Monday, December 31, 2012

2012 in Review

I was going to write an update of everything I've God's done for me this year, but I decided to go a different route. Hope you enjoy.

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Monday, December 17, 2012


Today I experienced a "first". I don't normally keep track of them and they seem to happen pretty often with people on the ship, but I couldn't get over it today at work. Last week a phone conference was organized between the two Mercy Ships offices that I order from and myself on the ship. This afternoon at 3:00 I got a call from the Texas office (where it was 9 AM) and we were then connected to the Dutch office (where it was 4:00 PM). So not only was it my first ever conference call, but were were all in different countries.
We went on to talk about some of the food/snack items that we order and how we can best maximize out inventory and ordering. As a direct result of the conversation we will be getting our Pringles from the Dutch container witch allows for more room on the Texas container but it also enables us to offer fresher product because of the shorter transportation. We will also be looking for more international foods that we can do this with.
Today I also got to approve my first future "employee". A lady from the Southwest U.S. has gone through the application process and i approved her to work in Sales as long as the rest of her application/fundraising goes through.
I'm hoping to get some pictures of the shop for you soon. I will also be posting some great pictures from a recent Christmas Photo-booth.

Monday, December 3, 2012

World Wide Web

Mercy Ships has released it's new website. I know several people that have put a lot of work into this project and they should be very happy because it looks AMAZING! Take a look for yourself at or click on the picture below.

One reason they've been working so hard to get it going is because Mercy Ships is going to be on 60 minutes soon! They are predicting the spot to show sometime between now and Christmas, so keep watch and see when 60 minutes will be airing wherever you live.

Friday, November 30, 2012

Wednesday, November 28, 2012


Hey Everybody!

I just wanted to get the word out, It's been a couple of weeks now but I haven't made time to blog and pass the word on to you. I'm currently serving as the Sales Manager here in the Africa Mercy. I have the opportunity to lead 4 other crew members and operate the Ship Shop, Starbucks Cafe, & Snack Bar. It's been really amazing to see how God has gotten me ready for this position over the past years of my life.
My position is in charge of ordering all goods to be sold from the shop; toiletries, personal office supplies, Mercy Ships clothing & logo items, groceries, snacks, and local African souvenirs. Receiving them from the containers, managing our storerooms and running the different outlets on a daily basis.
This week we are in the process of receiving & processing goods from two containers, doing the November inventory, ordering for the months of March, April & May.... AND serving our crew-members during break-times and evening shifts.
Over the next few weeks I'll dive into the other things that entail the Sales Staff and showing you more about what God is doing in my life here with Mercy Ships.

I hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving and want to encourage you to pass on some wonderful Christmas cheer as we get closer to the day that we celebrate Christ coming to the Earth for us.


Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Patient Story - Memouna

Go down two flights of stairs on the Africa Mercy, and you’ll find you’ve stepped out of a ship and into a busy buzzing hospital. On the wards you’ll find kids playing, doctors praying, patients visiting, and plenty of African music. Listen . . . you’ll hear conversations in English echoed by translators in French or one of Guinea’s three local languages – the chatter forms a background like white noise. 
One would expect that a 13-year-old girl would be among the chattiest – but not Memouna. 
Memouna’s pronounced facial tumor began above her left eyebrow, spilling down her face to the corner of her mouth and displacing her left eye. This tumor, a neurofibroma she has had since birth, left her looking like one side of her face was sliding off – like Dali’s famous melting clock in a desert. From behind the curtain of her deformity, Memouna saw the world with her good right eye. And . . . to her despair . . . the world saw Memouna. 

For 13 years she was taunted for her appearance. Moreover, superstitions run deep in West African culture, and physical deformities are believed to be the sinister mark of someone cursed. Memouna was not only teased by peers – she was completely dismissed. The drooping facial tumor became the source of a broken spirit.  
“She was not happy because in Africa people stay away from her. She would cry because she did not understand why no one liked her,” said Memouna’s 17-year-old sister, Aminata, the oldest of her nine siblings.  
“I had so many sleepless nights worrying how to help my child,” said Memouna’s father, who was trying to sell his car to afford her surgery when he learned the Africa Mercy was coming to Conakry. “I was told that no one would be able to do the surgery except Mercy Ships. I had no money to pay with . . . and then God paid!” 
On Wednesday, 26 September 2012, Mercy Ships surgeons removed Memouna’s tumor. After her operation, even under layers of bandages, the transformation was profound. Memouna’s profile no longer appeared rough and misshapen. Her face had been physically lifted from the weight of the tumor. Nurses hoped her spirits would follow, but removing years of social isolation is a much more complicated procedure. 
In the days after her operation, quiet Memouna said nothing, while her father and sister took turns staying at the hospital and speaking on her behalf. “I’m sorry, maybe she will talk more another day,” her sister would say to visitors. 
Mercy Ships ward nurse Lynne White said, “It was a long time before I realized she spoke. She was so silent that I didn’t think she could. But I can understand it. She went from spending her life keeping to herself with no friends, and then she came here and was overwhelmed by the attention.” 
One night a week after the surgery, Lynne came into the ward to find Memouna listening to headphones, nodding her head to music and mouthing the words. “I couldn’t believe it, so I did whatever I could to try to get a laugh out of her – I started dancing!” Lynne said. “Memouna just laughed and laughed. It was wonderful!” 
Two weeks later Memouna arrived on the dock with her father for a check-up. She kept to herself, waiting on the benches. “Is that my Memouna?” Lynne exclaimed. Hearing her name, Memouna glanced around to find Lynne, not walking, but dancing over to her. “It’s you, you’re here!” Lynne cheered, waving her arms in the air. 
Memouna clapped her hands and covered her mouth, trying and failing to hold back her giggles. 
Even though Memouna does not give up her laughter easily, she lets those who show her love see the real Memouna. In those moments, there is a cute teenager in a pink sweatshirt and orange nail polish . . . where a timid, downcast child used to be.  
The removal of Memouna’s tumor marks the beginning of physical . . . and spiritual . . . healing.

Written by Catherine Murphy
Edited by Nancy Predaina
Photos by Debra Bell

Friday, October 26, 2012

Wherever you are, be all there

"When it comes to our interactions with others, does your curiosity about how people are responding to your most recent Facebook status trump your curiosity about what’s going on in the life of the friend you’re meeting for coffee? Does the urgent buzzing of your phone trump the urgency of the very real world that’s carrying on, all around you?"

I read this in an article by Relevant Magazine and it reminded me of a devotion I lead in Ghana when my team was there for training back in July. Previously in training they shared with us the quote "Wherever you are, be all there." I had been reminded of it in Ghana because I was longing to be on the ship and I new it was going to be very soon, but I couldn't stop thinking about things other than where I was. God put it on my heart that I really needed to see what was around me and see where He was working right there in my presence.

 Earlier in the morning I had went through Psalm 119 and wrote out a 36 different descriptions of God, one for each person in our group (wherever it describes scripture use it as a way to describe God). I got to verse 111 and it says "Your testimonies are my heritage forever, for they are the joy of my heart." Most people know that I'm a very joyful person, so as I wrote out the little references I asked that after I passed them out to everybody that verse 111 would be left for me. After giving my little speech about being all there I gave out the notes for people to use as a reference when they found themselves not being all there. God could help them along in their situation. When the basket got back to me I picked up the last one and opened it to find vs. 111 "Joy of my heart". I keep that little note on the wall next to my bed. Reminds me of many things.

           #1 God will do things when you ask Him. 
           #2 He can be the source of your joy. 
           #3 Wherever you are, be all there.

Friday, October 19, 2012

Tuesday, October 16, 2012


We have been in Guinea for two months now and here are some statistics. The Hospital statistics are complete of everything so far, the other numbers are some random information from other departments around the ship.

Transportation & Purser / Reception
  • 25,000 km driven so far (15,534 miles)
  • Received about 200 new crew and guests so far
  • Grew to 383 crew from 39 nations

  • 1505 Hours worked in tanks so far.
    • There are many tanks used for storing fuel, oil, water, waste water under and around the ship.
  • 198 hours of plumbing in September

  • 90,000 meals served
  • 28,879 kilos of meat, chicken, and fish used (63,667 lbs.)
  • 16,000 kilos lettuce (35,273 lbs.)
  • 16,000 kilos tomatoes (35,273 lbs.)
  • 26,000 kilos melons (57,320 lbs.)
  • 16,000 kilos onions (35,273 lbs.)
  • 16,800 eggs

Crew Services and Hospitality
  • At least 600 loads of laundry
    • for ship purposes not personal laundry
  • Cleaned toilets 1600 times
    • in public bathrooms
  • Cleaned showers 720 times
    • in public bathrooms
  • 211 Beds made
    • for when new crew and visitors arrive to the ship

  • The total number of people who have showed up to our screenings so far in Guinea = 11,500+ (increasing drastically daily saw over 1,200 at eye screening Tuesday)

Mercy Vision
  • Cataract Surgeries 133
  • Pterygium Surgeries 12
  • Eye Evaluations 2,536
  • Distribution of Glasses 215
    • UV, reading, or prescription glasses
  • Routine Eye Exams 305

Outlook of Hope

Reconstructing Hope
  • Plastic Reconstructive Surgeries 2

Specialized Surgical Solutions
  • General Surgeries  42
    • (mainly hernia repair)

  • Orthopedic Surgeries 40
  • Ponseti Clubfoot Corrections 51

Palliative Care
  • Provide Home-care for Terminally Ill 21

Guinea Smiles
  • Dental Care - tooth decay infection removal 3,348
  • Clinical Dental Hygiene Services 58

Hospital Chaplaincy
  • One on One Counseling Sessions 528
  • Bibles Distributed 31
  • One on One HIV Counseling Sessions 111

Mercy Ministries
  • Partner Ministry Site Visits 24
  • Crew Participation Opportunities 200

Monday, October 15, 2012

Growing Up

I am terrified of the future. I started thinking about my friends, my family, my career, what I enjoy doing and it really made me start thinking. Everyone always has those dreams when they're kids about how they'll have the "perfect:" job, the  "perfect" family, the "perfect" life, etc. and then you get older and those ideas start becoming more an more ridiculous until finally you decide to set "realistic" goals.

So I found myself with a bit of a dilemma. Either I shoot for something completely insane and risk everything to do it (which I have) or I take the safe, mundane path which seems to be the "social norm" these days. To me that seems more like an easy option, but I know neither rout is easy. I know my friends and family at home have the same trials and problems that I do. Does having a normal, average, boring life appeal to me? I find it interesting how much we use the sayings "normal" "in real life" "in a world where you actually get paid" around the ship. We talk about it so much like living and working on the Africa Mercy is not real. It's not normal to be living on a ship with 38 other nationalities serving some of the poorest people in the world, but still we seek to live as much as a normal life as possible for the sake of comfort.

Do I want to be just another person who came and went without as much as a whimper in the grand scheme of things? Not at all!! Nobody wants that, but some people settle for it every day! There is a phrase “You Only Live Once” -Y.O.L.O. it came into existence and now some people have an excuse to do stupid stuff. If you think about it you really do only have one life! You were given ONE and you should strive to make it count as much as you can, not just because of a phrase. This takes me back to my dilemma. Why would I ever strive for the normal safe route? The reason everybody does is because of fear. You're scared to fail. You're scared to be made fun of. You're scared to be turned down. And believe me; I am in that boat too. Otherwise I wouldn't be worried. I surely don't want to fail to achieve my dreams but I definitely don't want to give up on them without at least giving everything I have.
So I've decided that the best way to combat this is to write them down and learn to work around them or ironically grow out of them. Here are the some that I thought of immediately and hope to overcome.

1.     I never want to lose contact with my friends. They are by far the coolest people I have ever met and losing them would be devastating. Let your friends know they mean a ton to you because I can’t imagine my life being the same if I hadn't met a single one of them.
2.     I don’t want to live a life controlled by debts.
3.     I want a job that makes me happy. I want to be in a position where I can thrive, using the talents that the Lord has given me and bring more glory to HIM.
4.     I want personal life with my current family and future personal family that will be an example to those around me.
5.     I don’t want to be forgotten. I want a life of purpose. I want to live a life that leaves a legacy of faith in Christ for my children.

I have to make a change on many things like how I face challenges, my work ethic, my outlook on my future, and so on. I know that this year is going to be a bit crazy for me with all the changes that have already happened. Losing contact with my friends has been one of my biggest fears. I do have to admit that I have dropped the ball and not been in constant contact with many but that doesn't mean that I don't think about you ALL the time. I want to stay in touch with my friends as best I can. As for having a happy personal life, that will take extra effort considering I don't live in the same city, state, or country as my family. Talking on the phone has a 5-6 hour time difference and the next time I will see them is still unknown.
Finally, living a life of faith is something that I will have to continue to do on a daily basis for it to even begin to be something that I am remembered for. Purpose is different to everyone but I think that I've personally set my sights pretty high out of instinct. I don’t like the idea of not making a change to the world. Most if not all artist love what they do because it makes them happy and it makes other people happy and what else could be better than that. So I’m confident that when God puts it on my heart to create something or use another one of my God given talents for His purpose I’ll be able to make a positive change with it.

I’m terrified of what’s ahead of me. Will I be happy with my accomplishments? I could ask questions all day but what really matters is how I’ll take on these challenges when they appear in front of me. My plan is to be the person the Lord is forming me into and not let my fears control me. I never want live a life of regrets. I want to be the person in charge of my life and I don’t want to be afraid. If you take anything from this I hope it inspires you to be a better friend, stranger, employee, or whatever. Just go out and make something memorable with your life. And remember, laugh - because you'll feel better and put a smile on those around you.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012


This morning I got up at 3:30 to help the eye team at a screening. The last time they to John Paul II there were over 1,000 people to get screened for cataract removal. They were completely surprised by the amount of people that showed up for the event. They ended up having to close early for the safety of the crew members. Today there were 16 of us there to  help with crowd management. There were over 300 that showed up and 190 got scheduled for a secondary screening at the ship.



The people ligned up outside the gate and we only allowed 20 people in at a time. From there they would do the pre-screening to see if they had cataracts on both eyes. The crowd management people kept them in line and made sure the people got the the right place.

On a Secondary note. I want to share something that the Lord has been working with me on. I've been thinking about it for at least a month and last week at our community meeting they had what I've been thinking in the message. There on the screen was what God's been working on in me since the time we got to Guinea.

This is a time of challenge.
A time of learning - and relearning - who we are in God.
A time of doing, a time of being, a time of refining, a time of cleaning out - it will be a time of refreshing and renewing...remaking.
Focus on God (I AM) - be mindful that I AM the one doing it.
I AM Refreshing. I AM renewing.
I AM remaking and reshaping and reforming you just the way I want you.
I AM the one doing all of this - not you. God is doing it.
Be submitted to God, He will do these things - no striving on your part. No worries

Please keep me in your prayers as I continue on this journey of serving with Mercy Ships and God refines & cleans me out to the person He wants me to be.