Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Southern Hemisphere Christmas

It's been a very busy month. With something almost every night. 

On Christmas Eve Eve I went on a drive with some friends and watched the sunset at the beach. Then got to stand in the waves of the ocean. It was definitely a rememberable evening. Who knows the next time I'll be standing in the ocean so close to Christmas.

This morning started with a pancake breakfast with some friends and then opening the Shop for people to get their last minute items.

Tonight was the culmination of our Advent Services. Since the beginning of the month we have been celebrating God With Us at our community worship services.

The service ended in my favorite Christmas carol, Silent Night. The only difference was that we sang it in eight different languages. 

After the service I spent some time with friends and learned the tradition of a Christmas Cracker.

The night ended with passing out Christmas presents in the Africa Mercy style. Which is to go around the ship and leave your friends present in their shoe that they have left in the hallway.

It has been quite a busy day, and it's not even Christmas morning yet. Hopefully the day will be a bit more relaxing.

During the service our speaker talked about Jesus and how He is our Savior. When's the last time you made that personal? He came to save you. To save you from throwing that fit you threw yesterday when you couldn't find a parking spot. He came to save us from our selfish desire to get everything we want for Christmas. He came to save me from from making plans when I don't want to wait for His. Remember that when you're rushing to the next event. He came to save us.

"For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord."      Luke 2.11

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Love is

A few weeks back Kirstie, the Ward Supervisor, gave a very good talk about what love is. She hit the nail on the head when she was talking about our ability to receive love. During the presentation she showed a specially made video made by the Communications Department. I'm proud to say that many in Communications are my friends. Enjoy the video posted below. If you can't see it, you can find it here.... http://youtu.be/E92OZHSlfq8

3 If I give away all I have, and if I deliver up my body to be burned, but have not love, I gain nothing.
4 Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant
5 or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful;
6 it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth.
7 Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.

1 Corinthians 13

If God has called me to do this then he wants me to be alive and not feeling dry. -Kirstie (Ward Supervisor)

Are you receiving the love that he has given, if not we will not be able to do the work that He calls us to.

Is it a ship disease to be extremely willing to give and not so good at receiving love ourselves. We end up going empty and can't give out anymore.

It stems from an unbelief in God as Provider – once we learn that God is our provider, we will be able to give generously, we'll never need to fear lack or fear burning out make us hold back because we will understand that God is our provider.

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Thursday, November 28, 2013

A language of thankfulness.

There are many things that I am thankful for. One of the downfalls that I have is that I barely ever voice them. When looking at a glass of water I'm the person that says how much is missing rather than saying how much is there. Thanksgiving has come and gone on the ship now. The turkey was carved, the pie has vanished and most people have gone to bed. But I still want to take the opportunity to share with you some of the things that I am thankful for.

  • I'm thankful for a God that loves me unconditionally and gives me grace on an constant basis.

  • I'm thankful for the opportunity to serve the crew here on the Africa Mercy.

  • I'm thankful for people that support me financially so that I can fully focus on my job.

  • I'm thankful for a team of 4 people that work together in Sales. All from different countries, all speaking different languages, all here to serve Christ and bless others serving on the ship.

  • I'm thankful that I get to work on a ship that changes peoples lives daily.

  • I'm thankful that the work we do is so exciting that media teams want to come and document what we do so that they can share it with others.

  • I'm thankful that when I wake get ready for work I travel up one flight of stairs and walk about 200 feet before I'm AT work!

  • I'm thankful that I get to meet new people everyday and learn a little about them, their country and what makes them, them.

  • I'm thankful that many of the people that I meet I get to call friend.

  • I'm thankful that I have friends that are my ship family.

  • I'm thankful that I have been able to travel to meet some of those countries, friends & family.

  • I'm thankful for a God that supplies all of my needs! and even my wants!

  • I'm thankful for a God that lets me see the beauty in his creation.

  • I'm thankful for a God that has gifted me with many talents

  • I'm thankful that I can use my talents to glorify God.

  • I'm thankful for food.

  • I'm thankful that I can share my love of cooking with my friends.

  • I'm thankful that I can capture small pieces of beauty in a picture.

  • I'm thankful for a place that I can rest my head at when the day is over.

  • I'm thankful that God that gives me lots of energy on little rest.

  • I'm thankful for a God that has tremendously blessed me with good health.

  • I'm thankful for people that encourage me on a daily basis.

  • I'm thankful for technology that makes my family only a click or phone call away.

  • I'm thankful that God had a plan for me.

  • I'm thankful that God has a plan for my future.

  • I'm thankful for a God that is equipping me for things that I don't even know yet.

  • I'm thankful for a boss that continues to mentor me even when he's away from the ship.

  • I'm thankful for the children that live on the ship and show me God in a tangible way.

  • I'm thankful for families onboard that show amazing ways to raise children in light of plans God has for them.

  • I'm thankful for you.

  • I'm thankful that you have chosen to follow what I do to serve Christ while serving with Mercy Ships.

Thursday, November 21, 2013


The thing about blogging is that when I get away from it I never know where to start again.

I see that the last time that I posted was the end of October. Now I'm wondering how I managed to post at all in October. You see, the thing is in September and October the Sales Team was short one person. I ended up filling in the position and working a bit to much. It wasn't harmful, but I did get a little overloaded with being at work so much.

For now I have a few random things to share to give you a glimpse of what's going on.

Now that the Sales Team is full, all 5 of us come from different countries. Ib from Sierra Leone, Ed from Cameroon, Giselle from Argentina and Serenity from Chine. It still amazes me the multiple nationalities that serve here on the ship. Often I look around a group of people that I'm with and find that the American are the vast minority.

It has been a full year since I started serving in the Sales Manager position. I enjoy my job very much and look forward to continuing to improve the Ship Shop and Cafe so that we can better serve the crew onboard.

Two weeks ago I bought 288 yards of fabric at the local market; 24 yards of 12 different patterns. Two ladies helped me pick it out and then assisted in cutting and organizing the sets. You see, normally fabric is bought in 6 yard pieces. If you want an assortment of fabrics you have to buy a LOT of fabric. With buying in bulk and cutting the fabric down to half yard pieces people were able to get 12 different half size pieces for an affordable price.

I've become addicted to LOST, thanks to a DVD sharing program onboard I have been able to watch the first four seasons in the last two months.

Earlier this month there was a second screening in Brazzaville, the capital city of the Republic of Congo. Five hundred and twenty-two people attended the even. The turn out was much smaller because people were pre-screened thro local physicians making the job much easier for the crew that traveled to the screening. Two hundred and ninty-four of them were scheduled for surgeon screening and surgery here in Pointe Noire.
94 - general
112 - maxillofacial
45 - plastics
38 - women's health
5 - orthopaedics

Rainy season has arrived. Much different that West Africa, it means that the weather is getting hotter now. Most of the rain has come in the night or early in the morning. It doesn't effect me much, but the Day Crew do have some troubles getting to the ship on days that it is raining.

A good group of my friends found a nice beach to go to about an hour away from the ship. I've been there twice now. It' always nice when I get the chance to get away from the ship. This country boy can only handle living in this big metal box if i can get out to some open spaces every once in a while. And driving to and from is pretty enjoyable too.

That is all for now. If you could keep my parents in your prayers, they are planning on visiting in January and are in the critical stage of determining flights and plans. Also, I've come across the opportunity of a special project this spring. Keep me in your prayers as I look to see what God's plan is.

Monday, October 28, 2013

Pursuing Joy

Two weeks ago I posted on Surprised by Joy here. At the end there is a small summary and I'd like to expand on the first point. I haven't jumped into the Word to see what scripture has to say yet, I hope to soon, but I have been dwelling on it and God has led me a little further down the road.

Joy is not a destination, it is something that you experience while pursuing a destination.

The Westminster Creed has been something that I have taken as a personal belief. It begins with the line, "I believe man's chief end is to glorify God, and to enjoy him forever," John Piper pushes that a little further by saying, "I believe man's chief ends is to glorify God by enjoying Him forever." You can read more about what John says in his book Desiring God. I would suggest it, but be warned it is a very heavy and long read.

We're looking at Joy and what it is. We said that it's what you experience while pursuing a destination. If our destination is to glorify God by enjoying him forever, then to receive joy our destination must be to glorify God. Now what hit me in the face tonight was that this is a continual pursuit. It's constant everyday. We can never reach the end of glorifying God. We have to take up our cross daily and pursue our destination of glorifying God.

So here's a little illustration, I'm not sure if it will help you, but it's what God showed me to get the point across. Many people have preferences on music, it's safe to say that everybody has a preference on music. In the church some prefer Hymns, some prefer Southern Gospel, some prefer Contemporary Christian, and some would say that we don't even need music in the church. Each person has a reason for what they like and what they don't like. When talking to some of my older friends (Bill & Wanda, you might know them) they say that the modern praise and worship songs are 7/11 songs. The same seven words sung eleven times. My music preferences are very different. You can find anything from Southern gospel to Opera and then back to songs from the Billboard Top 40. I was listening to some of my "7/11" songs and in between the fifth and sixth repeat there was a break and the singers were singing freely with some hallelujahs. Traditionally I wasn't a big fan of this open spot for people to sing whatever they felt. I was always thinking, "okay, get to the point, on with the song, there's lyrics for a reason." Over the last few years I have become more welcome to that and especially liked it at GHOP where I would go to worship with some of my friends. While I was dwelling on this pursuit of joy and the destination of glorifying God I realized that those hallelujahs are enjoying God in the song. It's feeling His presence where we are on the journey and expressing it to Him. The song is just the road that we take to get to His presence, what we add is our personal expression of glorifying Him.

This is just one example. With having a task-orientated personality the relation side of my life normally lacks in many areas. Remembering some of the things that I've talked about here will help me to pursue the glorification of God on a daily basis. Building that relationship with God. It's a journey not a destination.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Until that day

There was a worship session tonight lead by a family from Holland. It was really nice. Here are the lyrics of the last song that was sung, they wrote it. Reminds me of what I should be doing.

Until that day.

There will be a day
That the sky will open up
And all the dead will rise up
There will be a day
That I meet you face to face
And that I look into your eyes of love.

There will be a time
That You bring us to a place
Where there’s no more pain or sorrow
There will be a time
That You come near by our side
And you gently wipe our tears away.

(But) Until that day
I will choose to know You more
I will choose to give myself
And to live a life of worship
Until that day
I will listen to Your word
I will keep it in my heart
As a gift full of love.
Until that day.

I am longing for that day
That I kneel down at Your feet, Lord
And I know it’s You by hearing my name
And together we will walk
In Your paradise forever
For eternity, I’ll be where You are.

English lyrics: Elisa Krijgsman
©2002 Unisong t/a Reli Music Productions

Normally I only post my own pictures on the blog, but one of the ship photographers captured this moment and it's too good not to share.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Joy...working on it.

Have you ever been on the pursuit of happiness and joy and when you got there realized that it had gotten up and left? This is one of the things that C.S. Lewis talks about in his book Surprised by Joy. On his personal search for joy, when he got to what he thought his destination was he realized that joy was something quiet different than the original definition. Adding detail upon detail of what he thought he was looking for, perfecting it to what he thought was going to bring perfect joy to his life. As he said, 

"Finally I woke from building the temple to find that God had flown."

He went on to talk about a present that he had received from his father one Christmas. After receiving this gift he could remember many details of the moments around the time that he looked forward to enjoying it.

"That walk now I remembered. It seemed to me that I had tasted heaven then. If only such a moment could return! But what I never realized was that it had returned-that the remembering of that moment was itself a new experience of just the same kind. True, it was desire, not possession. But then what I had felt on the walk had  also been desire, and only possession in so far as that kind of desire is itself desirable, is the fullest possession we can know on earth; or rather, because the very nature of Joy makes nonsense of our common distinction between having and wanting. Therefore, to have is to want and to want is to have. Thus, the very moment when I longed to be stabbed again, was itself again such a stabbing."

There's a lot going on in that quote. But to paraphrase it I would have to say that we receive joy not in attaining a goal. It's the journey, desire, the feeling that we get when we are pursuing and end destination. The destination cannot be the goal. If it is, as soon as you reach it your source of joy will end.

I should probably stop there and let that linger for a while. If it's enough for you to think about and process maybe you could come back and read this next part when you understand the first part better. But since it's in the same book and I think it's worth sharing I will go ahead with something elses that C.S. Lewis goes on to talk about in Surprised by Joy

He talks about contemplation and enjoyment. Two things that I can relate to myself. It might be hard to believe, but I am an introvert. I've been sitting here in my room for five hours and enjoying very minute of it. You might not believe it if you saw me out during work. I could easily be found talking to people in the Ship Shop, chatting with people as I make their drink in the cafe, or laughing with somebody as we walked down one of the many hallways the ship has, but I get energized when I spend time by myself or with just a few close friends. To go along with that I am very contemplative. When I'm off by myself it's often that I'm reviewing things from the day or planning the next step of something.

"Enjoyment has nothing to do with pleasure, nor Contemplation with the contemplative life. When you see a table you "enjoy" the act of seeing and "contemplate" the table. Later, if you took up optics and thought about seeing itself, you would be contemplating seeing and enjoying the thought. In bereavement you contemplate the beloved and the beloved's death and "enjoy" the loneliness and grief; but a psychologist  if he were considering you as a case of melancholia, would be contemplating your grief and enjoying your psychology. We do not "think a thought" in the same sense in which we "think somebody is unreliable." When we think a thought, "thought" is a cognate accusative. We enjoy the thought and, in so doing, contemplate the unreliability of the person.

So, when I am enjoying some of the many memories that I have I'm not necessarily enjoying that exact moment. I'm thinking about the enjoyment that I experienced while doing something weather it be an hour ago or ten years ago.

It seemed to me self-evident that one essential property of love, hate, fear, hope or desire was attention to their object. To cease thinking about or attending to the woman is, so far, to cease loving; to cease thinking about or attending to the dreaded thin is, so far, to cease being afraid. But to attend to your own love or fear is to cease attending to the loved or dreaded object. In other words enjoyment and the contemplation of our inner activities  are incompatible. You cannot hope and think about hoping at the same moment; for in hope we look to hope's object and we interrupt this by turning around to look at hope itself. Of course the two activities can and do alternate with great rapidity; but there are distinct and incompatible....
The surest means of disarming an anger or a lust is to turn your attention from the girl or the insult and start examining the passion itself. The surest way of spoiling a pleasure is to start examining your satisfaction. But if so, it followed that all introspection is in one respect misleading. In introspection we try to look "inside ourselves" and see what is going on. But nearly everything that was going on a moment before  is stopped by the very act of our turning to look at it. Unfortunately this does not mean that introspection  finds nothing. On the contrary, it finds precisely what is left behind by the suspension of all our normal activities; and what is left behind is mainly mental images and physical  sensations 

If asked to summarize everything that's been covered I would have to say that
  • Joy is not a destination, it is something that you experience while pursuing a destination. 
  • When you are doing the different acts that lead to the culmination of the desired destination you can enjoy them but only when when you take the time and stop the act.
  • In contemplating the events you recall the joy that you had in that moment.
  • When you turn your attention away from the destination and the acts leading up to the destination what you see isn't actually the experience it's the impression that you left that you are able to see.
I hope to use this summery when I look into scripture to see what the Bible says about joy;where it comes from, what prevents it and how we can share it.

Monday, October 7, 2013

Sterile Processing Education Charitable Trust

My friend, Christina Fast from Calgary, Alberta, Canada has been working hard this past year to establish a charitable organization called Sterile Processing Education Charitable Trust. We first met in 2011 when the ship was in Sierra Leone and she worked in the sterile processing department on the ship. She happened to know that I like taking pictures so she asked me to snap a few picture one night when they were starting the long process of organizing an NGO (non-government organization.) Since that time she has done all the essentials of making her dream a legitimate organization recognized by Canada.
L-R: Jane, Johana, Christina
We met up again in Guinea when she came as a Mercy Ships partner organization doing training in local hospitals helping them with the way that they sterilize the tools and equipment for surgeries.
Christina, along with my her parents Dan and wife Olive are here now on the ship through November 8th where they will be visiting three hospitals to assess sterile processing techniques and equipment and conducting workshops to provide health care workers with information and resources crucial to improving sterilization standards leading to a decrease in post-operative infections, hopefully resulting in lives saved. " 

They've applied for a $100,000 grant to support this work, public participation is taken into consideration when choosing the applicant so she would appreciate your support. You can find out more about what she wants to do. There is a video and a place for you to vote for her here

When asked to describe Sterile Processing Education Christina said, "We propose an innovative & salable intervention supplying low cost sterilizers &customized training for health workers,to achieve disinfecting & operating room sterile practices closer to international standards,adaptable to remote & low resource settings."

Sunday, September 29, 2013

Can you hear me now?

Yesterday I took some time to get out of the city and enjoy the afternoon. I've always loved getting away from the normal scene at home. For me going on a drive or hike was some time to re-energize and enjoy the the beauty of God's creation. Then it was just part of what I did when I got a chance. Now, after being on the ship for a decent amount of time, I realize that it is one of the ways that God speaks to me. Not verbally, but just being out by myself I could see God and get a small glimpse of all that He is. 
Capturing some good photos allows me to look back and reflect on those moments. Through some training I've learned that your worldview can be compared to a pair of glasses. It's the filter that you use to look at the world. Taking pictures reminds me of this. We can be at a special event or looking at a beautiful person and be in the situation, but when you look at a picture of the event or person things look so different. Some time soon take a few minutes or even an afternoon if you get a chance and try to look at things from a different perspective. Get away, that could be stepping outside the office for a few minutes or finding a place to go on a hike, and see what God has to say to you in that moment.

Sunday, September 22, 2013

What is Joy?

What is joy?

When I want answers I often google things. Interesting how a website can turn into a verb, but that conversation is for another day. I googled joy and you know what came up? The stock price for Joy Global Inc. I had no idea what Joy Global Inc. was, but now I know that they are a worldwide leader in high-productivity mining solutions. Google goes on to give a definition of joy as a feeling of great pleasure. Next I went to Merriam Webster, a very common dictionary in the United States. Merriam Webster.com says that joy is a feeling of great happiness. That doesn't tell me much more so I went to the original. Often on the ship people say that Americans speak American and people from England speak English. The Oxford English Dictionary is by far the largest dictionary of the English language so that's where I went. Well, the Oxford English Dictionary isn't free so that ends my journey for today.

I hope you weren't expecting much more than that. I just wanted to let you know that I'm starting on a journey to find out more about JOY. What it is, where it comes from, things that the Bible says about it. What reliable authors and other people that I look up to think about Joy. I hope that as I start this journey maybe you can ponder it a little bit yourself. I'm sure that there will be a few posts about my findings. If you would even want to be interactive you could send me an e-mail or Facebook message about what you think about Joy.

Saturday, September 21, 2013

#17 your waffle is ready

One of my highlights every week is Waffle Friday.
The Sales Team makes 70-90 waffles and we sell them to the crew during morning break.

It's great to see how everybody likes their waffle. Each is as unique as the person eating it.

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Live to praise His GLORY!

You can see some of the books that I've been going through and will continue to go through for sometime here.

This week I've gotten a bit more into Who Do You Think You Are by Mark Driscoll. We're currently watching the sermon series in my small group and I decided to read the book to dive a little deeper. It's a study on Ephesians and talks about true identity in Christ. In the introduction he says,
"Ephesians is only 2,400 words, but those words from a life-changing, identity-transforming, eternity-altering punch because that are the very words of God. I encourage you to read it over and over as you do this study. Pray before you read asking the same Holy Spirit who inspired Ephesians to help you understand it. Read carefully, stopping to highlight words, phrases, and concepts that capture your attention.

Tonight's study talked about We Are Blessed Ephesians 1.3-14
Here are a few points and what I got from the message as he talked about each point.
The blessing of holiness-we are holy & blameless before Him.
The blessing of predestination-He chose us in love
The blessing of adoption-you have a father named God
The blessing of redemption-we can walk with Him away from our sins
The blessing of forgiveness- Father forgive them for they know now what they do
The blessing of being sealed-we are guaranteed eternal riches in heaven.

During the sermon I was reminded of something that I've been thinking about the past week. I'm afraid that when my commitment with Mercy Ships is over I will walk away and have taken everything for granted. And when Pastor Mark got to the final point I realized why God had brought that to my attention. Here's what he stated.

The Christian Life
It's not the life you live for God.
It's the life of God lived through you.

Ephesians 1.6, 1.12, and 1.14 all talk about Praising God's Glory, blessing the God who blesses us.
To the praise of HIS glory!
To live to praise His GLORY!!!!

All theology is cat theology or dog theology. Let's say two pets have an amazing, kind, generous owner. The cat thinks: "I must be an amazing and valuable cat." The dog thinks: "I have an amazing and valuable master."

Do you see the difference? One theology revolves around the being, the other revolves around the master.

I've been challenged to do more than just to see what God has done for me. The next step is to bless God because of those blessings. When there is joy and laughter flowing out of me because the wonderful things that He is doing to see that and praise Him for who He is rather than what He is doing. I pray that when I step away from this ship, whenever that day comes, that I can look back and see how amazing God is rather than see how much he has done for me.

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Where the Rubber Meets the Road

This week the rubber met the road, we started surgeries. I could never explain the wonderful things that happen on Deck 3 of this ship. In the simplest form, lives are changed. My function on this ship to so serve the crew so that they can serve better. As I have said before I feel like a missionary to the missionaries. Today I want to share a little bit about some of those missionaries.

 Krissy, I met her two years ago when I was on the ship in Sierra Leone. She was working in the dinning room. Krissy's first exposure to Mercy Ships was when she was working with the Peace Corps in Benin and heard about all that we were doing in West Africa. Upon joining the Africa Mercy she worked in the dinning room, it must have been the easiest thing in the world for her to do after living in a rural village for two years, but I think it got her hooked. After serving for some time she went home, did some fundraising and attended Gateway, just as I did.She returned during Guinea and served in the HR Department scheduling the many crew that come during a field service. At the end of Guinea she accepted the challenge of being the Hospital Projects Manager. That's no easy task. Check out her blog to see more about what all the Hospital Projects Manager position is like. 

Davi, well I don't know her much yet. She just arrived on the ship in July before the ship left Tenerife. This is Davi's first time on the ship, but has already proved to be a great lady. Her job on the ship is the Hospital Informatics Manager. I've always wondered what all that job entails, and I hope to find out more about her and her job this year while we serve together. You can read her blog about what all it takes to have a successful surgery and a bit about what it means to improve the medical infrastructure of a country. 

Jasmin, or Jazz as I call her, she's an amazing woman from Australia. She first came to the ship In Guinea and planned on serving just six months. Jazz's plan was to return home and do some more schooling and then who knows what. Upon returning home I think God showed her that His plan was different. In one of her blogs she explains why she feels like the ship is the right place for her to be. Jazz is an great ward nurse and is currently taking on the challenge of being on the plastics team and changing the bandages of many of our patients. It's great to see her face light up when she's talking about work. It shows how much she loves the patients and how big her heart is for God. Read her blog to find out more about one of our first patients this week and how she is Serving Christ here in Congo.

This morning a group of us had a wonderful brunch. With a little coordination 15-20 people worked together to make quite the spread. It was a wonderful time and I'm already looking forward to the next brunch.

Sunday, September 1, 2013

Saying No with Love

Many things can be said about Screening Day, the thing is I don’t know where to begin. It’s been four days and I’m still processing it.

Let me begin with my job. It started over a month ago when the Operations Director for the ship asked me about being the Logistics Leader for screening. I had already talked to the Communications department about working with them to take pictures all day. Taking pictures is something that I enjoy and since I worked with them last year during the Guinea Screening I thought it would be a great fit again. I was sent an e-mail with the screening manual attached, the e-mail said that the job description for logistics was posted ther, take a look over it and let them know back in a few days. After opening this manual I was reminded what all goes into this “one-day” event, 50+ pages of very detailed information breaking it down between 29 different Team Leaders. Things are very well mapped out from the patient flow all the way to the extent of having an evacuation plan just in case something would go wrong. On page twenty-nine I found the Logistics information.

The four main focus points for me would be:
1.) Stewards – organizing food & water for the 300+ crew and potential patients (number unknown)
                                and passing it out during the event
2.) Housekeeping – organizing cleaning supplies to clean the site before, during and after the event.
3.) Supplies – organizing the rental of chairs, tables, & canopies for the screening site
                                Ensuring electrical supply for teams that need it
                                Trash removal from site
                                Transport of equipment from ship to screening site and back to the ship.

At first glance my automatic response was “NO, absolutely not, there’s no way that I could do all of that.” Then the information was passed on to me that I wouldn't have to DO all of that I just had to coordinate with people on the ship and ensure that it would be ready and then done when needed. After talking to the Operations Director again he explained that he and some other people like the job that I have been doing in the Ship Shop and they thought that I had what it takes to get this job done. It would also be a growing experience because the responsibilities are very large. At that point I accepted the challenge and a few weeks of craziness occurred. Planning, organizing and getting things ready, not only for the screening but for the Ship Shop which I was still in charge of during the same time.

I’ll spare you all the details of planning but her are a few of them:
*  1,200 peanut butter & Jelly sandwiches
*  25 cases of apples (100 apples per case)
*  6,000 bottles of water
*  800 chairs
*  45 tables
*  3 canopies
*  2 generators
*  8 personal trips to the screening site on the day and day before screening, not including many other people taking things back and forth from the ship for me

People started leaving the ship at 5:30 Wednesday and it continued throughout the day. The Team Leaders met the day before and set up their areas so that when we arrived before the sun came up things would go much smoother. Within 45 minutes people started coming through the gate and they kept coming, they didn't stop for 13 hours. Many of my closes friends deserve awards; doing what I believe to be some of the hardest jobs. One didn't sit down once during the entire day, she was the Team Leader for the History station where we get background information on the patients before they see the doctors for their specialty. Several of them were the actual screeners. Some were outside the gate talking with people and finding out what their ailment was and informing them if it was a type of surgery that we do so that they wouldn't have to stand in line if it was something that we aren't able to assist with. Some were inside the gate where we talk with each individual person about what their problem is and decide if they should be processed and continue to see the doctors or if it’s something that we can’t help and then guide them to the prayer station before they leave. It was a blessing to see everybody working together as a HUGE team. Everybody has their assigned job and often the end up doing two or three to assist others when they need to take a break or adjust when the time need be. With my job seeing over so many various things I was able to be all over the screening site and witness people blessing others in so many ways.

6,354 came through the gate
994 diverted to the eye team with 236 scheduled for a secondary screening
1,326 made it through pre-screening into the compound to see doctors

General Surgeries:                   34 scheduled – 442 for follow-up screening
Maxillofacial Surgeries:        107 scheduled – 70 for follow-up screening
Plastic Surgeries:                      84 scheduled – 70 for follow-up screening
Women’s Health & VVF:           33 scheduled – 30 for follow-up screening
Orthopedic Surgeries:                                  184 for follow-up screening

So, we have what my responsibilities were, a little information about what whent on during the day, now for the personal part.

There's something about love that I never understood until I processed everything that happened during screening day. Something switched in my mind, I can't pinpoint it and I can't really explain it much yet. To say that I understand it is would be a lie. It's something that I will continue to work out for a long time.

Here's the beginning of what I've been thinking about. We saw thousands of people standing in line. They wanted with all of their heart for us to be able to help them. They had an ailment or problem that needed to be fixed.We want to help them. We would like for them to see Christ in us. Our actions being what Christ would do to meet their needs. But no matter how much we loved them or how much they wanted to get help God has his own plans. It wasn't meant to be for many of them. There were many that we have been able to schedule a surgery, but there were also many more that we had to say no to. NO MATTER HOW MUCH WE LOVED THEM. God has another plan for them. Two people can love each other and really want something to happen but unless the Lord has set them together it's not meant to be.

Unless the LORD builds the house, those who build it labor in vain. Unless the LORD watches over the city, the watchman stays awake in vain.
Psalm 127.1

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

The Day Before Screening

I can't take credit for any of this. It was written by a friend of mine. We went through training in Texas together last year.

You can check out her blog:

The Day Before Screening: Congo

by micey

It’s the day before screening and all through the ship
The crew are gathering supplies for the trip
The boxes are stacked by the gangway with care
In hopes that 5000 Congolese will be there
The day begins early and goes very long
So the crew will bunk down to be healthy and strong
Our leaders especially will get to bed early
So next day their leadership will be joyful not surly
And I in my scrubs and durable shoes
Have set the alarm clock, I will not hit snooze
Out of my bed at 5:30 I’ll drift
To be at the car in time for my shift
We’ll hit the road smiling for the 15 minute trip
And pray the police will wave as we zip
Along the port road to our great destination
The Lycee in Pointe Noire where we’ll see all the nations
Please pray for people from near and from far
To reach us by foot, by donkey, or car
That the day would be orderly, peaceful, and still
That thousands may have their lives changed by God’s will
This is the mission of the great Mercy Ship
That lives will be changed by one hopeful trip
That our great God and Savior will be magnified
That the name of Jesus will be glorified

His… Michelle

Philippians 1:20

Please join us by praying for the screening day. God hears our prayers. Pray for him to bring the people from everywhere! I will give you an update this weekend with how everything went.

Sunday, August 18, 2013


Diversification is a word used in the investment world to make sure that you don't have all of your eggs in the same basket. It refers to making sure that you have investments in more than just one realm of finances. Some suggest that you use a mixture of CD's, Stocks, Bonds & Mutual Funds.

Today's diversification talks about spreading out and getting to know more people. Last week there was a group of people sitting around in the cafè and a few new people asked for suggestions about living on the ship. One that was mentioned is one that I'm not so well at. I mentioned it because I know my time would be better if I worked on it. Then the topic came up in a book i'm reading so I thought I would share it with you.

We all need more than God and a best friend. We need a group of supportive relationships. The reason is simple: having more than one person in our lives allows our friends to be human. To be busy. To be unavailable at times. To hurt and have problems of their own. To have time alone.

This is hard sometimes for me. I have my group of friends and I know generally how they will respond and the things that we will talk about. I already know the things that they like and they know things about me. After being on the ship for a while it gets harder to make investments in to other groups of people. You know that they might not be onboard very long and you wonder if it's worth the effort to invest in a new group of friends. In the mean time it means that the friends that you have become more paramount in your life. You begin to rely more and more on them and then when they are busy you might get flustered because you needed somebody to talk to or just to hang out with.

We’re all a group of lumpy, bumpy, unfinished sinners, who ask for help and give help, who ask again and give again. And when our supportive network is strong enough, we all help each other mature into what God intended us to be. 

I therefore, a prisoner for the Lord, urge you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.     Ephesians 4.2-3

Things have been very busy with work. Between normal business and three other big projects the days go very fast. One of the projects is performing the task of Logistics Coordinator for the Screening Day. I'm in charge of coordinating food & water for the crew and potential patients, cleaning the site after we are finished, transporting equipment to and from the selection site and a few other various tasks. Please keep me in your prayers as the day comes next week. Our selection day will be August 28th. You can also pray for the many other crew that all have important tasks, the many surgical staff coming to screen patients, and the thousands of people that will show up with ailments on the screening day.