I just returned home last night from a 3 week stint working on MERCY’S VESSEL. It was a jam packed schedule. Jay Edwards (a gentleman from my church) was with me the entire time. Two days after we arrived at Yanks Marine in Tuckahoe, NJ, we left the boat early in order to attend the 2017 Mission Partner’s Dinner, the major fund raiser the GPAMM conducts in the spring of the year. This year’s event was the largest ever.
The next day Jay and I also left work at bit early so we could take my wife Mary and mom Shirley Puryear to Sight and Sound Theater
After the show, as we went back to our hotel I told Jay that all the fun for the trip was over, and it was time to get serious about working. The comment was meant in jest, but essentially proved true as we worked a minimum of 10 hours a day 6 days a week for the next 2 weeks. The first few days we were there we did the preparation work to overhaul the port engine (drained oil and antifreeze, removed the exhaust and intake manifolds, and removed other interference). Sunday evening while we were presenting our work at True Gospel Baptist Church in Quarryville, PA, Tony Smith and Paul Pecou arrived from Sardis Lake Baptist Church in Sardis, Mississippi after an 1100 mile drive. They went to work Monday morning disassembling the engine. Later Monday afternoon my pastor at Antioch Missionary Baptist Church in Burlington, NC arrived to oversee the work on the port engine. He brought with him Craig Godfrey from Wayside Baptist Church in Hillsborough, NC. Gary Johnson from Calvary Baptist Church in Hendersonville, NC also arrived Monday to help with the engine. Craig assisted the shipyard worker in doing some fabrication work in the main cabin and on the main deck while the rest of us worked on the port engine. The work went exceptionally well…Tony and Paul were able to leave Wednesday evening, and Steve and Craig left Thursday at noon. Gary stayed until Saturday morning to help with some other things. I can not adequately express my appreciation for the way these men from 4 different churches came to work on the ship. The spirit of cooperation, fellowship, and love of the Lord was genuinely felt. Their effort saved the project at least $10,000, if not much more. If we can keep this sort of effort going, the work on MERCY’S VESSEL will be a thing of beauty to behold.
After everyone left, Jay and I went to work on corrosion issues in the main cabin. When aluminum and steel are in contact with each other in the present of moisture, the aluminum will corrode over time. MERCY’S VESSEL is over 46 years old….she is showing her age and needs some TLC. Jay and I, and Orhan the main shipyard worker working on the boat, went to work. Jay and I did lots of grinding and cutting with hand power tools, and Orhan did lots of cutting with his plasma torch and welding in new pieces of aluminum. New pieces of steel were put into the main deck to fix some holes, and new pieces of aluminum were put all the way around the cabin. The main cabin supports were repaired. It was a lot of needed work that corrected some hidden issues. It was dirty work as lots of dust and grit were created, but the improvement will be felt for years and years.
Jay Edwards is truly one of God’s saints. He has put his all into working on this boat. There is no job that he does not cheerfully do, no matter how dirty or small it may be. He is a humble man who just loves the Lord. He has a tremendous knowledge of metals, painting, and corrosion correction from his years of working in automobile body repair. He was looking for a way to use his talents to serve the Lord, and sees MERCY’S VESSEL as the perfect fit. It is a privilege to work alongside such a man……if only there were 2 or 3 more Jays…