs administrator.

Catamaran Durbon Harbor Tour

Today, we got a call from a former crew member who was taking a catamaran out in the harbour of Durban and wanted to know if we wish to ride along. So in this photo, I am out on the front with Brian as we start our 'cruise'.

Monday, July 12, 2010

World Cup Final Match at Northside Church

Last night for the Final Match of the first World Cup on the continent of Africa, we went to church and enjoyed a braai between the Closing Ceremony and the start of the match. There was a mixture of people - some for The Netherlands and others for Espana. I chose to cheer for Espana for the many different times I have been with the ship in Tenerife and more recently when I was in hospital in Spain in January and February plus we speak the same language. Many fouls and penalties but it was fun to watch and this brings a close to the most professional football/soccer I have watched on TV in my life!

Braai before World Cup Final Match at Northside

Last night before the World Cup - Espana vs The Netherlands - we enjoyed a braai (barbeque) at the church here in the same community of the Advance Team. They have been very hospitable to our team. Though since I don't cook myself that often, I sought the advise of Phillip and Marcel who helped with the meat we brought for dinner.

Thursday, July 01, 2010

Durban Harbour

Durban Harbor
Originally uploaded by keith.brinkman
A view of the harbour in Durban, South Africa - the days are normally sunny, but it was hazy on this day - but I love the reflection of the buildings in the water of the bay. Durban has a population of over 3.5 million people. As an advance team we are staying just north of the downtown / central business district of Durban.

Watching World Cup on Television

What can I say... we have joined millions around the world in watching the evening World Cup matches on television (8:30pm our time). There are eight matches played here in Durban in a beautiful new stadium just south of where we are staying. After the World Cup, we hope to visit the stadium and take the grand tour including a walk on the upper arc.

Advance Team & Russ Holmes

A photo of our South Africa Advance Team & Russ Holmes who leads the Procurement Team at the IOC in Texas (he is here on vacation as his wife is South African and he stayed to work on procurement contacts). We stopped to have coffee before I meeting with a possible ship chandler for the ship's visit to South Africa.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

iMfolozi Game Reserve - View in mirror

As the game reserve is set up that you can drive through yourself (the map at the entrance gate is very helpful), it was amazing to see the various animals crossing the road/path in your rearview mirror.

iMfolozi Game Reserve - Buffalos

Within ten minutes of driving into the iMfolozi Game Reserve as I was heading to the education centre, I saw these two buffalos enjoying a small water hole - there was also a warthog taking a drink.

iMfolozi Game Reserve Giraffe

This was the best close up sighting I had of the giraffes in the iMfolozi Game Reserve when I visited.

iMfolozi Game Reserve - Zebras

There were some amazing animals in the iMfolozi Game Reserve - I loved watching the zebras and am reminded that no two zebras have the same stripes. This is a story we share in children's ministry in West Africa to share how each and every one of us is unique and special to God.

iMfolozi Game Reserve Rhino

On Saturday, I was able to visit iMfolozi Game Reserve in the state of KZN, South Africa. The game reserve is famous for the white rhino - I saw three in this general area - amazing animals just to watch.

Zulu Dancers Ballito

Zulu Dancers Ballito
Originally uploaded by keith.brinkman
After our meeting this morning, we went for lunch at the mall in Ballito, north of Durban. Some Zulu dancers were performing in the parking lot and so we stopped to watch them for awhile.

Keith driving

Keith driving
Originally uploaded by keith.brinkman
Driving here is on the opposite side of the road and in the right hand seat of the vehicle, which means you shift with your left hand, though the foot pedals are the same thankfully. I think I am doing ok, but the early days, I was too much on the left hand side of the road.

Friday, June 11, 2010

World Cup RSA vs Mexico

We joined the approx. 2 billion people in the world and I am sure almost every South African to watch the Opening Ceremony and the first game of the FIFA World Cup - first to be held on the African continent. We jumped up when #8 made the first goal for South Africa. Even now an hour after the game we still hear our neighbours blowing the vuvulezas (long horns) outside. South Africa 1 & Mexico 1

Braai - 1st at the Advance Team House

During the visit of John Rae, our National Director for Mercy Ships Southern Africa, we had a braai at the Advance Team house. A braai is a South African bar-b-que with various meats. We enjoyed the time together.

Monday, June 07, 2010

Bafana Bafana Shirts

The South Africa national football team or Bafana Bafana (a term of endearment which means 'the Boys') is the national team of South Africa. You see people everywhere around South Africa wearing the football/soccer jerseys. The World Cup 2010 opens this Friday in Jo'burg. Our advance team now has the right shirts - thanks to Cathy who bought them at the shopping centre on Saturday.

Kloof Baptist Church

Yesterday, we had the opportunity to join the Mercy Ships Southern Africa Director in sharing at the Kloof Baptist Church. Cathy gave her testimony and John shared about Moses from Exodus 3. We were able to talk with people before and after the service. We are experiencing some of the hospitality of South Africa.

Indiana Sign in AM

Indiana Sign in AM
Originally uploaded by keith.brinkman
As I am serving on the Advance Team for South Africa, we having been driving many different places (of course on the other side of the road). The other, I had to stop the vehicle when I saw this on the compound wall 'INDIANA MEWS' - (Indiana is my home state) see the beautiful ocean behind - though the water is very cold for me and we are entering into Winter now here in the Southern Hemsphire.

Sunday, June 06, 2010

KRB Update South Africa Advance

KRB Update #2155
June 6, 2010
Keith R. Brinkman
Advance Team – South Africa

Greetings from South Africa where I am serving on the Advance Team for nine weeks. You may ask, ‘you were just in Liberia and now in South Africa and the ship is in Togo’ – that is true; this has been a year of more travel than normal for me. The Managing Director of the ship asked me to pray and consider joining the advance team to assist with things in South Africa. The reasons we are going to South Africa are for a technical work phase primarily; though we will have some programmatic activities ashore (Eye Program, possible Dental Outreach and Mental Health training in the churches).
Even though we have only had the Africa Mercy in service since the summer of ’07 after 8 years of renovations in England, the ship was built in 1980 and the electrical generators are old and cause vibrations and noise pollution primarily in the hospital operating rooms and wards which are on deck 3 just above the engineering compartments. This has meant that during our field service in Togo – we are limited to only 4 of the 6 operating rooms. So the decision has been made to take time out of our field service schedule and bring the ship to South Africa for a shipyard phase to replacement the generators and the old air conditioning units for deck 5, 6, & 7.

The decision has been just recently confirmed by the Mercy Ships International Board that we will bring the ship to South Africa for this project. Though, we are awaiting the announcement on which shipyard contract they will sign – as there are three options. South Africa has eleven official languages – so we are trying to learn some phases and try to pronounce the names of cities and streets - but my pronunciation is not so good – we as a team laugh a lot as we are South African, a Canadian, and American.

Prayer Requests: ** Technical work to be completed with excellence and on schedule **Accommodations and all the logistics for the crew who need to move off the ship during the shipyard phase ** Divine opportunities and appointments ** Remaining funds needed to pay for the shipyard phase

Friday, June 04, 2010

Monkeys Visit the Advance Team House

Just off the dining room in our guest house is an area we have set up for the Advance Team office - pictured here are some of our 'friends' who come to visit - primarily they are around the house as the landlady feeds them. The little ones were really cute today. Though we have had them act as thieves and entered the house and took some of our fruit from the kitchen.

Backyard View - Advance Team House

I have joined the advance team in South Africa for 9 weeks - the team is made up of Cathy Warkentin and Brenda van Straten. We usually start our mornings at 7:30 having our breakfast and prayer and devotional time siting in our backyard.

Comrades 2010

Comrades 2010
Originally uploaded by keith.brinkman
A friend and one of our board members from England had his son and friend running in the Comrades 2010 and invited our advance team to come to the Sahara Stadium for the finishing line. It was a 89 km race from Pietermaritzburg to Durban and had over 23,000 runners from 18 years old to those much older. It claims to be the Ultimate Human Race -

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Possible Shipyard in South Africa

Along with the national director for Mercy Ships Southern Africa, our Advance Team visited one of the shipyards who submitted a contract to our organization for the generator replacement project scheduled for later this year - September - December. I will share more about Advance and the upcoming Shipyard phase in a future KRB Update.