To Donate

JustGiving - Sponsor me now!

Monday, 9 October 2017

Quick Prayer Request

We have a lot of people on the ship sick, that is crew.

I would like to prayer that in the next few days I can stay healthy and of course for the crew on-board who are sick.  There is fever and diarrhoea, cold and vomiting and a few other symptoms too, this seems to last a week or two for most people.  Its been going on for the past few weeks and I have been fine but as I am so busy and getting a bit run down, I would not like to travel whilst being sick in this way. 


Sunday, 8 October 2017

Trip to Eco Waterfalls

We had a great day out and a long drive, we left at 7:30 in the morning and all meet on the dock and then headed to the central gate to meet the tour company, they were waiting for us and off we went.  The police at the gate signed us out as they like to look after us as we venture out.  There is quite a bit of unrest in the country at the moment which I will write about later, so there are some areas we are not allowed to go to and there are a lot of police around.

We were only stopped twice on the way there, other groups reported a lot more stops so we were fortunate.   On the way there we saw many plantations, we stopped off at at Kena making oil facility and I could not help but wonder about the lungs of the people who were involved in this process, the photos will follow and you will see what I mean.

We also stopped at a flower plantation and were fortunate enough to see some of the packing and production of the flowers and we took a walk though the flowers.  Our tour guide I nick names Hello Travel Agent as she kept on saying Hello Hello when we wanted to move us on and I was always the one in the back trying tons of photos, so I heard a lot of Hello hello to move me on.

We finally arrived at the Waterfall area for a lovely picnic lunch.  Our tour guide had cooked some wonderful rice and chicken which was so tasty and there was plenty of it, and we also had the most wonderful fresh pineapples.  It was a treat and she provided us with proper plates and cutlery.  Then we went off to see the waterfall, I guess the best way to explain that will be with the photos which I will put on as soon as they are downloaded.  They were beautiful and a few of us ventured down the long walk to the lookout were we could see another 3 waterfalls, from a different angle.  We got soaking wet but it was sooooo beautiful and totally worth it.

On the way back we needed to use the loo, this is always quite adventurous when you are travelling in Africa, its by the side of the road or in the bushes, to be honest,  I would have preferred the bushes to the toilet, next time I will remember.

We headed back and found that it was quite late, 4 pm by the time we left, we wouldn't be back for dinner then.  The drive back was fine and the adventure there was when it started to pour with rain and I heard Martha in the back seat saying, Dayle please take a photo, but I had unfortunately put my camera away, but I turned around and say the 3 in the back seat sitting with plastic around there head, as the water was seeping in the back seat.  Oh yes, twice as we were driving the back door flew open and thankfully the seats were  well in and we didn't loose anything.  This is Africa and I am going to miss these wonderful friends.







Thursday, 5 October 2017

Last Week

Work is going well, its very busy, we had waffle day today.  Packing has started and a week of lasts are happening again and I feel, how can I be leaving here when I love it so much.

Don't look back and don't consider the losses but celebrate what you have ahead is what I see, the mountain is still there even though I don't see it just yet.  I am encouraged to look forward to trust God in all things, to know He is calling me to a new season for a while anyway, He is always right and I do trust Him but its going to be hard.

Tomorrow I go to Eco Waterfalls, were Tarzan was made with a group of my close friends on-board, we are up early and off for the day.

Tonight was my last Thursday community meeting for a while anyway.  It was a great talk by Susan Parker, about being incarnation and what that means.

Monday, 2 October 2017

On the Wards

Tonight I popped down and meet young Kana, I had meet him yesterday at the award service and had got to tickle his toes.

This evening I had some cross stitch that Di had given me, I stopped by Lyndy to get some instructions on how to best do this craft and then headed down. The ward nurse directed me to Kana and his grandma who is his career whilst in hospital. She sleeps under his bed. 

Kana was up for a game of dominoes and beat me the first two games. The day crew from Cameroon are really lovely and one of them helped translate and was such a patient lovely lady.

The rest of the girls on the ward also wanted to do the cross stitch , this is always a big issues when going down. Luckily I had just enough except for one but luckily she was crouching and I had some spare wool. It is quite difficult really, you never know when you go down if you will be OK with just a couple of crafts or need more than you have.  I think on Wednesday, I will go back to the flowers as there is always enough to go around.  

Sunday, 1 October 2017

Ward Service

I was up and about and down to the ward service this morning.  They now do that in the orthopaedic ward which makes much sense.  I sat next to a little boy who slept a lot at the beginning but after a while he opened his eyes and was immediately instructed by his grandma to start clapping, the poor little thing looked blankly at her and tried as best he could to comply.  He did a good job.  Tickling his toes on one foot made the toes on the other foot giggle around too and a small smile was raised.  Its quite amazing the nerve blocking that the medicine does, keeping him out of pain for the first days as he is healing.

The ward is always a colour and fun place to be, but also a lot slow healing of body and spirit.  When the patients first arrive, many do not know what to expect and must feel very scared and unsure, I believe there can be a lot of false stories going around about the ship when it first arrives but as patients come and go home healed, the real heart of our mission is then what they can tell.

There was singing, hair being platted, bright coloured hair bands decorating hair and nurses singing on guitars,  there is Koffi a wonderful Benin Chaplain who tells bible stories and asks everyone questions about what they have heard and what other options the people in the stories had with choices they made, that is a lesson I always take with me.  Lord what other options can I make or could I have made in any given situation.

Its always so uplifting and humbling to attend a ward service.

Saturday, 30 September 2017

Photos






Next Steps

My next steps are to be heading off the ship.  Yes, another chapter calls.  A while back on a retreat, I thought I heard the Lord asking me not to be afraid to get off the ship.  Of course this was at a time when I was indeed afraid to leave.  I love it here and there is so much about life with Mercyships that meets my heart. The Mercy, the Compassion, the Unity and the lives that are changed.  Not just of the patients but also of the people who come here to serve, yet are changed in the process. There are stories after stories and my life is the same.  How sad I will be on my last day but I will not be afraid, because the Lord has told me not to be and my love of the ship and the ministry will go on and I feel I will be back at some time.

The most definate of that journey was getting out of computers, to get out of a profession that started 20 years ago.  Its the right decision though and I am excited about my next steps.

I have loved horses all my life, I have also loved art since I first saw a pencil and I have always loved people and Jesus.  For a lot of my life I have neglected all of those things, but Jesus who found me when I was lost and loved me when  I was at my worst did a miracle for me when I was 15 and healed my best friend who was my horse at the time.  He has always been a God of healing and mercy and it was His character of love and light that gradually called my heart back to Him about 16 years ago.  If you hear the call in your heart, don't delay, there is not better home and place of safety than with Him.

During shipyard on the ship, it became clear to me that I couldn't keep ignoring that I was not a good fit for the computer world, I tried and I worked hard and I loved the ship and the mission but when I was back in the UK, Di took me to a ministry in Wokingham which combined all that I loved, horses, art, people and Jesus.  An opportunity to work alongside this ministry is what has given me the courage to step out of the boat soon, it will be with acknowledging God and asking Him to guide me, it has been with prayer and many many people saying, this will suit you so well, that I have made the decision.  As yet, it is still not totally clear how the future will unfold but I will keep this blog updated with the progress.  Our Mount Cameroon, keeps appearing and then disappearing and in that analogy, I hear the Lord telling me to keep my eyes focussed on Him, keep focussed on whats here right now and that the vision He has given me will not go away, it is just hidden for good reason at the moment, so that I can concentrate on what I am doing today. I love working in Starbucks, I love that lack on complexity, the contact with people daily and many other things about it.

I leave the ship on the 12th October and fly to Durban where I will spend some time with family and friends there, and in the process I will be exploring and finalising next steps.

Today I ventured out into the town of Duala with my dear friend Shirley, we caught the bus and wondered down past the flower stalls and a few art stalls and then back down the road were we found the bats, that is the bats we see each night from the ship, as the sun drops behind the horisen, the first ones take flight and before long, we see a procession of them coming over.  They were plentiful and next time I will bring a camera with me.  The photo I take will be for Simoen and Marilyn.

We are having our Hope Centre dedication tommorrow.  I hope to go along if there is room.

There is quite a lot of sickness on the ship at the moment, so please keep the crew in your prayers. Living onboard the wonderful vessel has its difficulties and passing on illness is one of them.




Monday, 25 September 2017

Work in the Cafe

I usually start work at 8am and my first job is to clean the tables and to get the coffee machine put on and do a general tidy, restocking and login in etc.

Each day of the week we have a different bigger job, like cleaning the coffee machine.

At 9 am we open for service and there is usually one or two people waiting for us to open and after that, in general it is busy.

Tomorrow I am on a later shift, so I start at 12:00 and get off for dinner and then open again at 6pm till 9pm.  A late night for me then, I usually get to bed pretty early so this will be a new thing for me.

We also have different days were we have something special, like tommorrow its popcorn day and on Friday is Waffle Friday.

Not much more to report at the moment.



Friday, 22 September 2017

A New Job for the Moment

I will post more information soon but I just wanted to explain why I have been a bit quite,  change has been afoot and me and change are not always compatible,  I fight change and I struggle under the pressure it   then I hibernate until it becomes a bit more settled. 

I left the IS department with a huge sigh of relief and joined the Sales Team in the Star Bucks Café,  one of my new work colleagues has  great t-shirt, that says Star Bucks Café, May the Froth be With You.  It’s a great department to be in and a total change of pass for me, much more people contact and a lot less complicated.  Seeing people come up in the midst of their stressful days and stop and order a coffee, I never realised how many different sorts there were but I have been enjoying finding out. 
My main job is either serving on the till, stocking the little ship shop that we have, serving cokes, or coffee’s and then cleaning  On Tuesday we also make popcorn, which helps one be greeted with a hungry smile and then on Friday, my first one tomorrow, is waffle Friday, which I believe is a rather busy and full on time.  It is also a great temptation working in the café, you are always smelling lovley thing and being temped. 

We also had a very interesting talk this evening about what it is like being a Christian in Cameroon and what are the challenges.  It was very interesting and made me realise just how much prayer we need and just how much me need to be relaying on His Holy Spirit to guide us.
I am hoping to go down over the weekend to spend some time with the patients.  I have not been able to for a while, as I have been fighting a bit of a cold and a tummy bug, not a good thing to take with me to the wards.


So that’s it for the moment.  There are things work related I am praying and thinking through.


Tuesday, 12 September 2017

Operations and Crew Needed Prayer

Operations have started and we have had some touching stories.  There is a young girl who comes from a distant village and has had to come with a kind neighbour, none of them have left their village before so this is all very big and daunting for them.  Her operation is a very large one and she had it yesterday, I have not heard yet how it has gone and I can't go down to the wards yet as I am not well but hope to start again soon.

Please prayer for all the patients and also please prayer for my friend Janet, she give so much of herself and is going the extra mile all the time and is under a lot of extra mileage at the moment due to crew shortage in a particular area.  If you know anyone who would make a good Galley team leader, do let them know we are in need.

The mountain came out again.

Monday, 11 September 2017

Day off the Ship Traffic Traffic Traffic

A group of us left the ship early on Saturday morning and headed towards Limbe, our first stop was at a Wild Life Rehabilitation Centre.  It was quite sad to see the Gorilla's silver-backs and other primates at the centre and to hear that a lot of them had been confiscated or rescued.  The adult males were hard to release and thus they had been at the centre for a long while.  One of the girls was quite sweet as she saw a banana and just lifted her hand and held it in the air.

The other species we saw were Baboon, Chimps and Drill which are apparently close to extinction.  After the park we headed towards a beach for lunch and then onto the Botanical Gardens which was quite different from the one in Gran Canary but had some beautiful trees and air-vines.

Our trip home we hit a traffic jam, one like I have not experienced before, there seemed just lane after lane and we were in it for 2 hours.  I had been bitten by something so it was not too comfortable but it gave me the smallest glimpse of how difficult it is for people who live here and have to experience that everyday.  We asked the question, was this normal or had there been an accident. It was quite normal.

Our hospital is on week two and we have already had a couple of very touching stories.  I have not been able to go back down to the wards as I have been fighting a cold, with a sore throat and headache for days, and obviously that is not a good time to head down to the wards.  I would appreciate prayers for this as I really am not fit for work and I know quite a few people who are unwell.

I had a wonderful surprise last night, a friend from before, she was here with my in Madagascar as well as Benin, called me down to her cabin as she had a gift for me.  I was blown away, she had made me a quilt, I must say that I am so overwhelmed with her kindness, love and knowing the amount of time that would have gone into making it.  What an incredible blessing.    I think the thing I am most blessed with in this world is friendship, the people God has put around me just make me so grateful.

My prayer would be that I would be able to be a blessing to others the way that has been shown to me.

I also spent yesterday finishing a drawing and will now start a picture that I hope to pass onto a friend.
This picture I called Janet because if you look closely in the eye, you will see my friend Janet who helped get this little one chubby and back to good health.



Saturday, 2 September 2017

Operations start next week

Many people have been scrubbing and making curtains, training new crew, screening patients, learning new roles, so much to do and so much change for so many, God's miracles being worked out in how He organises such a variety of new and old. How can it be that it works many ask, but it does, its miraculous.  We have already heard stories that so touch your heart, stories of one lady who arrived at the Hope Centre, she had been mis-informed about a few things and had no money - I don't know all the details but whilst a few of the crew were troubleshooting, a few of the other patients got together and decided to raise the money that was needed for this ladies need as they said we were giving them free operations so they could help her.  Community coming together.

This afternoon, Janet came up after being down at the hospital, although its not open there was a little baby Paul who had  cleft palet, one so bad that he almost looks like a skeleton.  She had got him feeding and he was already looking a bit better.   I popped down and met his mom and spent some time walking around with him, playing a game of dominoes and meeting another man who had  huge tumour.  She didn't want to learn how to make flowers as she was quite tired so I made her one and it was a good afternoon.

Off to dinner now and then an early night.

Clouds and Mountains - a little pondering.

As we were sailing and I was outside pondering, there was the sun going down, just behind the clouds, it kept appearing and then the clouds would move and block it out for a while. 

We then arrived in Cameroon and for the first week I looked out at a view across the river and then one day, as I mentioned in my last past, all of a slow sudden, there was a mountain again.  Then again in a slow sudden, as the sun went down, it was gone again and in the morning, it was not there, even though it was. 

So often God speaks to me through His beautiful creation thought these events He spoke to many about how he can give us a vision and then it closes over, did I hear it, did I see it, were it is, I start to doubt, but He reminds me with these images that the sun is still there behind the clouds, sometimes darkness can come and we think it has won, but it hasn't its just temporarily looking like it has, the sun is still there, its brightness hidden by darkness but for a moment.  I am reminded of the cross in this, dark clouds eventually dissipate into rain and the darkness is eliminated and the sun comes out, nothing left of the darkness and the rain it expels bring growth to the ground.  Clouds in the Old Testament spoke of God's presence.  Christ in the new Testament absorbed all the darkness and cleansed us.

Sometimes too visions are given and when they seem to disappear for a time, its like the mountain, its still there just hidden for a moment, perhaps so we can focus on what is needed were we are right now.

Saturday, 26 August 2017

Few Photos & We have a mountain, we don't have a mountain

Looking out from Deck 7 after we arrived was a beautiful site, expect that the water is brown and lots of things float past.  The main thing that floats past are little island of greenary, there are lots of trees on the river back, yes, we are dock in a river.  Its the rainy season, so its been pretty cloudy. Each day, I have ventured out as the water is so pretty and the river is a working one.  We are right next to the Navy and there are lots of little tug boats that deliver larger ships but there are also a traffic of little boats, often two at time, pulling logs and wood down.

But on Thursday night I was in for a surprise.  I venture out and look across the river and all of a slow sudden, a mountain appeared.  A slow sudden because gradually the clouds dissipated and as they did, there was Mount Cameroon.  An active volcano.  It last erupted not to long ago and when it did it erupted for a few months.  Its beautiful and as the sun went down it really was a lovely site.
Just as suddenly as it slowly appeared, it disappeared and we have yet to see it again  So our view is as a few photos will show.

Its been a very busy week, work has been relentless for everyone, setting up is a big task with lots of new crew around, makes it more complicated.  We are getting there though.  I am feeling rather exhausted today and just praying that I dont' come down with a cold, which seems to be in the background. I think I was in bed at about 6:30 last night and 7 this evening.  I will take a slow day tommorrow too as next week is bound to be a big one too.

Here are some photos and including a short video of our dock space. The three tents are for Admission, Infant Feeding, Screening, Outpatients and Rehab.

video
Mount Cameroon in the Distance
 Mount Cameroon again
 Our Nightly View
 These little tugs are so cute, sometimes it takes two.
This is the view of Mount Cameroon before it appeared 
 Our Dock Dock Space and were we walk, play ultimate frizby (I don't) and were our cars park
 Our Tents for Outpatients / Screening& Admissions  / Rehab and Infant feeding shares one 
 Also walking area and our Dock
 More working boats
 A constant floating plants
 I can do it I can do it.



Tuesday, 22 August 2017

Busy Busy Busy - Rain Rain Rain

That is exactly what it has been like the first week in Cameroon.  New people arriving, a few sad goodbyes to people we have spend quality time with, always wishing there had been more time to spend.

Each department are orientating new people, new people are trying to find their way around the ship. Our department are laying cables, getting computers installed, changing passwords, fighting e-mail issues, preparing phones for the new field services, fixing lots of little problems / features.  The ship is full of people, the new day crew are finding their feet and meeting teams, so many people in new positions, finding their feet.  Only with God is this all possible.

Its rained each day, and its rained hard.  Walking after work is a wading at times and fun to see little children finding the puddles and starting off dry, walking with my dear friend Martha who I was soo very pleased to see, she was with me in Madagascar and come with me to feed the foal that we helped with.  We walked and talked and watched the sweetest little girl exploring a puddle and plopping her foot delicately and then hard into the puddle, we looked at each other and said, "that's going to be a wet bum" and half an hour later, we walked past her and said "yes, a wet bum", she looked happy and I felt like puddling in the puddle too, oh yes, I am grown up though, or am I?

So the setup continues and our first patients started to arrive at the Hope Centre today.  There was only a 20% chance of rain, but it rained and rained and rained all day.  The hospital is being polished and scrubbed and nurses are everywhere in the hospital, making up the beds and preparing the hospital.

I have not yet ventured into Cameroon itself yet and for the moment, that is fine.  I will try and go along to some of our Mercy Ministries and on Sunday will go along to the service at the hope centre.
Last night I spent drawing and tommorrow I join a Ephesians bible study.  I have decided to switch my 5am walk to a 6pm one for the moment.  Once the weather changes to being very humid that may change but it works well for the moment.

Below are just some photos from the sail.

Firedrill


 Worship on the Bow

 My crossing the line certificate
 Out of our window in our new port



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. 

Thanks

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.

Statistics


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


blogpost icon

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.