30 October 2011


A former crew member and friend, Tom, celebrated his birthday this weekend at Bureh Beach, just outside of Freetown.  Highlights included beautiful weather, a mellow sunset, very strange moon activity, grilled barracuda and crab, a bonfire, watching distant lightning, and bioluminescent micro-creatures in the rising tide.

27 October 2011


Today was Wednesday.

Today, the Africa Mercy had a guest.  Her Royal Highness Anne, Princess Royal, visited the ship today.  Daughter of Queen Elizabeth II, Anne was on an official visit to Sierra Leone and chose Mercy Ships as one of the local charities to visit.  As the ship was abuzz this morning, I learned that Glenys already met Princess Anne nearly 25 years ago.  You may recall that Glenys is our Ophthalmic OR Team Coordinator, a native New Zealander, and a career medical missionary in Africa.  I shouldn't have been surprised, but as it turns out, Glenys met the princess while working in a bush hospital in Zambia in the 1980s.  I joked with her that this may be her only chance at a royal reunion and when Anne stopped by the OR entrance, they were able to reunite!  It was not your normal Wednesday morning.

Today was Beans' birthday.  Beans, also known as Harriet, is serving as a palliative care nurse.  Not only does Harriet have to do standard nursing duties, she has to drive throughout Freetown, provide care to her terminally ill patients (often children), and cope with the emotional stress that this entails.  She is truly incredible.  We celebrated her birthday by eating dinner outside on deck, complete with cake, cards, and gifts.  It was a great way to relax and enjoy each other's company and ring in Beans' 29th year.  If you are reading, Happy Birthday Beans!

Today, we worshiped.  I recently joined a guy's Bible study that has been truly great.  A few weeks ago, we discussed the want for a time of open, intentional, unstructured worship.  What we came up with was 7@7.  Last week was our first and tonight was our second.  7@7 stands for Deck 7 at 7pm.  We get together on the ocean-facing outdoor Deck 7 area and just come before the presence of God.  Someone on a guitar, another on a djembe drum.  At least one person shares a scripture that has been on their hearts.  The whole thing is open-ended: people can pray, share thoughts, encouraging moments from the week.  You can sit, stand, lay down, stare out at the stars.  We have had a nice-sized group each week (15-20ish) and personally, I leave feeling filled up and nurtured.  The only way I can describe it is "good."  Good on so many levels.

Today, we played Horses.  Also known as the Really Nasty Horse Racing Game.  The abridged explanation is this: a board game; six horses race around a track, jumping hedges, etc.; place you bet on a horse, yours or someone else's; play "Really Nasty" cards, causing your opponents to fall of their horse, lose spaces, etc.; win money by betting on the winning horse; winner is the one with the most money at the end of six races.  Lots of shouting, pleading, and dirty tricks.  It's a ton of fun.  And it's on my Christmas list.

Today was a good day.

16 October 2011

just a few photos

Not so much a story for this post, but rather just a selection of photos I've been meaning to share.  Enjoy!

A few weeks ago, I returned to my room to find that we had won today's cabin inspection!  My cabinmates and I each received one dollar to the snack bar.  

My camera was hijacked while I was away from my desk.  The OR nurses love to tease me.  Also, the coffee-stained paper with the "S" on it is my "S.O.S." sign that I hold up when things are getting over my head and I need help from Missy (OR Supervisor).

The AFM Laundry Room with Erin, one of our occupational therapists.  Note: there are actually 10 sets of washers/dryers.  They can hold a lot more than what it appears.

Me and baby Ali.  I think it's safe to say that Ali is currently the favorite child on the ward.  I bring him to visit the OR office just about every day.  

Me and baby Ali.  In the background, you may spot "Evil Monkey" and/or a shot of live operation (we have cameras in all of the ORs so we can see what is going on from the office).

09 October 2011


Now is just as good a time as any to let you all in on a little announcement.  

A lot of you have been asking about my plans for when I return home in December.  Well, it will look a little something like this.

1. Be home for a few weeks.  Enjoy Christmas, New Year's, etc., with friends and family.
2. Return to the Africa Mercy in January.

Yes, you read correctly.  I will be returning to the ship in mid-January to reprise my role as the OR Admin Assistant!

I made the decision a few months ago, but I wanted to wait until the details were ironed out and the time was right to share it with everyone.  A lot of factors played a role in making this decision, but it ultimately came down to the fact that I really didn't have a good reason not to.  Do I have the financial support?  Yes.  Do I have the time?  Yes.  Do I have any other commitments?  No.  The Lord has done so much in the way of getting me to this point, and He has certainly provided in overwhelming ways.  Now it's my turn to take the kick in the butt and keep going.  I feel that ending my time in December would be like reading an incredibly engaging, 300-page novel, only to find that the rest of the pages are blank after page 200.  

Upon returning to the ship, we will be docked in Lome, the capital of Togo, another small, West African nation.  Read more about Togo here and about Lome here.  I am excited to experience a new country and to see how Mercy Ships will change more lives there.

As of now, I will stay until the end of April.  Who knows what will come next.

Isaiah 55:8-11 [The Message; emphasis added]

"I don't think the way you think.
   The way you work isn't the way I work."
         God's Decree.
"For as the sky soars high above earth,
   so the way I work surpasses the way you work,
   and the way I think is beyond the way you think.
Just as rain and snow descend from the skies
   and don't go back until they've watered the earth,
Doing their work of making things grow and blossom,
   producing seed for farmers and food for the hungry,
So will the words that come out of my mouth
   not come back empty-handed.
They'll do the work I sent them to do,
   they'll complete the assignment I gave them.