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.