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Friday, 18 August 2017

Arrived In Cameroon

We have arrived in Cameroon and the morning of our arrival, it was very beautiful to see the country come into view.  It reminded me I think of Norway, with all its outlooks to the sea and lots of greenary around.  My first view was just on the horizen and I was so sad that I didn't have my camera around my neck when I headed out to the deck because all of a sudden, there was a fishing boat, flying past us and these men with big smiley faces waving at us.  The wind was blowing them along and they fly past us, with rain pelting down at them and off they went, we still seemed very far out to me and we probably were but I think there are so many inlets, outlets and rivers reaching the sea here that they probably came from a closer  on of those.

We arrived in at approximately 11, or 10:30 and as always, arriving in country is a joy to be part of, there is worship bands playing on the ship, this time is was instrumental and we had the navy escorting us for the last 150 miles.  There was quite a few other navel smaller ships that came and met us too and there was much joy from them and us as were waved and sung in by both our crew as well as the advanced team on land.  As we sail in, I grabbed a South African flag as we were asked to and our English one had already been taken, but then I saw a colleague who was from SA to and happens to have a SA passport which I don't any more, so I passed it onto him,  I think there are 4 of us South African's on-board at the moment.

I will post some pictures as soon as things settle down and I am to upload them.  We have had really bad internet on the ship for most of the sail and it was up and down with the waves.

Oh, I forgot to mention a bird that sailed with us, I am not sure if he /she was injured and I only found him /her on the 2nd to last day but was told he/ she was with us the whole journey.  Picture to follow.  Just after we arrived though, the bird had gone, so much have seen land and flown off.

The rest of the week has been extremely full, setup here involved so much coming together, I am surprised and in awe of our Advanced Team who have accomplished so much to get everything off the ground.  They have been setting up mentoring programs, interviewing so many day crew, working out all the logistics for buildings repair for our Hope Centre, Dental Clinic and Team Houses, they have been setting up the Dock area with our admissions tents, screening tents and outpatients.  There has been dock spaced to organiser, and much much more. Know the IS team have been pulling wires and setting up the computer equipment, internet and setup of the operating room computers and various other things.  We still not finished yet, so its going to be a busy weekend and week next week.
I believe the first patients start arriving in a about a week, so the nurses and hospital team will be scrubbing and putting up the beds and organising everything for their arrive.

Please keep us in your prayers, it can be a stressful / exciting time for everyone, with a lot of unpredictable aspects thrown into the predictable, so you end up with predicated unpredictability.  Hugs are always my favourite things a these times.

Saturday, 12 August 2017

As Sea To Cameroon

At Sea

As we left Gran Canary,  I said goodbye to the Polar Star, our neighbour, an ice-breaker / small cruise liner that goes to the Antarctic, as always, it gets me thinking about going their again.  We also said goodbye to the grand and large oilrigs that were our neighbours for the time in Gran Canaries.

It was so lovely to spend time with my sons and Chelsea, just missing Emily being with us this time.  Seeing them was just what my heart needed and always does, I miss them so much.  We spend just quite time together, all on the same page, resting and chatting and having some nice meals out together, we all needed to just chill and restore. 

Spending a week in the UK was just so quick, I really hit the ground running and never stopped till I left, just not enough quality time with anyone,  everything seemed such a rush and whilst it was so lovely to catch up, there were many others I would have like to have seen and couldn’t.

I arrived back on the ship on the 30th or 31st, I cannot quite remember.  My first few days back were hesitant and I was relieved that things settled down well.  It is so lovely to have Jen back on-board, she is so lovely to work with and really making a huge difference to my workdays. 

Sailing has to be on the top of my to do list, I could spend much much more time at sea, the wild-life, the fresh air, the time to reflect and the vastness of the ocean, the magnitude or each day being recreated and the miracle of each new day is just much more evident to me here.

We have seen dolphins, a couple of whale spouts, a shark or two,  a few turtles plopping and bobbing by the ship, a few turns and other birds and lots and lots of flying fish.  They really are amazing creatures, they have grown since our last sail and I can see they have been practicing.  They have flocked and come in single flights, but they have learnt a few new tricks since last time, well some of them at least, they are bigger and have learnt to twitch their tails against the water to give themselves more air time, and gliding longer.  There are some prodigy babies too, who seem to have been born to fly, oh yes, and they were.

So, we approach Cameroon, we are due to go by 0 0 soon, and we will all become Diamond Royal Shellbacks, and will have a ceremony to celebrate.  That is what we call someone who has going across the Equator at 0 0. 

We had our first preparation for Cameroon last night in our community meeting, information was passed on and our hearts started to engage, and the reason we sail and the reason why I still do IS work for the moment is evident again.  There are many many people awaiting an opportunity of surgery.  The stories from last year, start to come back and I start to realise again how Good God is, how much He cares, how He has drawn each one of us to this ship and put it on the hearts of all those who support us, so that He can show His love to the people we will interact with, our lives being changed by there’s and there’s by ours.  A God who brings it all together in such and amazing way.  How could this work without Him.  It could not.

Please be praying for the Advanced Team who are there preparing for our arrival, please pray, that we will have good relationships from day one, please prayer that we will be equipped to serve and equipped to learn and to love by Him.  Please also prayer for our families., mom is moving on Monday to a lovely place but it’s a huge step.

Please also prayer for our IS Team to be able to work well in the setup phase, to be able to have the energy we need and the co-ordination of the tasks. 


Saturday, 5 August 2017

We Are Sailing

So we and me are out of Dry Dock.  After a most wonderful time with my lads and Chelsea in Gran Canaries, lots of resting, having meals together and just generally hanging out, we headed for London were I spend a very hectic few days catching up with people, as many as I could, seeing the doctor, dentist and getting a few more things done and flew back to the ship. 

It was good to be back and after a few days of adjusting I started to feel at home again on the ship, I was glad the dry dock period was over and I felt more whole again. 

We set sail today and what a beautiful sail day it was, the water was beautiful, we had a few flying fish, lots of dolphins, the first lot arriving as we did out At Sea Muster, and spotted a whole school of them just to the side of us,  and later on after work, the bow of the ship opened and pretty soon after that, another school of dolphins arrived and were swimming in the front waves of the ships, it was so exciting and then to top it up a little later we saw a whale spurting.  The sun went down and it was a beautiful sun set. 

So Cameroon, here we come.  We have a couple of weeks sail and then we will be in full swing of setup.

The ship is full of new crew, all excited to serve on-board. 

Back at home, my mom is preparing to move home, an obviously very stressful time.  Please prayer for her.
Other prayers are for a good sail, time of rest before we begin a very busy season. And please prayer for all our patients to be found and for our advanced team who are busy working hard, preparing so many things for our arrival.

I just want to thank you all again for supporting me to be here and I ask for prayers for wisdom for me for this season.  I am so grateful.

Sunday, 9 July 2017

In the Storm & Cactus's

Canarie Island has been a storm and a desert for me.  Everything just got harder.
Friends left, new people arrived, the air-con was no longer, work men were all around and I ended up feeling so sick that each day was difficult.  A variety of external difficulties were ongoing and work pressure mounted in a way I couldn't foresee or expected.

After a week of trying my best to preserver I had to take a day and a half off in order to recover.  Coming back to work, I landed in a storm or so it felt, confusion was before me and it was hard to see the wood for the trees.  It felt like my life too was being overhauled, pulled apart, pipes breaking and being put back together.  I too felt like I was in dry dock and it felt awful and I had such little reserves to work with.

God is good all the time and that was evident.  In the midst of everything was the vision of Him, the perfect Saviour, the one who gives and takes away, the one who builds and breaks down, the one who died for all and in the midst of this storm, I could see that clearer than before, it just drew me closer to God, it helped me see why He had had to come, it helped me see more of His ways, the more of our ways, the more of the need.  The Gospel message just got clearer for me and my love of God stronger, my need for Him all the more and the realisation that I still try and rely far too much on my own efforts, those that never work.

Through this, I came to see that more clearly, what He had been saying to me about nor being afraid to get out of the boat.  Its still not clear, but one thing I do know, is that it is calling me to Trust him and take a step that I have felt afraid to do and from that step, I think I will see clearer. 

Please do prayer for courage, wisdom and seeking first His Kingdom.

In the midst of the storm was an Oasis,  a trip this Saturday, even though I was exhausted, we had to get off the ship due to some maintenance that was going on.  So a work collegue, Elfred and I headed off to the Botanical Gardens.  I was much in the need of just wondering around in nature, seeing the amazing design in the creation and the diversity from  the other gardens I had been too in other countries.

The day started off with stumbling our way to the bus station, its about a 45 minutes walk out of the Port and its hard to know how to get around, we bumped into another Merchshipper who was also not quite sure of were they were going and we teamed up.  At the bus stop was a lady who looked quite desperate and in fumbled communication was trying to get us to get her onto the bus, she looked so exhausted and it just felt right that we assisted, we got to the blue bus station and found our way to the correct bus and off we went.  The Island I would describe is desert like, and the bus trip had a different type of beauty, Elfred is from Benin and has not travel much out of Benin before and everything was new to him and that was delightful, seeing old things with new eyes and lifting me outside my simmering storm into the moments around me. 

We got to the area and headed down a long drive to a top of  a very large hill, or small mountain,  which way to go, there were many choices and a map, that I just can never read, so very much relied on Elfred's wit and ability to read the map and we headed down the slopes, there were no guard rails, just a pathway and in this I realised I had accumulated some sort of courage or was it blindness to danger, I couldn't quite tell which ,but I felt sure footed and was happy that I was going downhill rather than up and could also push the trip home away for the moment.  The views were beautiful although different to other Botanical Gardens, all the more bringing home God's amazing creativity and diversity. 

We did feel like we were in some sort of Oasis in many areas and it was stunningly beautiful and as the day went on, more and more people appeared.  I will post some pictures when I get to download them and they will speak much more than I can.  We left the ship at about 10:30 and probably go to the site around 12ish and left there around 3pm.  There were also amazingly large lizards that at one particular spot were so abundant that they actually looked like they were part of the wall.  There was a very large one that looked like the Godfather and another one who was not so big but he looked like the Grandfather due to his greying sides and wrinkles, pictures to follow. 

The trip home was an adventure too, we were directed to a bus stop that was not in operation, this was in our attempt to not have to climb back up the mountain but after a while, we decided to ask a restaurant opposite the bus stop when the next bus would come and we were told, it wouldn't, so off we went and hikes but up the slopes, on arriving at the top, we saw an old lady of about 75 and wearing some not so wonderful hiking shoes, starting towards the down climb and wondered if it was such a good idea. 

Getting back to the bus stop and cooling down was a joy and then getting back to the ship was a great thing too.

Elfred was a delightful person to see the gardens with, due to his delight in everything he saw, although I am sure he may have found it more enjoyable with a younger group of young men but either way, it was a good day and left me exhausted but well travelled, more delighted in the world and not needing to go to the gym or for a walk.

Thursday, 22 June 2017

Praise always Bring Back Hope

I can't say I am enjoying Ship Yard, its hot, sticky, living in a mettle home with no aircon and being below deck is not the most pleasant environment.  Work has been a bit harder, energy has been low and my tooth has been playing up again, and I can feel a summer cold coming on.

The day was a touch one, emotions all over the place for various reason, but in the middle of all this, God is good.  Community meetings that I just didn't feel like going to was just what I needed.  Starting off with praise and worship and being reminded of who God is, how great, amazing, compassionate and powerful and feeling His greatness even in a small way brought my heart in the right direction and being reminded of our mission and why the ship is here, in her own hospital, being fixed and refitted, again, pulled me higher.

Why do I forget so easily?
Why do I let worry and fretting come in? That only leads to evil, His word says.
Why do I stop even for a moment, looking to the One who can help and wants to help?
Why, because I am frail, and He know it, He knew I would need Him, He knew those I love would need Him, He knew that is would all be too much for me, He knew forgiveness would be needed, He knew that Grace, Compassion and Long-suffering would need topping up and He knew that I would need all that from Him.  So, He sent Jesus, He sent Him to live and die and raise from the dead, He sent Him to be my Savour and Redeemer and I am so glad He did.

Where would I be without Him.
Where am I with Him.

And, today, He also send me good friends, friends from afar, to talk to, to prayer and to help.

Praising Him always brings back Hope.

1 Corinthians 13,

Tuesday, 20 June 2017

Week One in Canarie - A Tweet

Weekend  : The weekend was very full, it was hot, it involved tons of walking, and ships moving out of the ocean.  Yip, really, into Dry Dock.  I have some photos that I will post.  They sailed the ship around to an area, they had already built a mould of the bottom of the ship, we sailed in and a diver went down and made sure everything was line up as it should be and then they raised up this prebuilt mold and it lifted the ship.  Once that was done, three trucks or power trucks came and pulled the ship to its holding place for dry dock.

Whilst this was happening, we all had to get off the ship, so we went down to Port Mogan for the day, 3 buses, some bright red crabs, many sailing boats in the water, tons of hotels and people on the way, we walked far, and relaxed a bit in this town.  This is the same town or near to it that the lads and I will be going to in July.  Dogs, I saw dogs, they were so cute, having not seen dogs for so long, it was a treat, dogs always make me smile and think of God's creativity and humour and compassion as He give us such loyal friends.

So it was back to work today and with no aircon on the ship, I was feeling rather sick by the end of the day and was very happy to get to my cabin.

The ship is really high now, when you walk up the stairs, you get to deck 7 and you feel like you much highter than before, because you are. The view is very different and suddenly we have tons of new people aboard too, and no more French, but Spanish. Things have changed rather dramatically in so many ways.  The food is different, the people are different, many many many people have left, hopefully to be seen again, but many perhaps only in the next life.  The view is different, the temperature is different, the language different the computer  systems changing and the ship itself is transformed in its look and its feel.  No longer a hospital for people but a ship hospital, all its revamps and fixes, bandages and overhauls.

Prayers:  Heat& protection.  Heat because its really hot and I  tend to feel sick in the heat, half an hour of humidity is enough to make me nauseous and get a head ache, so I would much appreciate prayer for the next few weeks.  Protection for everyone around the ship as they work and walk around a working dock. and travel around a new place.

Please also continue to prayer for my mom who is still in hospital but moved to rehab today, she is not having a good time and its been hard being here where I can't help.  My aunt too has lung caner and needs prayers for full healing.  My tooth is also playing up again, not too badly but enough to make me wonder if I do need that root canal and cap.

Friday, 16 June 2017

First Few Days in Gran Canary

Our Home is turning into a maintenance time, the hospital is no more a hospital and their are workmen all around.

Everyone was excited to be here and lots of people took the walk to the Port gate and into town, that is about an hour walk, I see some Mercy Hips being shed, but then if you eating ice cream then maybe not.  It was wonderful to see little dogs on leads, something you dont' see much of in Benin and I have so missed the animals and pets that are around, something good about were I am now.

Many many goodbyes are happening and of course many hellos as well.  There are more new people each time I look.

When we walked down to town, we took our little town with us, wherever we went, we saw Mercyshipers along the route, sitting down and having a meal and watching the sun go down.  We saw a lady walking down dressed in African gear and we called out, Mamma Africa, and she came over and had a chat with us, there really was a lot of joy amongst us all as we ventured out.  The new African crew members who have not travelled outside Benin before were exploring this new land.

The other thing that struck me was the greenery and trees, and along the Port main walk, are trees from Madagascar,  go figure.

There are new sites and sounds everywhere and each time I walk past the window, I have to adjust to the different view  Home that move.  I will post pictures soon.

In the next couple of days, we will go into Dry Dock, I am working on Monday, most of the ship have been asked to go ashore because there will be no water, toilets, cold food etc, as we enter into the dry docks, it should be an interesting experience.

News on mom:  She is still in hospital but seems to be doing well.  I will be speaking to her again tommorrow.  Please keep her in your prayers, for a good recovery, for her to grow strong and get good nutrition in her.  It is very worrying, but I am asking the Lord to be were I cant and know He will be.


Sunday, 11 June 2017

Sunday Update - Mom in Hospital Again

This morning I awoke to a message from Mom's friend Mandy letting me know that mom had fallen again and was back in hospital with a broken leg, this time the other leg.

She has had an operation this afternoon and I have not been able to speak to her yet but apparently she is doing ok.

Please be praying as she was going to have an interview about accommodation this week.

I am still sailing and we had worship on the bow this afternoon, we spotted some dolphins that came springing along to play in our movement, and the flying fish were also in abundance and were flocks or schools of them.  Last year the same thing happened, when we were worship the dolphins came along. What a blessing to end a day that started out so bad.

I spent a lot of the time on the bow praying and trusting God to be were  I can't be and asking Him to sort out what I cant.  I am so grateful to Lindsey and to Mandy, they have both been so amazing that I can't even express my gratitude.

God is good.

Saturday, 10 June 2017

Update 9th and 10th

Africa Mercy Update - 9 June
The Africa Mercy is currently west of Guinea sailing through rain squalls. The course remains 307, as of this noon report.  The ship will soon be turned to a northerly course. The temperature has warmed to nearly 90 and the wind is 27 knts.  The vessel continues to roll about 3 degrees

The day was a good one, I had the afternoon off and was about to dash out to the bow but when I got there it was closed,  suddenly the rain had come up and we had headed into a small storm.  I was pretty tired from the working week, which is always a big harder during the sail, we are funnily not as busy but that I find to be quite tiring along with the motion of the ship, so I headed for my cabin and had a little nap.  I woke up in time to get back to the bow which was then open and was surprised by a wonderful wildlife moment, as we were looking over the bow, a sea turtle floated past, he or she was bobbing alongside the boat and didn't look very confident at all and I was a bit concerned he might bump into the ship, what an amazing site though.  The flying fish were also seeming to have some flying competitions out there,  and there were more of them as we go more north.

Today, the 10th, I woke with the Captain's announcing that the bow was open, that alone is enough to get me out of bed and excited to get out and about. Sailing is got to be one of the best things.
I headed to deck 7 first and spent some time playing the guitar but then decided I just couldn't stay away from the bow, so I headed there and spent most of the day, firstly reading for a bit and just watching the flying fish and again had an amazing spot of 3 dolfins that had decided that they would come along with the ship and were directly below the ship racing it. What an amazing site.  A little later in the day, we spotted some whales spurting but never got to see them come up at all.  Next was a flying bird that nearly hit into a flying fish.  During the sail they have quite a few activities for the crew, the activity tonight which I didn't join in for is sock golf, but I can hear it going on.  Last night was open mike, which I did stay and watch.

Tomorrow I am going to be shown how to dry flowers and then we will have worship on the bow at 3pm.

Friday, 9 June 2017

Update 8 June & 9th

The vessel is rolling lightly, hardly noticeable. The Africa Mercy is west of Sierra Leone and has traveled over 1300 nautical miles.  There is another 1400 nautical miles remaining in the voyage. 

Today we did a Man Over-board drill  and as I was sitting assisting a crew-mate with her computer, the call came over the system.  There are whales on the Port Side,  there was a stampead of what sounded like elephants going up the steps as everyone clambered to see the sea and where the whales were.  Alas I saw none, but saw some satisfied faces, a reminder for me to make the most of being as sea tommorrow, when I have the afternoon off.

Today is the 9th and Yippee, I am off this afternoon, and the Bow is open, so I am off to make a sandwich and head onto the Bow to watch for wildlife.

A few more flying fish, in fact, they are with us the whole way.  I also spotted a silver something in the middle of the ocean. 

I am hoping for some dolphins soon.

Wednesday, 7 June 2017

June 6 Update

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The Africa Mercy continues to make god progress on its journey to Las Palmas.  As of noon (ship time or 0600 CDT) the vessel has traveled 768 nautical miles. Just over 1900 nautical miles remaining.
The temperature is 28 C or 82 F.  It is slightly overcast. The ship is rolling slightly, up to 5 degrees.  

Tuesday, 6 June 2017

5 June Update

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Africa Mercy is making good headway on the sail to Las Palmas.  The vessel is approximately south of Abidjan, Ivory Coast.  The sea is calm and the vessel is rolling lightly.

I saw a couple of whales spouting from a distance today,   I think I did anyway.

Sunday, 4 June 2017

We Are Sailing

We set sail on the 3rd June at around 2:30pm, we all were standing on the Monkey Bridge, just above the bridge and were waving goodbye to Benin and to many people down on the dock who were from surrounding ships.  A couple of our Worship leaders starting playing the drums and we sang a song that was so reminisant of dancing and singing with our patients.  It was one of those moments when many different types of emotions came to the surface, faces of the people we have connected with, the images of the types of operation that were done, from the dental to the eyes, to the tumours and orthopaedics.  It was not feel sad and happy at the same time. 
This was the first time I had left a country, but have arrived twice.  As we were sailing in a slightly dodgy area, pirates wise, we had a Navy escort for the first 50 miles, lots of us spent the first part of the day on deck, watching the waves, looking out for the flying fish and seeing the little Naval vessel just off our Starboard side. 
The first night on the ship was calm and although we had a few bigger roles in the middle of the night, I never heard too many bangs or clangs, so it seems like its smooth sailing.  We cross the equator today and will be heading into the Doldrums sometime soon, I never realised that the Doldrums was an actual place.  It is a very calm sea area, with very little wind, which meant when the sailing ships are trying to catch the wind, they could be struck in the Doldrums for days.  Just as well, we not relying on the wind then.

Today I woke and headed up to the Monkey Bridge again and spent a good hour or two out there before coming in to High Tea on the High Seas, and our Acapella group which I used to be part of and will be again next year, sang to us.  After that, it was more watching out for wildlife, and saw a few flying fish again and then we had Worship on deck 7 for a good hour.

Tomorrow will be a working day, so I best get to sleep.

Oh yes, we are on our way to Gran Canarie for Dry Docks and ship maintenance.  

Tuesday, 30 May 2017

Finishing in Benin

We are all now working hard to secure the ship for sail.  The last week has been very emotional for many people,  Saying goodbye to the Day Crew, considering them not coming to the ship daily made me feel sad for a variety of reasons.  Sitting in the dining room, I felt encouraged by the Lord, He reminded me of the the friendships that had been forged on the ship and all the support they had from each other in edging their ways in the new roads ahead.  That helped.

Flights have been frequent, dinners out plentiful, although I always tend to eat on the ship, but the dinning room has been empty as so many have been going out for those last meals, last connections and fairwell parties.

On Sunday a group of us headed off to our last Church meeting.  We had a great teaching by Andy Stanely whom I have come to listen to quite a bit and we then had a Pot Luck lunch.  Again we said some goodbyes or farewells for now.

Goodbyes on the ship tend to be that way, you never know when you will see someone again.  I am so looking forward for instance to my friend from Holland, Martha whom I spent a lot of time with in Madagascar, coming back in August.

We are now in for an end season and a new one to begin from when we sail, this will be fairly soon.

This morning I was up at 03:45 in order to help out with a pre-sail activity, this was from 04:00 till 06:00 and it was not too easy to sleep as I kept thinking the alarm wouldn't go off, but it did and I was up and awake before long.  Then the rest of this day has been quite a heavy load, we were securing the ship for sail, this for our department means making sure that the computers and fastened to the desk and the big printers etc are also secure.  My fingers are a bit sore tonight as you often have to pull off the old Velcro to put on the new ones.

The next few days will be more farewells and more pack up activities.   Once we do sail, the Internet connection will drop radically, we currently have had close to 50mb and that will drop down to about 2.5 so needless to say, Skyping and other such forms of communication will drop off for a while, although e-mails will be possible.

I meant to thank everyone for their prayers for the final patients we had, who needed healing,  the prayers were answered and thankfully, we had some really miraculous healing as we had our special prayer evening.  The stories just kept coming in, so thank you to everyone who prayers.

We sail to Gran Canary for Ship Yard.

Tuesday, 23 May 2017

Latest Sketch and Prayer Requests

This is a picture of young Bailey, my friend Lyndsey' Granddaughter, I stayed with Lyndsey in South Africa and she was so amazing in all she did to help me.

I realised after I had started how important the right tools are, I was very much struggling with the eyes and then realised why, I was using a B5 pencil, instead of my usual B.  This is not quite finished but I am leaving it were it is, although I may give it one more session for a final touch.

Prayer Requests:
Continued prayer for Mom's healing and a new home.
A very busy time on the ship

We will be doing some Stowaway watches coming up soon, not exactly sure when but when we do it will be a very early start to the morning as I am planing with my friend Kim to do a 4 - 6 am.  

Please prayer for the final patients that still need healing and for all our Day Crew who will be saying goodbye to us at the end of the field service.  Please prayer that they will all find new jobs and have found their time with us a blessing that they can take with them into their new roles,  They have all been such a blessing to us.

Saturday, 20 May 2017

Janets patient story

My room mate Janet told a touching story on Friday about a seven month journey with one of the patients that she was very involved with.

Cecile had one of the saddest stories and I can see know why her eyes were so shy and sad when I first meet her towards the beginning of her journey.

She developed a small pimple on the side of her chin and as it started to develop into a tumour.  This grew and grew and she was not able to get any medical help.  Her husband got scared and therefore left her and shortly after that 4 men arrived on her doorstep and physically took her out the house and just left her on the street as they didn't want someone with her condition staying in their premises.

She managed to get some help - for a lot of money - and some people took her to her fathers were thankfully she got help.  Many though of the people in the community also rejected her.

Her father heard about a Pastor who stayed a distance from the village and took her to see him  This wonderful man had a real heart for people in her condition and took her into his home and treated her as one of the family, given her love, telling her about the love of Jesus and looking after her.

He tried to get her medical help but nothing helped, it just kept growing.  He then somehow found out about MercyShips coming to Benin and arrange to get her to the screening and mercifully, the doctors thought they could help her.  When Janet first met her, she was very under nourished and needed to get added nutrition in order to help prepare her for surgery.  She had the surgery and the difference was so amazing.  It was a very long journey for her with us and Janet was by her side all the way, loving her and showing her how much value she had.  Janet was able to have the privilege to take her home and to meet the wonderful Pastor who had helped her and hear her give her testimony to the whole village, giving glory to Jesus all the way, she knew how much He had done for her and quite a few of the villages gave their lives to Jesus, wanting to know this God who was able to do so much for her.

I will try and get some photos or her before and after if I can.

Preparing for Sail and My Room Mate Silke on Funky Friday

The Life Boats being tested

 Silke on Funky Friday were all the hospital staff dress up

Monday, 15 May 2017

Random Photos

Random things that Fly by your Window When Living On a Ship

Karen my South African Friend and Sveta from Russia
Our Tuesday Night Prayer Group
 Roses at her Birthday Part playing Wee Ten Pin Bowling with friends playing board games in the background.
The Service on Sunday for the Patients
 You can't see all the stickers on the wall, but there are many, these are the patients we were praying for.
 We will be sailing soon, so this was Life Boat Drill.

A Special Service and an Unexpected Blessing

After a busy weekend, we have a special Community Service this Sunday night that was very touching and sad but very worthwhile.

3 Teams came up to speak and the subject was sadness:  Three Areas, Three Teams that have had a lot of struggle over the Field Service.

The first team that came up to speak was the Screening Team and they showed a photo of some files on a shelve and then went on to explain that those files represented the patients that we were not able to help, people who had come with hope in the beginning of the service but that we had to turn away for a whole variety of reasons.  There were so many more no's than there were yes's and this special team of nursers and doctors were the ones who had to say no, over and over again.

The 2nd Team that spoke, was the Palliative Care Team,  there are were at least 26 patients that this team came alongside during our time in Benin, they walked the walk with them and she gave a beautiful talk about the ugliness next to the beauty of this walk, she spoke of the ugliness of finding cancer but the beauty that although we couldnt' operate, we were able to link them up with some other organisation that could help. the ugliness of a patient with cancer having HIV and his wife also being infected, but the beauty of her forgiveness that enabled her to decided to stay with her husband and with the teams help, was with him to the end, the ugliness of her having to come to terms with her own illness and the beauty of them helping her find local help to get the right medication and support quick enough that she will be OK.  The talk was beautiful and there were many more stories of how they had been able to make an positive impact in these peoples lives and to help them gain local help for when we leave.

The 3rd team that spoke was the Chaplaincy and their journeys alongside the patients,  each person that we have to give bad news too, who has to be turned away after they have been given a chance to see doctors with the hope that we can do something and then find out we can, this wonderful team is their to pray with the patients and to help them gain support.

After they finished talking, we had a lot of pieces of paper with each patients name, and we were asked to come up and stick the names onto the wall, These were all people that we are trusting God to bring healing and help in other ways, we wanted to cover them with prayer and to do the hard work of prayer and lift these burdens to God who is able to do what we can't.  We broke into small groups  and prayed for all we couldn't do.

Although this was a sad time and a time of reflection, it was also time were we knew we were doing the most powerful things we could and that placing these people in the hands of the one who loves them the most is a great part of the work of the African Mercy.

This evening, that is Monday, we all came together again in the International Lounge and we watch session 7 of the National Geographic series that is well underway in many countries and starting in Britain this Saturday at 10pm.  After that finished I headed down to the wards and started playing Dominoes with a patient that I had not met yet, when suddenly there was someone I recognised who came to say hello, it was Blessing and her Mum.  She looked happy but said she was not happy to be here because little Blessing had some sort of infection and that is why she was back.
She was very keen though for a game or two, so when the gentleman patient didn't want to play anymore, I headed around the corner for a few games with her.  We had a pretty even game and I am hoping to go up to deck 7 tomorrow, if I am not too busy and see if we can get a translator so I can teach her Othello. Little Blessing was getting a little tired and grisly but it was nice to see her, and be able to have the opportunity to see them again and no that I can prayer for her.

So the prayer request today would be to please join us on board as we get ready to sail and leave, for all the patients who we could not help and to please prayer for little Blessing and her mom, that they can leave here on Wednesday fully healed and whole.  I am hoping to get a picture of her, the only one I found the other day, she did not look very happy as it was just before her operation.

Sunday, 14 May 2017

Whats Up

These are a couple of jobs I worked on during the week

  • Changed a couple of toner's 
  • Helped someone get sorted on their computer as they were just joining
  • Fixed a phone - the phone by the pool that was not working, due to a cabling error.
  • Got familiarised with the Pro Present for the International Lounge or Audio Visual presentations
  • Fixed a couple of corrupt user profile.
  • Helped our founder to post a happy birthday video to a friend on Facebook

A Weekend of Events

  • We have already had a leaving doe this Friday night for a girl who has been on-board for 9 years, so we all meet in Midships and celebrated her time on-board.
  • The next evening we had a birthday party in the Hospital Conference room, were we did some Wi Ten Pin bowling and then went onto play Bananagrams, which I am hopeless at, since I can't spell and then I went onto play a numerical game which was much more up my street.
  • Today, I am still on pager duty so I got up a bit earlier than normal but couldn't go off ship for church as I need to be nearby.  This afternoon, I have a bridal shower and then two events this evening.  We are hosting our on-land church family for a bring and share, on deck 8 and then I also have to help host our day crew, who is becoming full time crew's family, who are coming onboard to see where he is going to be living and working.  Elfred is a great to have on our team and I am so pleased he will get to sail with us and to work with us again next year in Cameroon.
I have also been battling a little virus which kept me from walking at 5am this week, so I am going to have to do double time next week.  Walking in the morning and early evening.  I feel that I must step up my steps, its just a good things to step into.  I am really hoping that Gran Canary has some nice walking spots.

Monday, 8 May 2017

A Busy Time Ahead & Prayer Request.

As we are on end phase of the Benin service, lots of people are starting to leave.  There are lots of farewells and as time goes on there will be less hello's and the ship will slowly become a slightly quieter place.

This last weekend I went out to lunch with my friend Karen and had some delicious ice-cream but then I forgot we were having the AFM African Material Fashion Show, apparently it was wonderful and I will post some pictures, even though I didn’t go.  During the services here, there has been a lot of people going out to the fabric markets and then we have two taylors who have done the most amazing job of kitting everyone out with African style clothing.  I have had a couple of things made, the one was after going out for the Batique day, the material I made, I had turned into a skirt and I had a top made.  So, they decided to have a fashion show and apparently they totally turned around the International Lounge.  I could kick myself for having missed it.  I would have loved to support the taylors who have worked so hard.

For some reason I have been fighting something over the past week and am feeling quite tired. I have had some issues with two of my important teeth, so I would like to please ask for prayer that they will be able to be sorted out.  Earlier on in the service, I mentioned that I needed a root canal and was supposed to have it in South Africa, but due to a mis-understanding was not able to have it, which worked out for good, as a covering seemed to be the trick and whilst it is still sensitive, it has improved.  I then found that I was getting a sudden pain on the opposite tooth and found out that I had something called galvanic activity which is caused by a metal filling again a gold crown, the two mettles through a I don’t like you party and the result is a shock to my mouth.  I thought this was sorted as the dentist onboard took out the metal filling and replaced it, having done that I had a few days of what I thought was bliss but he did warm me about something that I couldn’t understand and whatever that was, has occurred as the pain is back.  With the ship going to ship yard, there we don’t have a dentist on-board so I am hoping something can happen whilst I still have time.

The issue also is that back in the UK these sorts of appointments are quite costly and would be similar in Gran Canary and I am not wanting to go to a dentist I don’t know.  So prayers that the dentist here can sort out something or for a miraculous healing would be most gratefully accepted.

Tuesday, 2 May 2017

The Surgery Ship - National Geographic Dates in Various Countries

From 26 March - 14 May 2017
BELGIUM & THE NETHERLANDSFrom 24 March - 13 May 2017
From 27 March - 15 May 2017
From 2 April - 21 May 2017
From 5 April - 24 May 2017
From 18 April - 6 June 2017
From 7 April - 26 May 2017
From 10 May - 28 June 2017
From 20 May - 8 July 2017
AFRICA - That's all across Africa 
From 6 May - 24 June 2017

Monday, 1 May 2017

Pager Duty Week & New's & Prayer Requests

Hi, this week I am on pager duty, for some reason this I find very tiring.

I think its the Adrenalin rush that occurs whenever the pager goes off, and this its think is linked to the fact that I don't operate well when I am called to do something that I am not prepared for, especially when I am called into a room, to a device or software that I have not yet been trained on.

I guess that means I won't be an ambulance driver.  Funny that.

So prayers for this week would be good.  Either that there will be no emergencies, or that I will just really start enjoying these jolts of electrical shock that goes through my body - maybe not then.....

Tonight I am going to watch number 5 in the National Geographic Series that they are showing on the ship.

Other prayers will be for all the goodbye's that will start to happen more and more from this week. We as a crew are edging towards the end of Field Service.  There are lots of people leaving and the day crew who will be also finishing with us.

It was the start today of new's for me.  I left last time in the middle of the field service, so  I have not done pack down and field service goodbyes.  So today was my first meeting were the procedures started to be announced.

As an IS department, we will also enter into a fairly physical side of the work, we will start packing down departments and storing equipment and also start to secure items for the sail.

Friday, 28 April 2017

More Info on Mercyships and an Embassy Night Out

Our pre Cameroon team have been in Cameron and this is a small but they wrote:

Its been a pleasure and privilege of training 30 young Cameroonian doctors on the Mercy Ships Screening process for Cameroon. 
We spent the days covering topics such as:
-       Mercy Ships history and vision
-       Core Values
-       Surgical Scope of practice
-       Communication with patients
-       Patient flow and transportation plan
-       Taking medical photos
-       Mobile Screening App technology
-       And more…
I went last night to an event at with 8 other South Africans, for Freedom day, it was an SA Embassy event and we had the Embasoders  from all the other Embassy as well.  We had a few snacks and it was a delight to sing in the car on the way there,   "Agh please Daddy won't you take us to the drive in", all in a strong South African accents, we spoke (I listened) Afrikaans and generally were very South African, it showed me just how South African I still am.  And at the end of the evening, we went off for ice-cream.  It was a pleasant evening and I really enjoyed being with my fellow crew mates. The mingling at the Embassey was not my favourite part but the South African Ambassador is a really lovely lady whom I enjoyed meeting again, she is very gracious and a real servant heart.  I am hoping they will send us a photo through.  I have a rather blury one I will post if we don't get the photographers one.

Tuesday, 25 April 2017

Testing E-Mailing Posts

This is just a test to see if a setting to setup Blog e-mails work.

Monday, 24 April 2017

Little Blessing & Dominos

A wondered down to the ward this evening, feeling inspired after watching episode four of the National Geographic series and there was still within visiting time.

I grabbed some stickers, which the young children always love,  Di had sent them to me and they have been an lovely surprise to see how the younger children are not the only ones who like a smiley face.  One of the little girls though who seems to be recovering well from her operation, took delight in taking each sticker I gave her and sticking them on the nurses, rather than herself.

I checked in with the Ward Sister and she let me know of a young child around the corner who might like to play some Dominoes, a newly arrived game that Di's lovely sister Jan sent me with a crew member, alongside Othello, both games that I thought would be easy to teach and requite little language.

The young teen was not quite up to playing or was not too sure of what he was getting into and said no but next door to him was a young mom called Flo and her very cute little daughter called Blessing. Blessing just looked at me with the biggest eyes, that were penetrating and I was not quite sure if she was going to cry or just stare at me.  As she looked, the tiniest little smile entered her eyes and never quite made it to her lips for a while at least but as she watch her mom and I start to play, she slowly smiled a little more, mostly with her eyes. She was the sweetest little thing and so good, she must have been a couple of years old and didn't make a fuss at all.  She just watch and occasionally let me know that she was OK but the little smile that was just behind her eyes.  I think I may have just found my next sketch, if I an find a photo of her. She definitely crept into my heart and I really enjoyed the game with her mom.  We ended up winning two games each and tying twice, so I will go down again tomorrow and we can finish the game.

I also did a job shadow today as a Ward Administrator and although I think I can do the job,  I am not really sure if it is the right job for me.  There is much time though, as the job is not going at the moment.

I must just do some more praying about this and will see what transpires.  In the meantime, I am happy in IS and the investigations have helped me be settled.

Sunday, 23 April 2017

Few More Photos from Various Things

From Craft Evening
 My Friend Lyndy, pondering her Poetry
 My South African Friend Karen
 Mireya, Theresa & I
 The StarBucks Cafe
 Giving Blood
 On the Way to Babs Dock
 Recycling Creativity on the Way
 Joan and Fiona, 2 South African Ladies I spent the day with at Babs Dock
 Mangrove Trees on the Way to Babs Dock