Thursday, July 28, 2011


My wallpaper picture on my laptop has been the same ever since I came back to the Africa Mercy this January. In years past, I enjoyed switching between pictures of cute African kids and good friends from back at home. I just don’t have the heart to change it this year. The picture is of my family taken this past Thanksgiving. I love and miss them so much… There is something comforting to know when I open up my laptop, there a picture of all of us together, even though a ocean separates us. They know me and still love me... they are my biggest supporters in all aspects of my life as a missionary. I receive boxes in the mail of chocolate chip cookies, gum, and salsa, and most recently shoes.

My parents sent me these shoes at my request… I tried to buy some online and I accidently ordered track shoes with spikes included. So my parents were up to a challenge of finding me new sneakers. My parents, affectionately known as, Papa-doe and Mother Green, have blessed not only me, but also many crewmembers with mail. They send me the Sunday morning comics along with snacks (that I share with friends) as well boxes on the container full of Mexican food. When I’m working out in my new sneakers, I think of my parents. They are hard working and supportive of their children- they keep us stable when we are running toward our dreams.

Next pair of shoes just came last week… still getting compliments of my bright yellow birkies from my brother and sister- (skip the formality of “in-law”). Jeff and Kara were worried when they heard I kept slipping in the operating room. The combination of my old crocs and freshly mopped theater floors were not ideal. Kara and I have a special relationship because in a family of educators, we’re outnumbered being the nurses. She loved this brand of shoes and I figured I followed in her footsteps, why not try her shoes out! I thank God for Jeff & Kara, for their love and support as I work each day in the operating room, with my feet firmly planted to the floor.

Now, these last pair of shoes I received just days before heading back to join the ship in South Africa. My best friend and my sister, Robyn, gave me these cowboy boots. I am ashamed to say, being Texan, these were my very first boots to own and I was not going to just leave them in a closet. Robyn always came into town before I left overseas to make sure my to-do list is complete and my bags are packed even if I waited until the night before. I couldn’t fit the boots so I sent them on the container and they have been a BIG (as BIG as Texas) hit on the ship. I just have to laugh as well as thank God for a wonderful sister that thinks a girl needs her cowboy boots in Africa. Right now, all I wish I could do is to jump on a plane and be in Dallas today. Robyn is leaving for a two-year stint with New Tribes Mission in Papua New Guinea as a secondary school teacher. She’s going to the “other side of the world” and we can now swap missionary stories. I can’t wait to see how God works… and if only she had room in her luggage for some cowboy boots.

I miss them... Papa-doe, Mother Green, Jeff & Kara, and Robyn everyday as I look at the picture, but all it takes is for me to look down at my feet and know my family is with me every step of the way.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011


In my sociology class in college, we were given the project to go against a norm in society. We could do any anything for the experiment; nothing illegal, just to allow us to observe what happens when we change the normalcy of life. I still remember my norm for that week, when people asked me the common question- “How are you?” I responded with more than just the expected “Good, thanks. How are you?”. Sometimes, I offered a sad reply or a lengthy explanation why life is wonderful at the moment. Majority of the time, I would receive the usual response, a head nod or “That’s nice.” A few people actually listened which forced them to go against the norm. To this day, I still go against the norm when it comes to the “How are you?” question, because I know I am more than just fine as my patients often remind me.

So the norm these days for me have been working a pretty consistent 8-5 schedule in the operating room, on-call often, eating meals with the same people, doing the identical routine around the ship. Its half way through the outreach and a lot of us are feeling worn out after what feels like running a marathon the past six months. Life and work can become so routine, that I lose sight of our mission. My daily interactions with patients remind me why I am here. One evening, taking the OR laundry down the corridor, I ran into one of our plastics patients after a dressing change. “How d’body, papa?” I asked. He looked up and smiled, even through the pain, and answered, “Tell Papa God tenke.” I thanked God for that smile and prayed for a quick healing for his wound. A similar response came from one of our cataract patients. It was a busy day in the OR with only half the nurses we needed to finish the list of 30 cataracts. After the procedure, I was placing the eye patch over her telling her “Operation done done, Mama. How d’body?” I knew I only had seconds before going on to the next patient, but what a blessing to hear. “Tell Papa God tenke.”

The past couple weeks, I have been in “Hernia Land” where we do eight or so operations a day. One right after the next, I check in Abraham, then Mohammed, then Alimamy, and so on. They go home the next day as I am checking in others for surgery- I see relief on their face and they give me hugs or handshakes, and I hear their echoes of, “Tell Papa God tenke.” Just today, I was delivering my second hernia patient to recovery, when one of the nurses handed over to me our first hernia patient- five month old, Abu Bakar. Sweet, chubby, and he fit perfectly in my arms. However, I knew it was his time to go back to the ward. I had just a few minutes before we would be calling for our third patient, so I took him down the corridor myself to take advantage of some snuggle time. In A ward, I found mama sitting in Bed 20 and her face transformed from worry to joy in the second I handed over Abu to her. I told her “Abu’s operation is fine fine” and my heart agreed when she responded. “Tell Papa God tenke.”

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Wordless Wednesday: Sunset

No words from me, but from "The Mighty One, God, the LORD, speaks and summons the earth from the rising of the sun to where it sets. From Zion, perfect in beauty, God shines forth." Psalm 50:1-2

Friday, July 1, 2011

Productive Day Off

The past month I felt like I was training for triathlon: eat, work, and sleep. So I apologize for the absence of blogs, but never fear I'm still here in Sierra Leone onboard the Africa Mercy! I have been able to get out to the beaches and spend a weekend staying with a friend in town for some rest. Yesterday, my lovely supervisors thought I could use a day off and I gladly accepted. I wrestled back and forth on Thursday night if I should turn off my alarm and sleep-in or set it and have a productive day off. I think I made the right decision, so my Friday went a little like this…

6:45 Alarm goes off… even though my ipod sound has gone kaput, I still wake up at this time. I might become a morning person and this is scaring me a little.

6:55 Pick up breakfast in the dining room… still not a talkative person in the morning, so avoid eye contact is key.

7:00 Bible study with Sandra in the cafĂ© area. I’m so thankful for Sandra- she keeps me accountable in my Bible study and in working out. Right now we are studying the fruit of the Spirit. The view from our table in the morning: containers.

7:45 Plastic Surgery Presentation- An opportunity to share with the crew amazing stories of our plastics patients- pictures on the last blog. Thank you everyone for your prayers for Osman. We had to amputate his leg, but he is healing and a happy little boy on the ward.

8:30 Organized my cabin & schedule for a productive day! Made my bed, Mother Green!

9:30 Coffee & waffles at Starbucks with my friend, Laura. We decided to each lead a Bible study in August. I’m excited about studying the life of Esther.

10:30 Time for errands: Ordering books for Bible study, dropping off comics and notes at cabins, signed up for laundry at 11.

11:25 Stopped by the library... decided to read Sense & Sensibility by Austen. Forgot about laundry, but got in the washer just in time.

11:30 Picked up lunch and visited the OR office to trade call for tonight so I could go out with the Jesus Film ministry

12 noon Change over laundry to dryer. Have to get to it before someone else does it for me… try sharing 10 machines with 400 people.

12:15 Eat lunch while working on Bible study sign up sheets.

1:00 Pick up laundry… deck 4 to deck 6 (4 trips in all today).

1:30 Time for correspondence: writing cards, which I love to do and wish I had more time! Organize/clean room and put laundry away. Everything held up by magnets on the wall.

3:30 Stopped by post office for stamps, ship shop to visit friends, but didn’t buy anything, and the bank. All these things are a few steps from each other, so it doesn’t take long to run errands except when you stop and chat with friends.

4:00 Time for nap… felt like I needed it after a busy day!

5:00 Woke up feeling nauseated… sadly, a common occurrence while living on the petri ship. Please pray for the crew as bugs like this go around. So, I decided it would be best to stay onboard instead of go out tonight. Hopefully, I can go out again with the Jesus Film.

5:30 Tried two pieces of toast for dinner… so good so far.

6:00 Gathered trash from the cabin and went to get some fresh air… beautiful sunset at the end of the dock.

8:00 Mosquitoes were coming out since it’s the rainy season so came back onboard. Spent the past couple hours working on internet correspondence and then trying to format my blog’s background… no luck, but at least I can post this entry.

10:00 Time for bed since I'm not feeling good... hope a good night's rest will do the body good and I can enjoy a day at the beach with friends.



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