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Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Thankful Thoughts

Hello home! 
There truly is no place like it. I began my journey with all of you and your prayers and the Lords guidance and arrived here to not one familiar face and mostly languages I don't understand from countries all over the world. But two things connected us from the beginning- our love of the Lord and our obedience to His calling, and that was all that mattered. Strangers instantly became family. So here we are.. week 3 into the mission and with the holidays coming up I miss home and everything about it. But I am reminded of the reason I am here and the joy it will be to share these special times with these loving people.

Ship Life
Life on the Africa Mercy is much different than home. Half of the ship is a hospital and the other half is divided into cabins where the crew live, the academy where the children attend school, the ship shop (our Walmart), Starbucks (where I have been a barista :), cafe, dining hall, and offices. I travel about 30 seconds to work in the hospital from my cabin I call home. We do everything old school in the hospital, without computers or I.V. machines to calculate the appropriate fluid for a patient. Each ward is one room with 15 beds so all the patients and nurses spend most of every day with each other. I am in ward D, where we repair cleft lip and palates and remove large tumors and such. When a dressing change or something needs to be done in one of the patient "rooms" we use magnets to hold curtains to the ceiling to separate their bed from the rest of the room to have as much privacy as possible for procedure. The hospital more or less functions as a hospital does at home from the outside looking in. The patients are admitted for surgery, prepped for the surgery, operated on, and cared for afterwards until they have healed and can be discharged home. We have an outpatient retreat called the Hope Center where our patients are physically ready to be discharged home but need outpatient appointments for things such as follow up visits, therapy sessions, dressing and wound changes, etc. Our patients then stay here until they are able to be released. From the inside looking out you can't explain the way everything flows together with limited supply, the language barrier, and cultural differences. The only answer I have is the Divine intercession of a Living God and the power of His peoples prayer. One thing I can say is I have seen a lot of hope and a lot of healing. That is one thing you will leave this little piece of heaven on earth knowing-when you are on your knees calling out to the King of kings, expect miracles.

Thank you for your prayers, thoughts, and encouragements. I seem to have everything I need just when I need it. That's how our God works sometimes.. He shows Himself mighty just in time so there is not a shadow of a doubt that it was His hand orchestrating things perfectly into place. I love it when He does that.. what a witness.

Love and Blessings from Africa :)


"Declare his glory among the nations, his marvelous works among all the peoples!" [1 Chronicles 16:24]

Monday, November 18, 2013

Honeymoon with Jesus


I am excited to get to share my journey with Mercy Ships with you all! The time change has my internal clock confused so sleep in hard to find but other than that, I am settling in just fine.Well, I have made it the first week on board the Africa Mercy. Ship life is much different than a typical day at home.. and though I miss my people dearly, I can feel the power of their prayers covering me as though they are here with me. I feel that this is a "home away from home" and like home, I have not met a stranger. My letters from home are precious reminders not only of the extraordinary support I have and the way I am loved, but the responsibility I have to be Jesus not only to the people of Africa but to the community I was entrusted with at home.  I opened a letter from home with a devotional in it by Max Lucado that says "God grants us an uncommon life to the extent we give up our common one." Now I understand why I was not fulfilled in my "ordinary" job at home, I was created for this. There is truly nothing like completely surrendering to the will of the Lord and being surrounded by such selfless servant hearts. Everyday is a new adventure here in Congo and the Lord continues to open door after door for the crew to reach these hungry souls with the love and hope of Jesus. Sometimes I look out of the window at God's great ocean while I am loving on His children and I think "is this real life?" As I joyfully love on these sweet babies, I am blessed beyond measure with a fullness that words can not express. Of course some days are rough, the work environment is definitely not what I am used to at home and the communication barrier is sometimes difficult, but as I look into the eyes of my crew members and my patients, I catch great glimpses of my purpose here and I find strength to press on. The Lord is not only doing mighty things through my new friends and patients, but I have quenched the craving in my heart that only He can satisfy and I cannot seem to get enough of Him. I have found my desire to love, serve, teach, and worship growing with each day and each opportunity. I am beyond thankful for your prayers, I understand the importance of each of them for the work being done here. Please continue to lift me up as I am away from my family and being a light to the lost. BLESSINGS FROM AFRICA! :)

"In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven." Matthew 5:16