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Friday, 30 October 2015

Bells and Prison Ministry

Just wondering if any one has any questions about MercyShips.
Things that I haven't put on my blog?

Just spent a nice evening going to the Hope Centre to the OVF clinic with a group of friends. We had different coloured bells and a music book color coded. We started off playing and then the ladies who wanted to each took a bell and followed the tune by following the colour codes.
It was great fun. We even had the excitement of two black outs in the middle, bell ringing was heard.
Up early tomorrow, we going to a prison to visit and read Bible stories and do some arts and crafts, not sure just what yet.

It's the end of a long day, one I am sure I will look back on, the subject would be dust, dirt, concrete and poverty and Jesus.

We went into the prison, it was not very large and seemed almost to be a big open space with a sheltered area, a fire for the ladies to cook food and lots of  dust. I was surprised to see a few babies around and at least one pregnant women. We started off by going around and greeting each women individually as is custom in Madagascar. We were invited in their room which had no door and was a big concrete room, the beds were concrete bunks with a mattress on them.  The floors were dusty.

One of the ladies had quite a strong leadership type personality and had us all trying to pronounce some Madagascan words which of course then had them in hysterics.

We then moved out to the undercover area and sang some songs in English and then some in Madagascan. Kim then gave a Bible story which was translated, the ladies were all very much concentrating and participated and really seemed to enjoy the time. 

When we had been singing a prayer song, which was about petitioning Jesus for His strength, asking for help when we go wrong and accepting our common frailties and out need for Him, there was one lady women I noticed was in tears and soon afterwards left.  We were able to encourage her later with a special word for her.

We then had some time of fun together making some play doe figures and then had time for personal prayer. A lot of the women came forward and we were able to prayer for them.  There was a pregnant lady who was scared to give birth in this environment, a lady who couldnt see very well and was wanting glasses and many more.

Later in the day I went again to the Jesus Movie, the drive there was an adventure all on its own, we were in three four wheeled drives and very much needed them.  We went over a small but very dodgy bridge, through many pot holes that really were huge and virtually rivers due to the heavy recent rains.   When we got to the school, we set up and this time there were no heavy traffic coming past but rather we had the stars brightly shining and the song of poisonous frogs singing in the background.
Once again many people came forward to surrender their lives, the trip was worth it.  

On the way back we realised we were going to break curfew (9pm) so had to radio to the ship to let the Captain know.

I noticed all the bare feet on my way home and all the people walking in the dark with no torches at all.

Wednesday, 28 October 2015

Dr Gary Talk and Knots

It was with awe in what God can accomplish through doctors that I listened and watched what I could of Dr Gary's lecture. The photos were very graphic of the reconstruction surgery and I was pleased I had all ready had dinner.
He showed step by step how some of the tumors are removed and how skin and mussel is moved into the vacant areas and how they make the cuts along the lines that the skin would usually grow so that the scarring is minimal.
He explained how some patients come, very close to death due to, in some cases starvation or not being able to breath, depending on the type of tumor.  
Questions were asked about if there was ever a time that they couldn't operate and the answer was that mostly, as long as the tumors were not cancerous, they could operate.  The other reasons to not operate would be if the person blood count or other health issues would effect their recovery and ability to quote with the operation.  If that was the case, the would administer anti-biotics, and nutrition, in order to get the patients strength up and then operate.
He closed off with the thought that we can't give out false hope, or positive thinking to people, it had to be proper tangible hope, that could be taken away and that could then grow and effect the community.
He explained that the way the people are treated when they come here has a big effect.  Often when they arrive, they are used to others avoiding them, being treated as if the were demonized, or had people being afraid of them.  When they come and people look them  the eyes, treat them as precious and loved , this is so different to what many have experienced before and that plants an incredible seed of hope.  Hope then  gets transported back to their communities.  God can then fan that flame.

After that I ventured to the wards, armed with rope, pictures of knots and some material and needles. I bumped into the young man who is recovering from very bad burns but he wanted me to go and fetch my Google device with the knot program.  I did that and a young man and a few other children came to learn.  At least I was able to leave the pictures and knot instructions behind.

Tuesday, 27 October 2015

What's coming Up

Tuesdays  : Walk to Port Gate & Starting this week a twelve week Bible Study of Ephesians (attend lecture and do the study) &  Starting next week also  on Tuesdays is a writing course on God's redemptive story in my life, how I came to know Him and how knowing Him has change my life and my loves.

Wednesday Night, medical lectures, this week Dr Gary and Maxo facial and Ward visits

Thursday nights , choir and Community meeting.

Friday : Walk & Ward visits

Saturday : Prison Ministry and possibly Jesus Movie Miniseries in the evening

Sunday :  Ward Service then resting and drawing to worship music.

Friday, 23 October 2015

Friday Evening

Time: 7:00 till eight thirty
Location: D Ward and A & B ward s
Themes: Bells ringing & lots of fun

A few of us meet just after dinner to practice of bell ringing. Each bell had a different color and each color represented a note. The hymn book was coloured in and we still got it wrong, oh did I say we?

We went to the wards, starting off in the fiscular wards and after playing for the ladies and their babies, they all wanted to play, including the ward sisters and the carers. (The carers sleep on a mattress under the bed of the patient.) We rang the bells to the tunes of Holy Holy Holy, Yes Jesus loves me and Amazing Grace. I can hear the hums of everyone joining in.  We were then asked to go along to play in A ward which had a lot of babies, most of them loved it but one poor little one woke with a fright and added her cries to the event. 
The last ward we went to had the little girl who's operation I observed, she seemed more awake today but still a bit groggy, her dad was with her and he played along.  The was one little one in the room that stole all our hearts and beemed brightly as well as making great lip movements to try and add to the occasion.

It was an evening well spent.

I found out my cousin Howard died a couple of days ago today so my heart had been feeling heavy, just heart broken for those closest to him. I had hoped to meet up in Johannesburg on my way home in January. At least I will get to see him again and take great comfort that he is with His Lord. I will miss him even though we didn't get to see each other much.  Heavens bells will be rejoicing.

Thursday, 22 October 2015

Observe a Surgery

Date 22 October:  Time:  09:30 for 3 hours
Place:  OR Room 3 - aboard African Mercy : Port of Toamasina (Tamatave), Madagascar 
Surgeon:  Dr Gary
Team: Multicultural nurses and anaesthetists
Patient : Young Madagascan girl, age 7
Observer: Me

Procedure: Cleft Pallet Surgery

I arrived in the operating room around nine thirty this morning and got introduced to the team. The young patient was already knocked out and the operating room noises were as would be expected. There was the ticking off requirement, the sound of bleeps and the there was of course soft music playing in the back ground, in this case praise and worship songs, and there was Dr Gary and nurses explaining to me the procedure and how the operation would progress.

Because we are in Madagascar for a limited time frame, there is not the luxury of multiple operations, so they pull various procedures together I think to enable the mouth to have the holes fixed and the lips and nose reconstructed, it really was a tremendous thing to see being undertaken. 

Ones heart couldnt help but go out to this young girl and her family, what a joy to know she has the help she needs.

Watching the lips and nose being reconstructed was really something I can't explain in any other words than miraculous, it's no wonder Dr Gary and his family have been onboard for over 25 years. The work he does is God gifted.

Once the operation cane to an end, I left so that they could bring the patient around.  Lynn I missed you and wished you could have been here, I know your time will come.

Somehow I was not quite wanting to eat my pasta mince lunch.

After work this everything, I popped into the ward after choir practice and saw Dr Gary sitting by the patient. She was sleeping BBC and resting gently, her father sat by the side of her bed with a hopeful, grateful smile as he looked upon his child.  There is something about being part of this that just makes want to sit near her and make sure she is 100% OK.

My next step will be to try to draw her picture.

Tomorrow night we are playing bells to song s in the wards. Hopefully I will get the chance to say Salama (hello) to Jolean.

Saturday, 17 October 2015

Extending my Stay

Oh yes, I forgot to say that I will be extending my stay till early to Mid January, Dates to be confirmed but my work gratefully has agreed, they really a have been fantastic.

My accommodation has also been held for me for when I am back and my cousins have agreed to look after Mr Chip and Sammie till I am back.

It was really wonderful as God has provided what I need for the next couple of months for the extension.


Recovered and Off the Ship for a Long but Fulfilling day

This week started with me not being well as I mentioned in my last post but two days off and some anti-biotics saw me back at work and although I had a sore tummy, I was most grateful that I had not been effected in the way some crew members were.  It looks like this Shengella (spelling?) virus and the other tummy bug has been receding and most staff are back at work. The hospital visits hopefully will start again soon.  I am keen to see if a young man who had very bad burns (old ones that caused his arms and neck to be stuck to other parts of his body) who showed a very good aptitude for tying sailors knots, is still around.  The Deck department have kindly given me a book with pictures that I can photocopy and some more rope.

Last night we had instead of Thanksgiving, we had Friend-giving - a Mercy Ship made multi-cultural event. The whole week we were looking at things to be thankful for and we finally had a Turkey dinner on Friday night which was delicious.  As we have so many cultures on board, we miss some of our own holidays so we invented one of our own.

This morning was an early start for a Saturday,  up at 6:45 and breakfast and then we meet at the Starbucks Cafe on board at 9pm with a pick-nick packed from breakfast supplies and a group of us went off in two land-rover vehicles to a Lemma Park.   Here are some pictures of the journey there.








Once we got there, I thought it was a zoo and was a bit upset that the Lemma's were in cages, but then I found a wonderful thing and some hard facts in the middle.  It was actually a rehabilitation center and the Lemma's had all been rescued and were in the process of being rehabilitated and then would be let lose.  The sad fact is that people hunt them for food, and the sadder fact is that it is because the poverty here is so great, so people are hungry.

The center also has a little school and we heard the joyous singing and the repeating of phrases coming from the school,  I never go to ask how come, as it was Saturday.  Another feature was rice fields as well as an agricultural area were they grew there own vegetables.  Again, as the guides were all busy, I never got to ask about the way they grew the vegetables or if they trained.  We do on the Mercy Ships, ship all our food excess and plate scraps to various farming and agricultural projects that find they can then grow the most amazing vegetables in very bad sand soil for orphanages.  I am still hoping to the the opportunity to go and see more on that front.

There was lovely mummy Lemma with her baby, apparently the baby has the responsibility of hanging on and the mom just runs and jumps all over as if there was no baby attached.  Thus we can see why the very long tail is helpful and the long fingers.









There were also some wonderful Sun Birds but I never managed a great shot of those and  I did manage to get some shots of the Camilion (which I can't spell)








The walk was very long and I stated feeling my age toward the end of the walk as there were some step down hills and it was very hot, I think we walked about 6 miles.  The big black ball is an ants nest up a tree, they apparetly climb on the inside of the tree to avoid being gobbled by birds.







At the end of the walk we made our way back to the ship and stopped at a market on the way home and got back to the ship, very much in need of a shower.  I had signed up to join the Mercy Ministries team to go to a church to show the Jesus movie.  I had not realised it started at 5:30 so was dawdling along and just stopped on my way to dinner to double check the 6:30 start, to find out it was a 5:30 start.  Gratefully I had a half a chicken sandwich left from lunch, so I grabbed that and some tea and heading off out the door.  I am so glad I did, it was a wonderful experience.
We arrived at the church which had put chairs out on the roadside, very similar to the picutes above, cars were flying by or should I say Tuk Tuk's and Push Push's and people were walking past.  The men of the Mercy Ministries team put up a make do white screen and plugged in some speakers while a Madagacan church band were playing there drums and singing.  A small crowd started to form.  There were lots of little children who were already seated but passes by started to come along as well.  When the movie started, it really reminded me of my brother reminding me the other day of some great childhood memories of going to the drive in.  It of course was far from that but it was the movie being show under the stars.  The movie had been put into Madagascan so  I could't understand a word but of course know the story of our great Saviour and His loving work of the cross to draw men to Himself.  The most wonderful thing was that when they movie finished and the Pastor asked if anyone would like to surrender their lives to Christ,  there were at least 8 men and women who stepped bravely forward.  There is not greater joy for me than to see that.

At then end we all joined in prayer and then most of the people who had been sitting to watch the movies, both the young and the old, all came over to each of us, wanting to shake hands with their brothers and sister in Christ.  It was very touching and I will certainly like to be involved again.  They did take some photo's so once we get those, I will try and post them.

Time for bed.

Friday, 16 October 2015

Random Photos


Dannie, Dahlia, Dayle

At night
Screening Tent

A home visit Pierro
Dannie and Dayle

Engine Room




 Art Work



Off to the Lemma Park Tomorrow

Going with a few from the ship to the Lemma Park tomorrow.

Watch this space for photos.

Wednesday, 14 October 2015

Extending Another Two Months

I have with the permission of CWR, decided to extend my stay working onboard the African Mercy.  As time was approaching, it just seemed to be going too quickly. I think with the original delays with propellant problems and then stowaways, our arrival in Madagascar being delayed, time seemed to be running so fast, it just felt right to stay longer. There were four issues that needed to have doors opened for this to happen. 

1.  Is there a role for me on the ship?  When I first asked, I found out that someone was flying in to take over my role the day after I leave, on the 15th November.

2.  CWR my employees who had kindly already given me three months extended leave, would need to agree to another extension,I had hoped that work done before leaving had placed then in a position of good functionality with regards to my department but I was not sure.

3. My cousin and his lovely family are bird sitting my tweet-hearts Sammie and Mr Chip, Sammie has a MercyShips type of issue, a growth defect with his beck, this seems to be progressing unfortunately and his visits to the Vet increasing, as he needs  beckacure - having his beck cut back.

4. I have a kind offer of accommodation waiting for me in November which I am so excited about.

I am so pleased that God has opened all these doors.

MercyShips came back and have used another position for me,  CWR have kindly agreed to more extended leave. My family have agreed to look after the birds and my friends have said that the accommodation will be waiting for me when I get back.

So my next steps are to firm up dates, pay my crew fees which I have the money for, change my flights and some other logistical issues.

Christmas will be in Madagascar this year.  How I will miss my sons, friends and family.  It will be exciting.

Monday, 12 October 2015

Tummies and Technology

Well I have finally had to stay off work. Working in IS department means I am all over the ship, that's great and I am learning so much about systems, good stuff to take back home to work when I get back, but that also means if I am unwell, I am a prime candidate for spreading germs.

This bug seems to hit people in waves and as you think you better, it starts up again.

So I have had to cancel again my observe a surgery. Hopefully next week now.

I hope I am well enough to attend an Anaesthesia talk on Wednesday night.

We all grateful that this has not spread to the hospital.
Please be praying it stays that way.

Sunday, 11 October 2015

Arts and Crafts

As there was no ward service this morning and as I was on pager duty, I stayed in the dining room drawing.

I was also listen to some music that we will be singing next in the choir ( hey Amanda, you have to come and join us) bring Tony.

We have sung the First Song of Isaiah last week and this week we learning Mozart's Ave Verum Corpus, so true to my nature, I played the song over and over again whist I drew, Chase and Kyle, I don't tend to do that normally, do I? 

I did not finish the drawing which was of Mamma Clare from Guana, a lady who had a huge tumour removed.

My friend Robin and and found new to ask if I would like to come and learn to ring bells for a ward service.  They had a variety of bells, different colors which four of us rang when our colour was pointed at.  We did Yes Jesus Loves Me and Amazing Grace, it was a lot of fun and we will join together next Friday to play in the wards and there after we will teach the patients if they would like.

When we were there, a couple of ladies were painting eggs, it looked great fun.

Saturday, 10 October 2015

Visits and none visits

This week many people are still sick, we have actually had to stop admitting patients due to the amount of people of sick. This is sad as we are only here for a limited time so hospital time is precious. Please be praying.

My friend Nergus and I were invited today to go and visit the home of a delightful and gentle Madagascan man named Piero, he has just moved home and had invited all his team and myself along to visit. Unfortunately a few ladies were sick but we still had a good time. There were a couple of Madagascan ladies with us and they shared a few sorties with us that were very sad. We were told about an Orphanage that one of the ladies was involved with. She said that many of the kids still had father's but that the father's were not strong enough to bring up the the kids alone, only a mother could, so if the woman died, the fathers did not keep the children. We were told one story from the young girl with us of her neighbours. The wife died leaving a father with seven children. When a new woman came along, he told all the children to leave. The youngest was one and the oldest twenty.  It seems unreal really.  The amazing thing is that the twenty year old took on all her Siblings and brought them up. What a beautiful and strong lady.

It was very good to have spent the time with them. I will post some photos tomorrow I hope.

The hospital is closed to visitors at the moment due to illness, so I am going to take the lazy route and stay onboard, well actually I have to as I am on bleeper duty.  So tonight it's an early night and tomorrow I am going to draw.

Interesting Madagascar Facts

I think Lemmas sound like Whales, perhaps they calling to them from the coast.

I see many smiling faces, dance, rhythm, bright colours, much children. 70% of people under 25

I also see lots of poverty, much rubbish, sandy roads, colourful Tuk Tuk's and Push Push

4 th largest island. Double UK, 22 regions. We in region 12.

Lots of bats, many varieties

Lots of snakes, none poisonous.

There is actually a union for prostitutes, tired to poverty. Very high among men also poverty. The men can't afford to get married.

More to come.

Wednesday, 7 October 2015

3 Hour Services, Sickness and Training

Well the service was three hours or very close to it and I never understood a word. It was long but I also managed to get some understand out of it when clever Dannie started winning down the scripture, and I started looking then up and writing them down to try and get an understanding of the basic type of message.  I am glad I did because it sounded like he was preaching fire and brimstone, but I think he was just passionate and from following the scriptures, it was a message of grace, that we have an approachable God who wants us to run to Him with all our needs.

After the service we decided to walk back and try find an ice cream shop that we believed was in someone's home on the way back. Well, we did get into someone's house but it wasn't the ice cream shop, but they kindly sent us on our merry way with two young ice cream shop guides who lead us to a closed shop, no extra calories acquired.

The humidity slowly got to me as we walked back and I think the smell did to. We stopped by a  Shoprite on the way home and I realised how much having things on shelves made one want to buy something just because you saw it. I managed to resist and got back to there ship with all my money intacked.  I spent the rest of the day in bed as I wasn't feeling well.  There has been a tummy bug going around.

This morning I attended part one of my Equipt to Serve programme, it was very interesting even though I w still feeling quite fragile.

It is very inspiring to be part of the work here, especially when you walk down to the dock to do some work and you walk past someone who has half their face double its size, out you see all the little children with cleft pallet's and club feet waiting to be seen.

This evening I attended a dentistry talk which was good but not good for a fragile tummy, yuk comes to mind.

I have just come back from a ward visit, teaching some of the young guys to make knots using a very cool App I found. The young chap who had burns all down his body was brilliant, a total natural, whist his older friend found it a bit difficult. Afterward, I was asked to read a Bible Story so one of the nurses could translate.  

Saturday, 3 October 2015

Celebration on Friday and Saturday

On Friday I was able to take some time off work and was privileged to be able to go along to the celebration for the ladies who are now dry after years of suffering from fiscular problems after child birth. Each last gave a small testimony of her illness and they ranged from one year of suffering to ten years. Lots of the ladies had been rejected by their husbands and community due to their condition which must be awful to live with. Basically for anyone who doesn't know, during giving birth, a small hole can developed between the bladder and womb which has the result of urine leaking constantly.

Each of the ladies were given a new hat, dress, have their hair and makeup done and then there is a thanksgiving service. It was a precious occasion, especially  as I had spent a little time with some of the ladies. The doctors and nurses must have found it very rewarding, it's no wonder that they keep coming back.

Today was a laundry and quite day. I started a sketch of Mamma Clare, a very beautiful lady who is on the wall in the halls here. She had a huge tumour removed at one of the field services. She has a special gentleness and joy in her eyes, even before her operation, that's is what drew me to her picture.

It's good to be drawing again.

This evening we had a Port party, this was dinner on the docks and some music and dancing late. It was such a pleasant evening and I got to know a few ladies a bit more. I declined the dancing and visited the wards again and Sandra you will be pleased to know there are now serviette flowers hanging in the wards.

Off to sleep know as I have an early start, I am catching an early tuck tuck with a friend to attend a church service on land. My Malagasy room mate invited me to join. I believe there services can go on for three hours. Eek