29 August 2011

chicken fight

As mentioned in my post "amiff", The 4th Annual Africa Mercy Independent Film Festival produced many entertaining films.  This one, "Chicken Fight," features Jay and Beau, the two hosts/organizers of this years AMIFF.  It wasn't technically eligible for awards, but it was definitely a favorite of both the judges and the crowd.

A few explanations to help you get more from the film:
  • The Receptionist will ring the bell when Reception is noisy.  Reception must be kept quiet.
  • You are strongly encouraged to use the hand-sanitizer before serving yourself in the food line.
  • We have a Starbucks cafe in our town-square area.  Yes we do.  With real Starbucks coffee and all.  And it's super cheap.

28 August 2011


This summer, I missed out on four weddings back home.  Knowing that, I think it is no coincidence that the following opportunity presented itself last week.  

Two weeks ago, Missy, the (Assistant/Interim) OR Supervisor, suggested we do something for the upcoming departure Melanie and Michel, two of our OR nurses.  Mel is from New Zealand, Michel from Germany; they met on board a few years ago, dated, got engaged, and will be getting married this coming January.  With both of them leaving this past Thursday, we decided to make them a wedding cake.  I was skeptical at first, given our limited resources on board, but Missy already had ideas for making a tiered cake, so I happily went along with her plan.  We made the cakes last Sunday, assembled it Monday, and presented it Tuesday.  It was a ton of fun to do and both Mel and Michel were very surprised.  

Missy and I in the crew galley, with the finished product.

There she is.  Two tiers of white vanilla cake, with raspberry filling and meringue buttercream icing.  The heart on the top is also raspberry filling. 

Mel and Michel.  We wheeled the cake in during our daily morning OR meeting.  Everyone was surprised.


21 August 2011

as vapour

This video was created by our on-ship Communications Department.  They are some incredibly talented individuals, as demonstrated below.  Enjoy!

20 August 2011


Back in my post "teeth", I wrote about a boy named Tamba.  Hailing from the eastern Kono District, Tamba was born with severely deformed, clubbed feet.  His feet were practically backwards.  When he first arrived at the ship, volunteers had to help hold up his scared, emaciated body.

"'In that day,' declares the Lord, 'I will gather the lame; I will assemble the exiles and those I have brought to grief.'"  Micah 4:6 [NIV]

Tamba stayed on the hospital ward for over two months.  Before he even had surgery, his feet and legs were casted for several weeks.  During his hospital stay, he would come visit me in the Eye Room, where we would talk and decorate his wheelchair with balloons.  He is an incredibly sociable kid!  At the end of May, after two lengthy surgeries and a series of castings, Tamba was discharged to the Hope Center, Mercy Ships' lodging facility for out-of-town patients.  Tamba would return to the ship once a week for physical therapy.  

Last week, while working in the OR office at my new job, I got a phone call from Deb, the head photographer on board.  She said that Tamba was being discharged and would be heading back to Kono District the following day.  She then said that he asked to see me!  I quickly headed for the dock where I was able to see Tamba one last time.  His casts were removed and he had on proper shoes and simple braces.  He had undergone a radical transformation!

"He lifted me out of the pit of despair, out of the mud and the mire.  He set my feet on solid ground and steadied me as I walked along."  Psalm 40:2 [NLT]

Tamba arriving for his final appointment, with his auntie.

"A cheerful look brings joy to the heart; good news makes for good health."  Proverbs 15:30 [NLT]

"He will wipe every tear from their eyes, and there will be no more death or sorrow or crying or pain.  All these things are gone forever."  Revelation 21:4 [NLT]

I sat and talked with Tamba and his auntie for a few minutes. As I did, his aunt showed me his before and after photos and then they got passed around, through a group of patients and caregivers, waiting to be admitted.  One woman, who was cradling her infant, awaiting cleft-lip surgery, looked down at Tamba's before photo.  She quickly looked up at Tamba, then back down at the photo.  A look of astonishment flooded her face.  Words did not need to tell me that she could hardly believe his metamorphosis.  Tamba told me he was very much looking forward to returning to his village, where he would be reunited with his family after nearly a five month absence.  Before I headed back to work, Tamba quietly asked, "Do you have e-mail?"  I said "Of course!  But do you have e-mail?"  He said no, but I happily gave him my e-mail address, telling him that one day he will have access to a computer, and that I expect him to write.  

"Tears of joy will stream down their faces, and I will lead them home with great care.  They will walk beside quiet streamsand on smooth paths where they will not stumble."  Jeremiah 31:9 [NLT]

[Special thanks to the Africa Mercy Communications Department for photo-documenting the many patient stories on board the ship.]

barn dance

So based off of Tuesday night's post-film-festival dancing, Deb and Nick (two Australians) decided to throw a "barn dance" tonite.  It happened, and it was awesome.

Country music, plaid shirts, bandanas, cowboy boots, line dancing, square dancing, Virginia Reel, the Waves of Bondi.  People love it, I loved it, it was good night.

400+ people, from around the world, jammed together on a ship and crazy stuff like this is bound to happen.  The best part of the evening was at the very end, after we cleaned up.  A girl came up to us to ask "When is the next barn dance going to be?"  We all just laughed and decided that, yes, another barn dance will be somewhere in the future.

16 August 2011


Tonight was the 4th annual Africa Mercy Independent Film Festival.

Around the first of the month, advertisements went out asking for entries for the AMIFF.  Among the rules were the film had to be between 30 seconds and 5 minutes long, the film must include the use of a bottle cap as a prop, and the phrase "It's a trap!" must be included.  For the past two weeks, the ship was abuzz with activity, people planning their films, shooting scenes, and editing the final productions.  Lucky for me, I was a judge with six others, including our "Celebrity Judge," Chief Medical Officer and max-fax surgeon Gary Parker.  (note: Max-fax stands for maxillofacial).  We all got together last night to view the 9 entries and make our selection for prizes.  We were astounded with how creative, talented, and hilarious the films were, given the limited amount of time and resources.  The films included lizards, Bollywood dancing, TV parodies, scuba divers, superheros, etc.

All of this lead up to tonight's actual event.  The whole crew was invited to the International Lounge at 6:30pm.  As this is the 4th AMIFF, it has become known as a classy affair, with everyone showing up in their nicest outfits.  Dresses and high heels for the ladies, ties and suit jackets for the gentlemen.  Then after the opening act, the films were shown in succession.  Outbursts of laughter rightfully interrupted almost every film.  Needless to say, we have some real comics on board.  After announcing the winners and handing out awards, people flocked to Midships to enjoy snacks at drinks at the cafe.  Out of nowhere, perhaps inspired by the films, a group of folks started line dancing, led by my Australian friend, Deb.  As a lover of the Virginia Reel, I then taught the group the dance (a staple at Rockbridge), followed by the O Johnny O Johnny O square dance.  It was a blast.

As soon as I get access to the films (hopefully this week), I will post my favorites.  They are too good not to share.

14 August 2011

with all creation i sing

A brilliant 36 hours:
  • Dinner with good friends (and delicious sushi!).
  • Slept in late...very late.
  • Fresh, warm cinnamon rolls.
  • New music from Smash.
  • A little vocabulary study time.
  • Some James Bond movie action.
  • Late night Deck 7 worship time
Worthy is the,
Lamb who was slain
Holy, Holy, is He
Sing a new song, to Him who sits on
Heaven's Mercy Seat
Holy, Holy, Holy
Is the Lord God Almighty
Who was, and is, and is to come
With all creation I sing:
Praise to the King of Kings!
You are my everything,
And I will adore You!
Clothed in rainbows, of living color
Flashes of lightning, rolls of thunder
Blessing and honor, strength and
Glory and power be
To You the Only Wise King, 
Filled with wonder,
Awestruck wonder
At the mention of Your Name
Jesus, Your Name is Power
Breath of Living Water
Such a marvelous mystery