Tuesday, October 27, 2015

All the languages

This time with Mercy Ships has allowed me to meet so many people from so many different areas of the world. I believe that there are over 40 countries represented on the Africa Mercy during a field service. That means there are many different ways to say hello, greet people, and more ways to refer to the toilet than I ever imagined.

Some of my favorite sayings so far are from the Australians. Are you surprised that I love the Australian accent and sayings?!? Here are a couple:

How you traveling?- which basically means how are you doing? how are things going?

Winging used instead of whining. For example, "Stop winging about the weather."

Are you winning?- basically means area you ahead in your work? or are you accomplishing all of your tasks for the day.

Some words for toilet that I have heard so far: loo, wash room,  lavatory, restroom and water closet who knew?!?

A lot of Canadians using their "Eh's, southerns saying Y'all and British people who in general just have fantastic accents.

Learning some Dutch words mostly from playing a card game called Phase 10 that a Dutch friend brought that has rules and words in Dutch. I'm also kind of brushing up on my Spanish from my roommate who is from Paraguay.

There are a couple people from Ireland who specify that they are from Northern Ireland or pronounced 'Norn Iron' which apparently is different from just Ireland. Some of my favorite words to hear the Irish say are ragein'-angry, fuming, cracker-good or funny and wee-small.

As far as the Malagasy culture goes greeting people and making eye contact is very important. We are learning to greet each patient with a hand shake and say salama or manahoana which means Hello, Good morning/day/afternoon/evening. Some other words we are learning are:

Veloma: Good-bye
Azafady: Please or sorry (literally means "may it not be taboo to me") We use this one a lot :)
Misaotra: Thank you
Tsy misy fisaorana: You're welcome
Vazaha: foreigner or white person.... we hear this one often too

Some of the Malagasy people that have a little more education are taught French in school and college. The daycrew is helping us out with French for fun. 
It is challenging at times to communicate and work with so many people from different cultures and languages but for the most part it is really fun. Most people say that I don't have an accent just when I say certain words. I'm also learning that I talk way too fast. I usually just get a blank stare and realize that I need to slow down hahaha.

Last week I had the opportunity to go out with the Mercy Ministries team. Mercy Ministries provides opportunities for the crew to volunteer with local organizations involving children, homeless and the local church. Last Wednesday I went with them to the Semato Deaf School for children. I have never visited a deaf school and don't know sign language so wasn't sure what to expect but the kids were so awesome and so much fun. You wouldn't believe how much you can convey just by facial expressions and a simple smile or thumbs up. After greeting us all and welcoming us into their classroom they gave us a sign name. They must have liked my earrings so mine was touching the ear lobes. The day crew did a bible lesson and then we did a craft and played games with them. Truly a unique experience and I look forward to doing more things with Mercy Ministries.

All photo cred to: Mercy Ministires 

Although I am currently serving with Mercy Ships, everything communicated here strictly reflects my personal opinions and is neither reviewed nor endorsed by Mercy Ships. Opinions, conclusions and other information expressed here do not necessarily reflect the views of Mercy Ships

Sunday, October 18, 2015

The Hope Center

The Hope Center is a large building that is actually connected to the OBF clinic. Most of our patients travel hours and even days just to get to Mercy Ships. The Hope Center is a place for patients to stay as they wait for their screening appointment and surgery date. Many patients go back to the Hope Center after their surgery is complete and stay while they arrange transport back home and continue to recover.

This week we had our second dress ceremony with 17 ladies that participated! Once again it was an exciting and emotional day. Patients from the Hope Center often attend these dress ceremonies. This time I noticed many little kids with cleft palates and some adults with pretty large tumors at the ceremony. Maybe they were waiting for further screening or maybe they were anxiously awaiting their surgery date. All I know is they were sitting there listening to testimony after testimony of how these ladies have been healed physically, emotionally and spiritually. I can just imagine a spark of hope rising up within them. I can only wonder if they were praying Lord can you really do the same thing for me? Can I be made whole physically? Can you give me the same joy and peace even if my surgery doesn't work? Once again, these ladies have inspired, encouraged and spurred on hope in another group of people without even realizing it. I know hope is the buzz word around here and I have been talking about it a lot but seeds of hope are being planted everywhere in this place. Hope is constantly transferred from patient to patient, from nurse to patient, from patient to nurse and from crew member to crew member. Hope is rising in small ways, big ways and in every way possible because Christ is at the center of everything here. And peace that passes all understanding, joy unspeakable, love unfailing and hope in the most hopeless situations are forever only found in Him.

The dress ceremony was a great way to start off my birthday weekend! I spent some time at the beach and mostly hung around with friends. A very relaxing weekend. I have so much to be thankful for this year. I can look back on this year and see how God was molding me, shaping me and preparing me for this time of volunteering with Mercy Ships. His hand prints are all over this past year and I couldn't be more thankful. As I look forward to what this next year brings I am full of hope and excitement for what God has in store. I pray that whatever happens this year that I may be able to have the peace, joy, faith, and hope that these ladies have unknowingly taught me.

First dress ceremony of this field service took place on October 2nd!

                                                                      Each lady gives a short testimony. 

 Pure joy my friends!

Second dress ceremony was on October 16th

Add caption

Laughter is the best medicine!


Lots of singing after the ceremony!

"Therefore confess your sins to eachother and pray for eachother so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective." James 5:16

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

First Dress Ceremony

Last Friday we had seven ladies in which the surgery was successful, were completely dry and ready to go home! 

In order to celebrate this Mercy Ships has organized a ceremony in which each lady gets to wear a new dress, hat and get their makeup and hair completely done. It's kind of like a wedding. They all get ready in one room and nobody sees them until the ceremony starts. There is singing, each lady gives a short testimony, and they have people pray over them. They also receive other new items like a mirror, lotion and a bible. Many people from the ship come to this ceremony and so many of them play a part in these women's successful stories. It truly is an emotional and exciting event. I can't describe the feelings we all had seeing the ladies come out of the room all dressed up, smiling and singing. I don't think there was a dry eye in the place.

As I was sitting with our other patients watching this ceremony the thought dawned on me that these women probably have never had this much attention on them in their entire lives. This is the first time somebody has ever really paid attention to them, celebrated with them or even just recognized them as a person, a strong, beautiful person. Let's be honest what girl doesn't like to get dressed up every once awhile and break out the good jewelry and take time to do their makeup?!? Yes, believe it or not even I do every ONCE and awhile lol ;) You have to admit it feels nice when people say you look great or hey I love that dress. All these women have longed for is acceptance, normalcy and to be recognized as part of society. Not only are they getting all of that back but their faith in God is restored. They are reminded that they have a purpose, that they are daughters of the most high God, that they are loved by a God that sees them and has been walking with them through every stage of this journey towards healing and restoration. 

These ladies are teaching us a lot already. The courage, strength and faith it takes for these women to come to Mercy Ships and actually trust us foreigners with their care is unbelievable! They are the survivors. They are the fighters and it is so awesome to witness this joyous occasion in their lives. Hearing the women praising God for healing them and then thanking us for taking care of them I mean truly an indescribable and humbling experience. These ladies have nothing to offer us in return and yet being apart of their journey, watching hope and faith slowly blossoming in them, rejoicing with them in the good days and being there for them during the rough days makes all of it worth it. These first seven ladies are so important because they pave the way for every other women that will walk in that clinic. They are the pioneers. They will inspire and encourage ladies just like themselves. They will offer that little extra hope that maybe another women needs. 

I think we all have that gift within us. We all have something to pass down to another generation, we all have been through a certain situation that another person is currently going through. Offer that small word of encouragement, hope or love to somebody and I guarantee it will make a huge difference. 

This was only the first dress ceremony and my coworkers and I were just overwhelmed with so many emotions hahaha! In the end, we all agreed that we can't wait to do it all over again next Friday :) 

Thanks for reading!

P.S. Some people were asking about mailing letters or packages. I for the most part have all the toiletries and snacks I need. Also, packages can get expensive if they are really heavy but I would love to receive cards, letters or anything like that! It usually takes about 2-3 weeks for the mail to arrive. The address is as follows:  

Deborah Mascia 
Mercy Ships AFM
Crew Mail 
P.O. Box 2020
Lindale, TX 75771-2020 USA

"Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing!
Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I'am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland." Isaiah 43:18-19
Although I am currently serving with Mercy Ships, everything communicated here strictly reflects my personal opinions and is neither reviewed nor endorsed by Mercy Ships. Opinions, conclusions and other information expressed here do not necessarily reflect the views of Mercy Ships


Sunday, October 4, 2015

Local Church

One of the most exciting things I have done has been to experience worshipping with the local church here in Tamatave. This Sunday was my second time and I was once again blown away by the church's welcoming attitude and love for Christ. We even had communion together today and I could just see God painting a picture of what heaven will be like right before my eyes. People from every nation and continent worshipping Him in one accord. Just within the group from Mercy Ships we had people from America, England, South America, Holland and other African countries all coming together to worship with the local Malagasy people. How incredible is that?!? 

This is not your regular local church either. It's kind of a building with large wooden posts and a tarp roof. One day I might take pictures but I feel rude coming  in as this white foreigner taking pictures. Anyway, today it was a little rainy and well this tarp does have holes lol. We got a little wet and the pastor was making jokes about it being showers of blessings but the church members were wiping down our seats and making sure we had umbrellas. Such a humbling experience.

Reminds me also just how important the local church is. Mercy Ships is here for a season to bring God's love, hope and healing but the local church is the foundation here in Tamatave. Their mission is to reach every local with God's love, preach the gospel, train up disciples and the next generation, and shepherd God's people at all times. What an honor it is to just join with them for a time of worship and witnessing what God is doing here in Madagascar. 

"How good and pleasant it is when God's people live together in unity!" Psalm 133:1
Although I am currently serving with Mercy Ships, everything communicated here strictly reflects my personal opinions and is neither reviewed nor endorsed by Mercy Ships. Opinions, conclusions and other information expressed here do not necessarily reflect the views of Mercy Ships