Friday, August 29, 2014


Every time I stressed about another paper I had to write for my first graduate classes of Nursing Theory and Research, my dad encouraged me “Allison, you’re a great writer- it’s just like writing a couple blogs.” (Enter APA reference I should know by now here). So I have written five papers, roughly 15 pages each, over 10 weeks, I should be caught up until the end of the year at least. However, I’m not sure how much the blog world wants to read about my concept analysis on poverty, Watson's caring theory, critical appraisals, perioperative warming and so on. My eyes have gone cross while staring at the computer for hours, I have tennis elbow from leaning on my desk and I am pretty sure a pressure ulcer. Alternating heat pads on my hunch back and sitting on ice packs have helped the healing of my first grad school wounds. I finally splurged and bought a desk chair that helps all the ailments, except for the cross-eyes that hit on the final page of each paper. Despite all the groans of school, I have now laid a foundation as a future family nurse practitioner with six hours down, 45 more to go. My roommate, Rachel, who is in business school, and I have dubbed our apartment 904.0- making sure we study hard in between game and smoothie breaks to maintain the GPA of our home at a 4.0. My friends continue to encourage me that each paper, quiz, and statistic problem gets me closer to returning to the mission field.

Besides school, I carry on with agency work in the area- mainly traveling East toward Dallas. I tell you the direction for a reason. What’s East at six o’clock in the morning? I’m not referring to the crazy truck drivers barreling down I-20, but the sun that meets me every morning as I drive toward another hospital or surgery center. I balance my coffee and the steering wheel as I head out each morning, looking forward to catching the first glimpse of the sun. Every morning it is different. It is a new sunset, never seen before as the clouds take different shape and the golden colors spill from the horizon. By the time I reach work, the sun is bursting forth in the sky with streaks of color from purple to orange like paint on a canvas.

The sunrise always takes me back to the many evenings I spent watching the African sunset. I was never a morning person on the ship and most mornings were too cloudy to see anything in the ports of West Africa. However, the sunsets were spectacular as my friends and I watched tug and pilot boats do somewhat of a “ship ballet” to dock a gigantic container ship into the neighboring berth for the night. It was a favorite evening tradition to take a cup of tea and sit on deck 8 to watch the sun disappear below the calm Atlantic waters. There was nothing like that moment- in which you could sit, breathe (sometimes not so fresh air), reflect on your hectic day, pray for your patients, and know that as the sun set- you were right where God wanted you.

Over a year ago, I left the ship and my last blog I wrote this: “As the sun sets on this chapter of my life with Mercy Ships, I look forward to what God has next for me as I go stateside. One thing I know for sure that the God that has been faithful so far will continue to do so. Thank you Lord for this magnificent display of your creation. Surely as the sun sets, you are faithful in your promises to be with us when it rises the next day. 

Now as I wake even before my alarm sounds and head to work, looking forward to the sunrise, I believe the same. God wants me right where I am. Some days I miss Africa more as I see the familiar sights on the news with the Ebola outbreak. How my heart breaks for the poorest countries of the world battling a relentless disease. I want to be there to help relieve the suffering as well as other missionaries that have been uprooted from their African home. Once your feet hit the dirt of Africa, a piece of your heart is lost forever in the people you came to care for and love. I think of my Salone friends and coworkers fighting with limited resources and with no end in sight of the epidemic. My daily prayers are with those that have lost loved ones, caring for the sick, and for healing to come quickly to West Africa. May there be peace and understanding in how to combat Ebola. For aid to not only cure, but to offer hope. And as the sun rises, may the people of West Africa know God is faithful and his mercies are new every morning. Amen. 

“Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed,
for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning;
 great is your faithfulness.” Lamentations 3:22-23


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