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Thursday, 30 June 2016

Culture Shock

The post few days have been full and interesting, we have been looking at the different ways cultures are. There are just so many aspects to look at and we have worked hard and had a whole lot of fun as well.

I wish I could adequately explain and describe the experiences we are having. 

Each morning I wake at about six or just after and pull myself out of bed and walk to the shower room, generally passing one or two of my course companions and give a morning grunt or sometimes even a hello. I listen out for the coffee machine and am delighted to hear it on the go. I usually don't drink coffee in the morning but having it made and ready when I get out the shower is just too good.

I head back to the room and get dressed and ready and then spend some quite time reading my Bible.  Class then starts at eight. 

The teaching has just been very good and I feel sad that this season is coming to an end.  We lose a few of our new friends next week who will be starting at the Texas office. 

Next week we have a different type of training, it will be maritime and security training. Some first aid, crowd control and fire training are all on the agenda for next week. Yes, we have to get dressed fully in fire uniforms and put out some fires and do some sea drills and survival at sea training.  Don't panic famdamaly.😀

When more time permits, I will add some of the teaching Aha moments and some photos to.

Monday, 27 June 2016

World Views

Another full day of training, this week is on those we work with, those we are going to.

There's is so much, here are a few gems.

World View

The culture we live in makes sense to us, but like when I put on  someone else's glasses on, I can't see, unless of course it's my friend Dianne's who's I did borrow,  others are blurry, you don't feel so comfortable and you certainly can't see the peripherals.

What has shaped  our views

Growing up knowing we are loved or not loved
Do I feel safe or unsafe
Art and poetry
Church and theology

Worldview Issues, of course, ideas have consequences and those are
Intellectually, spiritually and emotional.

How do you begin to see people who lives are very different , we can start to think they are less than us, that's paternalism. We think we can solve all their problems.  However, of course everyone is made in Gods image = highly valuable

Jesus loves to give us new lenses, ones that sees and looks for the intrinsic value of everyone.

Our beliefs and morals effect our outward behaviour and effect the underlaying assumptions we make about the world and others.

A world view and life view is a set of assumptions which we hold (consciously or unconsciously)

A great question we can take into situations we don't understand is, help me understand.

A little prayer I said is Lord, I invite you to change my heart and mind.

When entering a new culture, how can one discover the underlying values

Spend time with the people
Go to the market
Accept invitations
Ask someone who knows
Look into different types of celebrations

Key Principles to enter with an open heart

Suspend judgement
Ask questions
Learn about other culture
Take another perspective
Learn about your team
People have all sorts of capability
What are their visions

Taking care of people's problems without their involvement hurts people.

Everyone created in the image of God has the capacity to create.

My Mission Statement

We had to do an interesting exercise which I must say, I found difficult.

We had to go through a series of many words and select our top 40, then, to 20, then top 10, then 7 and then 4.

I chose Love, authenticity, faith and Intimacy.

From there we had a few other exercises which ended in us needing to write a mission statement.

Here's mine but it doesn't quite feel finished.

In this spontaneous adventure of life, my purpose is to know God and be known by Him, so that His love and character will develop mine and will guide me in developing my talents for His Kingdom's purposes, and in so doing I will in faith make myself available to Him and others.

Perhaps this one is just for now and will assist me in my relationship with Him and other.

Love God and Love others.

Friday, 24 June 2016

Our Group Characters : A Nautical Beautiful Mess

I titled this a beautiful mess as we were looking at humanity and our tenancies to get our self's into beautiful messes, especially when you through 400 crew from 40 nations together and  a group laundry into the mix. 

It's actually quite amazing if you think about the dynamics, short term staff and long term staff, many comings and goings and new manager and crew members joining teams. In theory this sounds like a recipe for disaster, but with God it works and works extremely well.

The training was excellent, we spent time this week looking at various tools to help us to work better in teams. We all love Jesus and aim with His help to bring about His 2000 year old model of loving people around us, yet of course fail each day. Our patients and our crew need His love, living in close proximity, we will have conflict, so what are some of those tools that can help.

Understanding our different cultures, how they form us, how they instruct our working habits, our conflict tools and many others.

Other things in brief.
Preferences versus principles, is that thing we don't like, a priciples that we disagree with, or is it just a preference. Will I allow someone else to have their preference at my expense, was just one good question.

We had some quality time looking at the book Crucial Conversations, what a good book.

There were many valuable ideas to consider, realising that conflict is an opportunity to actually grow closer to others, to get to know their view points, we can walk away or we can create a safe place for growth and a deeper more authentic relationship.

Creating a safe place was such a good concept to understand and also providing that to allow everyone involved to put their ideas into a pool of meaning so that the facts are available.

Gosh. There were just so many little things that we learnt, what a valuable time this is.

Thursday, 23 June 2016

Our Character

This week we have been looking into our own personalities and those of our fellow MercyShipers, this is for the purpose of learning about how different personality traits do life and work and conflict etc and how knowing this can help us with and value our fellow crew mates.

We started off by having to do DISC profile. For anyone who knows anything about this, my highest score was S then C and then I and last of all D.  We looked at the different strengths and weeknesses of these and it was quite illuminating in various ways. 

We also looked at conflict resolution from a book called Crucial Conversations, it was one of those times when part of me wanted to take a lot longer time developing the skills and absorbing all the helpful insights, but was also finding it quite hard and that it was pushing some tender buttons. We talked about how we experienced conflict and conflict resolution and how to create a safe space for conflict conversations.

Other areas we covered this week were our spiritual weapons and how to respond during testing times, how we would be sailing into trouble waters by the very nature of our work and mission.

I have been walking each night this week with my friend Janet, she is my roommate.  Bites from so many insects are common, and  on the walk, I think Janet is really wondering if she has got a lune with her as I  talk to the cows and any other animal that I come across on the way.

Time is flying by, it's a valuable and precious time that I know I must hang onto and make the most of, sometimes I struggle to do that, so prayer is always welcome.

This weekend I am off to cowboy church and yes, you guessed it, they bring their horses. Yeeehiiii

Saturday, 18 June 2016

A Good Week, A Good God and A Good Silent Retreat

As mentioned in my other blog post, we have been concentrating on God's character and Kingdom Domains and how different areas or stories in the Bible touch on different Domains, such as Economics, Government, Family, Church, Science and Technology, Communication and The Arts and music and I am not sure if I have forgetting anything out.

Each time I tried to type the word God, my tablet would correct it to Good, well, what can I say, He is such a Good God.

Friday evening, we ended the week by being invited over for brownies, fridge tart and fruit salad and ice cream. It was a good way to end the week.

This morning we went off to Tyler National Park, it was really beautiful. It was also very hot. We started off the morning in the classroom, I could feel that a few of my friends, including mom were praying for me.  I had just chatted to mom and had been feeling a bit insecure, this often happens when I am in a new environment, with new people. The inner child in me pops out to let me know she is still there.  I have been praying about who He really created me to be and we're my focus needs to be.  Before the silent retreat even started, I felt the covering of prayer and the Lord whispering to me that, I would never be more fully myself than when I am filled with His Holy Spirit and just walking daily with Him.  I guess out of that place, I can find authenticity.

When we arrived at the park, we all went our different ways, I took a canoe type thing out, it starts with a K or sounds like it does, but I can't spell it, anyway, it was very hot but also a special time.

I saw a birds house and it just reminded me of the ship. Lots of little bird all in one home, leaving at the beginning of the day and going off to do there many things, but all retuning back later, all secure and looked after.  When I managed to find my way to a spot in the shade, I just let myself drift for a while, little tortoises were occasionally popping their head up and then disappearing again when they sensed moment coming their way. I couldnt help but wish my lads and their girlfriends were with me to enjoy the beautiful environment.

I definitely felt like I had spent time in my Heavenly Fathers present and been taught by Him a few things.

We ended off our time sharing a bit about our different experiences, we all had had a special time. 

I will post pictures once I get on the ship and have a computer.

Wednesday, 15 June 2016

His Character

We are also looking at the Character of God, what does He say about that, and how does the Bible stories back  that up.

Long suffering
Abounding in Loving Kindness

As we looked at these, there was a terrible shooting in America, I found myself asking why again. My Bible reading that day took me to John 16 were it talks about Jesus explaining that if He was persecuted, so would we be.

John 16 versus 1-3 says

 “I have said all these things to you to keep you from falling away. They will put you out of the synagogues. Indeed, the hour is coming when whoever kills you will think he is offering service to God. And they will do these things because they have not known the Father, nor me. But I have said these things to you, that when their hour comes you may remember that I told them to you.“I did not say these things to you from the beginning, because I was with you.

As I looked at even the hard part's in the Bible, I saw the above characters of God, the Judgements which seem harsh, combined with Long Suffering.

How grateful I am to ponder these
Long suffering
Abounding in Loving Kindness

Monday, 13 June 2016

The Kingdom

This week has been a great start already, Sunday night we went to the most gorgeous cottage I have ever seen, I will try to get some pictures to post soon. There are just quaint details all over the place and most of them from old Mercy ships. There was seating made from wood from one ship and ropes used in different ways. Little rabbits hatching out of trees, trees houses, anchors, the kitchen roof with a flower effect made out of Moranga trees and ladders made out of beaver chewed wood from the lake the cottage is on.

We were invited there for early evening and I was amazed.

Monday started off with training, of course the whole week is about training. This week I am really looking forward to,  it's all about Gods character, and His Kingdom.

Each time I study Gods character, I get more of a glimmers of His greatness, His loving and justness, His creativity and His great desire to be in personal relationship with each and everyone.

I must be in America as I just thought Awesome😀

Sunday, 12 June 2016

Dining Room

It's my return to help do the dinner, so I am waiting for the food to be ready, its meatballs tonight.

My Bedroom

Walking to Dinner

Classroom photo

Aunty Brenda

My Aunt Brenda passed on this morning, I awoke to the news. My heart felt so sad for Andrew and my dad.

I will always remember her for her very deep love of the word. She must have read the Bible more than 50 times, I am not sure of the exact amount but I know that she loved Jesus and put her full trust in Him for everything.

I don't think that that anyone who knew or passed her door would get passed her door with out knowing how much Jesus meant to her.  Her Bible was always by her side and her Saviour always on her mind.

How I look forward to meeting with her in the New Heavens, I look forward to seeing her full of His life and full of His joy. What a promise we have.

I know she read His word all her life and today she will hear His voice. The word tells us absent from the body and present with the Lord.

Saturday, 11 June 2016

Week One

This week has been special, full, relational and educational.

It started off very emotional and exhausting and has progressed to feeling a lot more settled and whist it's been very full, it's also been very informative, inspirational and educational.

Today I have spent trying to get  all my web stuff sorted out, how frustrating has that been, computer hey🤔

I have been walking a lot this week and have seen some amazing bird and a skunk, my friend Janet decided that walking the opposite way was a good idea.

Over the week, we have covered a whole range of topics, lots about the Organisation, it's origins, its people and it's patients and it's purposes.  Ship life has been touched upon and we have met a lot of people and departments.

I have really enjoyed the week and my heart is reconnecting with this wonderful mission that I feel so privileged to be part of. My gratitude also goes to all the people who have come alongside me in some way to help me get here.  Some of you have given money, others prayers, others love and support, some of you have my things, thank you.

Thursday, 9 June 2016


Yesterday we had another full day, we learnt about various subjects, like the Mission, vision and values of MercyShips:

Here are a few Aha moments.

For hope to be present in the future, it needed to be present in the present and that we are a ship that goes and find the poor, the under-served.

To long for the day that every nation on earth can serve there own poor.
Value can't be framed on the wall if they not lived out of the wall.

The training is going well, each day has been packed full and at the end of the day, I have been walking with my roommate Janet and swimming. It's rather hit on Texas.

Wednesday, 8 June 2016

A Love That Leads Me Higher

God's love is a love that leads me higher, is a love that comes alongside and pulls me to a higher place, often to a place I wouldn't have wondered to on my own, often to a place that looks like it's not passable, a place that looks dangerous even.  But, His love will never lead me and leave me, His love will always lift me and walk beside me.

This first few days have been inspiring and informative.

John 15 tells me to abide, John 17 tells me He's praying for me, psalm 139 tells me He knows me and created me and will protect me, psalm 119:105 tells me He's left a many a letter and to read them, psalm 23 reassures me of His love and shepherding and Matthew 6:33 calls me to a higher place.

The Week Begins

Lots of new information and sore feet and many new faces, was the order of the day.
We were introduced to new computer systems, language programmes and lots of new people from many departments.

I managed to forget my password, to type my bio twice and lose it twice and then forget how to logon to the Ships intranet called Navigator, on yes did I mention my job is in Information Services. 🤔

We then went on a tour of all the offices and then ended up the day having a really enjoyable meal. 
We were asked to write down or favourite music and favourite book. I picked Endurance, I think because I had had the Antarctic on my mind again, what was amazing is that the chap sitting opposite me picked the same book.

I finished the day with a long walk with Janet, my roommate. She is a nutritionist who is recently back from Benin.

It's exciting to start focusing on MercyShips work and vision again after all the preparation.

I really enjoyed learning more today about the agriculture program. Most interesting was the nutritional facts about the amazing Maringa tree, and also about aquponics .

Sunday, 5 June 2016


It was good to have a visit from my friend from the Madagascan field service. Nergis drove to see me from Dallas, she booked into the guest house and spent the night. It was good to catch up with her.  

Sunday morning we had a leisurely breakfast and went to the local church and had an American pot luck lunch afterwards.
The afternoon was spent walking, getting to know fellow onboarders and doing my home work.

Early to bed, early to rise.

Saturday, 4 June 2016

First Day

We started the classroom today, it started off with some friendly games to ease us in and help us get to know one another, that included chocolate, just to get us started on our Mercy Hips journey. 

We were high our manuals and listened to each other's journeys to this point.

At the end of the day I went for a walk with my new roommate Janet and then met up with my dear friend Nergis who drove from Dallas to join me, she served with me in Madagascar and we became be good friends there. We spent some time recapping and discussing our exhausted transissioning back, which we both had found difficult.

Tomorrow is church and homework and rest

Onboarding Begins

Day one of onboarding, how exciting, I have slept a lot and now feel ready to eat the elephant one bite at a time.  My room mates have arrived but I have yet to meet my actual little room roommate as she arrived whist I was asleep.

My room has 2 bunks and we are linked to another 2 bunk room.  The beds are comfortable enough and there is air-conditioning.  The campus is very pretty and the birds pretty amazing. I saw the most beautiful red headed black and white speckled wood pecker and a bright red bird yesterday.

I haven't yet counted the number of participants but they all seem very nice.

There are a number of families as well. 
Looking forward to the day.

Thursday, 2 June 2016

Horses And Hospitality

My first day in Texas was very emotional, I was exhausted after the night in the airport. It's usual for me to have a major wobble when first arriving at a new place. Chats with Mom and Di were stabilisers.

I was homesick and wondering how I was going to manage.

I had a kind invite from Michelle to visit her and her husband Boe and the extended animal family, including little Mirai the Foal and many other horses, dogs and cats. They also took me out for a meal and invited me to go riding with them on weekend, and also to visit there cowboy church one Sunday. It was a really lovely evening.  I slept very well.

Tonight I am going out for seafood with the IT department.

Currently I am alone in my room, but will soon be sharing with for others, I am not sure yet how many people on the course but think it's quite a few. Introductions will be on Saturday.

Thursday Night
I have just come back from a enjoyable evening with many of the IS team and various other people from the Head Office.  The drive along the Hiway reminded me when I traveled across America when I was 18, the roads and road side views just brought back the memories. That had been a four day and the night trip.  I would love to redo that journey sometime with more than just me, and take about 3 to 4 months.

The restaurant was very casual, tons of sea food and large portions.  The company was really enjoyable and I am adjusting well.
Many people will arrive tomorrow so life will become communal.

It's looking hopeful that I may even get to a rodeo and some beautiful Rose Gardens.  It's seeming more rosie today.  😀
Now to try and read a few hundred pages and process it.🤔

The Adventure Begins Hello Texas

After a three month marathan of tasks, I made my last life admin call on the way to the airport. 

A huge thanks to everyone who has helped me get to this point, I am so grateful and have been amazed and overwhelmed with so much kindness and generosity of both time and financially.

My dear friend / sister Di who has journeyed and poured herself into helping me took me to the airport.

The flight was good expect for the last part, we were informed that we were being diverted due to a storm in Dallas.  We ended up having to land and refuel before finally arriving in Dallas more than three hours late. There was no help from the airline and all hotels were full so I slept near the departures so that I wouldn't miss the first flight to Tyler.

When I left the ship and came home, it was difficult and I felt like I left half my heart on the ship.  Now as I leave, I find once again I leave half my heart in the UK. I am glad I have lost my arithmetic skills as I am sure I have more halves to leave behind, I think my heart must be an orange with many segments.

I am looking forward to a few days rest and then to the the training course.