Monday, February 28, 2011

Name of the Lord be praised

"Let the name of the LORD be praised, both now and forevermore.

From the rising of the sun to the place where it sets,

the name of the LORD is to be praised.

The LORD is exalted over all the nations,

his glory above the heavens."

Psalm 113:2-4

Friday, February 25, 2011


How do I encompass almost three weeks of sail into a blog? My hope is to post pictures of the beautiful sunsets and views we have had of God’s creation at another time. This blog is to share what I have done the past three weeks while I have been cruising along the coast of Africa… on a flat-bottom, retired Dutch train ferry- converted to hospital ship… not on a cruise. :)

The number in the title does not have a significant meaning; it’s just the first three keys I hit when I posted my last status on facebook. I shared how my 984th reason why I love the sail, are the spectacular stars. Then I thought- Could I come up with 983 more reasons why I love sailing? If I start making a mental list, probably so, but I will share just a few with you.

#16 Marine biologist wanna-be comes out

#139 Worship on the bow

#873 Sunsets

#231 Stop in Cape Town

#345 Meals on deck 7 with friends

#765 Flying fish

#487 Caramel Macchiatos

So, when I am not on the bow admiring the sunsets and flying fish- I am working with other crew in the hospital. The hospital is not up and running, but just two weeks it will be. We have had countless meetings to brainstorm how we will set up a 78-bed ward, 6 ORs, and other departments in just days to be functioning when patients come onboard. The week before we will have a massive screening in country to find our patients. So a lot of work goes into preparation. I have not had many specific duties this sail, so my hand goes up anytime a volunteer is asked for. I am referred to as “The Laminator” and glad to be assistance to my coworkers in making signs. The past week, I have used my crafting skills in cutting hand outs for screening. Paper cutters are one of my favorite things- my parents eventually had to send me mine my first year here. Minus the occasional paper cut, these two jobs were added to my reasons why I love the sail. I have to realize it is part of the bigger picture in what we do in Africa. Like today, I spent the morning searching for a key to a room and a roll of cardboard to lie down on the waxed floors. I found the key, which allowed my friends and I to spend the rest of the day cleaning the offices and corridors. Hopefully, Monday, the cardboard will be found so we can start unpacking and deck 3 will start looking like a hospital again. Tomorrow, is the final day of the sail because on Sunday we hope to be in Sierra Leone. I can continue to tap on random numbers and list why I love the sail, but the number one entry is there for a reason.

1. It takes me back to where I belong.

Monday, February 7, 2011


I'm here in midships on the Africa Mercy sipping a rather flat Diet Dr. Pepper, but nonetheless it is a good remedy for homesickness these days. What a blessing it was to be home in Texas for four months surrounded by loved ones, mexican food, and DP. The soda/pop (or coke for the Texans) arrives on the ship via container from the Mercy Ships headquarters in East Texas.

Volunteers at the IOC fill the metal box with donations and purchased hospital supplies, food and drink (chips & salsa), mail, and personal items. Then that container is placed on a 18-wheeler, brought to the coast, loaded on a massive ship, and travels across the Atlantic ocean to meet us in West Africa.

This past week the hospital staff have been unloading and reloading containers that fill up the hull of ship. I am amazed each time I walk back to the central supply area- how much supplies it takes to keep a hosptial and a town of people running. In order to sail and for a smooth transition into Sierra Leone- we needed to secure everything in containers. So, we made a chain of people and passed bandages, surgical gloves, jelly, mustard, and air conditioner units all into containers. I have realized being here on the ship, I am not "just a nurse", but one day I may be a pancake maker, barista, or supply organizer. All week, crew have stepped out of their role to help prepare the ship for departure from the shipyard in Durban. If my muscles allowed, I would join the rest of the available crew to make a chain from the dock to the store rooms- passing chicken nuggets, french fries, toilet paper, and other essentials. When I see everyone coming together I think of my favorite passage in The Message:

2 Timothy 2:20-21

"In a well-furnished kitchen there are not only crystal goblets and silver platters, but waste cans and compost buckets—some containers used to serve fine meals, others to take out the garbage. Become the kind of container God can use to present any and every kind of gift to his guests for their blessing."


The views expressed here are solely mine and are not the opinion of AWC/Mercy Ships.