Annual Activities Report: 2001
A Letter from our Directors
Warmest holiday greetings to you! We hope you have had a blessed and peaceful Christmas season with your family and loved ones. Please read and enjoy the enclosed report. You are so much a part of what we do, what we plan, what we hope for. Without all the many things that you do to help us, we could not help the thousands of people we do.
With this report, we want to share with you our accomplishments, our dreams for the future, our strategy to make the most of the beautiful ministry and tools that the Lord has placed into our hands. Having been involved in this work now for sixteen years, we reflect and see that much has been accomplished. But much too has been learned and we feel that now, with the present state of our world, being poised and ready to effectively respond to disaster and refugee crisis is the strongest and most powerful way that we can be used to demonstrate the love of Jesus.
For all these years, we have not solicited funds, although desperately needing them. We have not invested time in letting people know who we are, what we do or how to be involved with us, although always in need of more staff. In order to conserve funds, we have not sent out a newsletter or report except a brief irregular notice to those who had donated in the past. And for those years, we have had a consistent number of volunteers and a consistent income, allowing us to function, but short of our ultimate potential. Now, with what we believe the Lord has shown us, in light of what we feel is an urgency to perform fully the function God has given us, to bear as much fruit as possible with the Friend Ships organization, we need more staff, we need more people to pray for us and we need additional financial support. We believe it is time now for "all soldiers to report to their posts". For some of us that means service, for some giving financial help, for some offering prayer support.
So, we will be investing more time into public relations, speaking at churches, doing television, newspaper and radio interviews, selling our book, "Jesus and Company", recruiting volunteers and letting people know our needs. We want to let the opportunities we have to advance the Kingdom of God be known and we want to give people the opportunity to participate. We ask that you consider the desperate people we are helping, consider what His word says about loving our neighbor and giving to those in need, then give as the Lord puts on your heart and as you can give joyfully. One certain thing we have learned through the years, is that funds or labor given that are given cheerfully are funds that are blessed and the greatest help we receive by far. As the Bible says in 2 Cor 9:7, "Each man should give what he has decided in his heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver".
If God did not make miracles continually for us, it would cost tens of millions of dollars for us to operate every year. And make no mistake, if He should stop making the way before us, we will cease to exist. We only hope to let as many people as possible know what Friend Ships is, what God says about helping those in need and what He is doing through us. Then it is between God and the giver. But for our part, we are ready, willing, able and in place to fully and effectively utilize all we are given.
Thanks for standing with us! We have known so many of you since the beginning and you have made it possible for us to grow and reach out to literally millions. Now, the times offer even more opportunity and together we can do even greater things than we have before.
Love, Don and Sondra Tipton
"But when you give a banquet, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, the blind and you will be blessed. Although they cannot repay you, you will be repaid at the resurrection of the righteous" Luke 14:13 -14
This year we saw many victories here at Friend Ships. Our major focus was a mission to Honduras. We completed repairs to MV SPIRIT, and sailed in the fall. Here is our recent Mission Report:
Spirit Ship Mission Update: Voyage 11
Galveston to Honduras November 2001
We sailed from Galveston on Saturday, September 15th. Following a smooth and uneventful voyage, we anchored Friday night for a swim call just off shore of an island maintained as a marine reserve by the Smithsonian Institute. On Saturday morning, we arrived in Honduras where great things were accomplished in spite of having to weather the passing of two major hurricanes!
At the Friend Ships International property in Jonesville, despite floods, mud, high winds and passing hurricanes, we:
For the benefit of the FSI outreach project and the establishment of the University of Friend Ships International, we delivered:
We also obtained, loaded, transported, off loaded and delivered:
The FSI land crew trucked, received, organized and properly stored all of the many truckloads of the above items we delivered to them, no small feat in having to deal with hurricane winds, heavy rains, low electrical wires, and miles of muddy, slippery roads.
Of course, it wasnt entirely work. We found time to fellowship with the crew of Caribbean Mercy who came into Roatan for a few days. We each had a day or two off to see the sights, dine, snorkel and swim. We had two lovely marriages, hosted lots of guests, weathered bug bites, sun burn and sea sickness and watched with interest as two powerful hurricanes passed dangerously close by.
Our God has provided everything weve delivered (very conservatively valued at more than $2 million). He has called every member of the crew to His service. He has given us a beautiful ship, great friends, favor, good fuel, fine trucks and all else that we needed to complete this important work. This mission, Spirit Ship Voyage 11, and every Friend Ships mission, is a testimony to Jesus Christ. His love, His charity, His grace. Our God is truly an awesome and wonderful God!
West Coast Base
Although our team is now small in Los Angeles, we made great progress in preparing accumulated supplies for shipment and providing shipments of food for ships crew. We continued to distribute food locally, currently on a smaller scale than the program has operated in the past. We are considering if we will expand the Los Angeles food program once again or build a new food distribution program in the Gulf. We continue to search for the right home base location in the Gulf. Currently, the ship is based in Galveston, Texas. This location works out well and if we are able to find the proper warehouse, office and moorage space, we will adopt Galveston as a permanent home base.
Central America : Friend Ships International
This is a Honduras based project that we support in Roatan, under the direction of Don Ashcraft and an international Board of Directors. The FSI crew made great progress on the building program having completed all but the kitchen of the main building. The training area to seat 500 with stage and sixteen housing units are completed. The second staff housing building is well underway. Four of the nine staff "apartments" are now occupied. Agricultural programs have been birthed, there is now a full time childrens evangelism department and plans are being finalized for training classes and emergency medical services for Santa Guardiolo to begin.
Plans for the Future
This year, we hope to complete our home base move to the Gulf. We plan to make one or more trips to Israel, carrying supplies to help new immigrants who are arriving to make their home there. In addition, we plan to put into place, "Recovery" a disaster readiness program so that the ship is ready to respond immediately in times of natural disaster. It will go something like this:
RECOVERY. . . Imagine a disaster strikes and thousands of families are left homeless. Not only are they homeless, but they have no food, no place to cook, no pots, pans, clean water, dishes or utensils to prepare and eat it. Homes and possessions are lost, loved ones are missing, injured or dead. Their world is gone with little or no chance of reclaiming it. They feel lost and frightened, helpless and hopeless, forced to leave their communities and move into camps set up by the government. It is a bleak, grim existence, one full of desperation and despair.
Friend Ship Spirit sails into a near-by port and the Recovery begins. . . The ship's supply gear swings into action and huge trailers with steam units and immense cooking pots are lifted from the deck and set onto the ground. Medical containers are placed ashore and transported to the location of greatest need. The deck crew begin to discharge the thousands of tons of relief supplies the ship has carried in her massive holds to bring comfort, healing and love to those in need. The worship team warm up their instruments and strike up the band! Within a few short hours. . . A delicious afternoon meal is being served to thousands of people. The medical facility welcomes injured and ill victims to offer them diagnosis, treatment and prayer. Water, clothes, blankets and Friend Ships Buckets with food, health and hygiene supplies are distributed to everyone in need. Church teams make their way through the crowd, offering a hand of assistance and praying for peoples needs. The Network Center opens it's doors for people to register onto a satellite Internet database to help locate lost loved ones, and register for charitable services.
Now it is twilight and dinner is served. Beautiful music fills the air with a message of love and hope. The Gospel is preached. People listen with warm blankets and full stomachs, knowing and believing that there is a God in heaven who loves them and has sent someone to help them in
their time of need!
When our time there is over, Friend Ship Spirit loads her equipment and sails back to the U.S. to prepare for another Recovery. She leaves behind thousands of people who will never be the same. The disaster that started by tearing open their hearts and destroying their hope, has brought them good news that has changed their lives forever.
In order to allow Spirit to respond immediately to a disaster, we are instituting a new program, "Buckets of Hope" as described below.
What are Friend Ships "Buckets of Hope"?
Throughout the world, millions of people live in dire circumstances, the victims of natural disaster, war, persecution or extreme poverty. The problems are so overwhelming, the situation can seem hopeless.
What can someone do to help?
Working together we can be effective in an essential, large scale and substantial way! We can respond with aid specifically appropriate to each unique situation and prepared in a way that is suited for secure international transport, simple to distribute and practical to utilize. The preparation and delivery of "Buckets of Hope" to each affected region will provide those in need with immediate food, water, cooking utensils, dishes and basic necessities for health and hygiene in their time of desperate and unexpected crisis.
Hurricanes, tsunamis, tornados, earthquakes, floods or landslides destroy all that people own and they are left living on the street or crammed together in mass housing. Refugees escaping the ravages of war or horrors of persecution, trek hundreds of miles, often over formidable terrain. They arrive at their destination with no food or drinkable water, no way to prepare food, no dishes to eat from, no soap, no towels, no toothbrush or toothpaste, no tissue, no ability to preserve the basics of health, hygiene or civility. With your help, Friend Ships can deliver the "Bucket" to provide each family or individual in need with food and cooking utensils to prepare meals for two weeks, along with drinking water, dishes, hygiene and emergency supplies such as first aid, flashlight, rain tarp and other items suitable for each crisis situation. And the "Bucket" itself serves as a useful multi-purpose container with lid and handle, easy to carry and keep contents clean and dry.
Friend Ships is able to prepare and deliver each "Bucket of Hope" for a gift of $20. This purchases the "Bucket" and its contents, and helps pay
transportation. All "Friend Ships" staff are unpaid volunteers so no portion of your funds go to pay salaries. We routinely keep overhead at a minimum while working to deliver the maximum amount of aid by using our own ship for delivery when most cost effective, performing all administration, documentation, marine services, repairs, maintenance, truck driving, warehousing and all manual labor with our own full time volunteer crew and by organizing to have the majority of essential related services provided by corporations and U.S. or foreign governments, free of charge. While working in cooperation with national governments, we primarily distribute aid through the private sector by coordinating with local churches and non-governmental organizations in each target nation who help us to see that goods go directly into the hands of those most destitute and that people in need receive the ongoing spiritual help they require so desperately in a time of extreme crisis.
Some of the regions we are currently targeting for assistance are:
NEW IMPROVEMENTS: In the near future, we hope to obtain the following pieces of equipment that will greatly increase our ability to use our ships to effectively respond to disasters and emergency circumstances. We would like to acquire or build:
In order to make the most of the wonderful equipment and supplies God has given us, we are in need of raising additional funds to cover our expenditures. You will see a change in our communication. We will be letting you know our financial needs as they arise. For an overall view, here are the categories of our projected budget that will allow us to achieve our future goals:
General Support: One of the most effective ways to provide financial support to Friend Ships is through a gift of general funds to be utilized in a flexible way to meet any need as it should arise. Our routine operational expenditures include insurance, rent, moorage, telephone, water & power, gas & diesel for vehicles, parts, supplies, equipment and repairs. Any amount of gift to help meet these needs is greatly needed and much appreciated.
Fuel Fund: Our ship burns about 300,000 gallons of #2 diesel fuel annually when able to operate on an active schedule. The cost for this fuel will range from $150,000 to $300,000, depending on the fluctuating price of fuel.
Drydock Fund: SPIRIT requires routine shipyard service every three years. Each shipyard visit costs about $100,000 hence, every three years, we need $100,000 for shipyard services.
Buckets of Hope (Supplies): Friend Ships is collecting support for the assembly of the "Buckets of Hope", plastic 5 gallon buckets filled with food for two weeks, drinking water, health and hygiene supplies for distribution to disaster victims and refugees. Each bucket costs $20 a piece, including some funds for transportation. Our goal is to collect support for 100,000 buckets per year.
(a.k.a. Park West Childrens Fund, Inc.)
"A generous man will himself be blessed for he shares his food with the poor"
" He who is kind to the poor lends to the LORD, and he will reward him for what he has done."
This calendar year, we received donations of $181,681.00 and income of $74,500. Our fiscal year is not completed until February 28, 2002. At that time, please feel free to request a copy of our 990 IRS form that includes an accounting of our Revenue, Expenses, Statement of Functional Expenses and our Balance Sheet. This information is also available at Dun & Bradstreet or online at "www.Guidestar.com". Be sure to access the information under "Park West Childrens Fund, Inc."
The column to the left represents the value of this years incoming cash donations and income to Friend Ships in thousands. The column to the right represents the value of the outgoing supplies in thousands.
If you would like to contribute financially, receive our activities report or information on becoming a short term or long term volunteer, please fill out the following form and return to Friend Ships.
I wish to be added to the Friend Ships "Activities Report" mailing list.
I would like to pray for the specific needs of Friend Ships and its staff through the "Special Forces" Prayer Team. (In addition, you will receive an "Activities Report").
My church would like to have someone come to present Friend Ships to us.
I wish to receive information on being a Friend Ships volunteer Guest Worker (less than two months).
I wish to receive information on becoming a Friend Ships volunteer Staff Member (for a period of two months or longer).
I would like to make contribution to Friend Ships for:
Please send your donations to:
Friend Ships Unlimited
Post Office Box 1056
Galveston, TX 77553
Current Annual Activities Report
Updated January, 2002