Sunday, July 16, 2017


Two Thousand One Hundred and Ninety Three

Six years ago yesterday I walked up the gangway on a journey that would change me for the rest of my life. After three days of delay I was standing in one of the top ten diamond producing countries. Unfortunately my reason for being there existed because the country sits in the lowest five percent of countries according to the Human Development Index. There docked in the seven mile wide Sierra Leone River Estuary was the Africa Mercy, the worlds largest non-government hospital ship.

My arrival was in the middle of the night and by the time I woke up the next day everything was rushing by. People going from here to there and the community of 400 people was in full swing. I checked in with my supervisor, the crew bank, getting a tour and all the "newbie" things that new crew members go through. The second day when I woke up the ship was a ghost town. I couldn't figure out where everybody had went. There were some people in the common areas and groups of people at meal times but not the masses of people I had seen the previous day. Come to find out I had arrived onboard the day before a ship holiday. Since the ship doesn't observe government holidays, every six weeks only a minimum amount of people work so that the rest of the crew can get away for a long weekend and recharge. The weekend for me ended up being a time to explore the ship and get used to my surroundings. Unbeknownst to me I would spend over four and a half years of my life walking those halls and climbing those stairs.

Sunday afternoon people started getting back onboard and within no time it was evident what made Mercy Ships so amazing. People. Amazing People. Over my time with Mercy Ships I was able to meet countless numbers of people that had incredible stories and do unbelievable things for others. They would come on the premise of doing their specific job weather this be nursing, engineering, custodial or captaining the ship. In their off times they would be working with locals, volunteering at local ministries and pouring their lives into those around them.

There is no better image of Christ than seeing my fellow cremates serving those around them so selflessly. I look to many of them as role models of who one day I hope to be; working through a weekend to have a project done when the government changes a deadline, making walkers out of pipes to help the orthopedic patients learn to walk again, or scrubbing the depths of the ship to keep the engines running. Those are just a few of the stories that happened on a daily basis.

So, what do i take away from all of this? The biggest is probably that this life isn't about me, it's about serving others. How do they... how do we get enough energy to do all that? It has to come through Christ. When we take the focus off of us and focus on what He would do or what He would have us to do then the energy won't be a question. God will supply the energy moment by moment, day by day. But as soon as you take the focus off of Him and His desires your work will come to a screeching halt.

“The place God calls you to is the place where your deep gladness and the world’s deep hunger meet.”- Frederick Buechner