Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Capturing The Moments

A couple weeks ago I went with Mercy Ministries to Les Enfants de Soleis which is an orphanage run by a French association. We played games, told a short bible story, sang songs and did a craft. I certainly miss all of my nieces and nephews and this was a great time to just to interact and play with some kids. Kids behavior is pretty universal....they all had a ton of energy, loved playing and just wanted some attention and love.   


This kid is 15 and already knows
Malagasy, French and is
learning English. So incredible!
All photo cred to Mercy Ministries
My engineering, and mechanically savoy readers will be excited to know that I took a tour of the engine room of the Africa Mercy! So cool to see how this large ship really operates and stays afloat. All of the people that work in the engine room are also volunteers and work pretty hard to make sure that all systems are working properly.

Top Left: One of the four main engines
Top Right: With 400 people on the ship this is an important system to be working haha
Bottom Left: Water filtration system
Bottom Right: This is the part of the ship that needed to be removed for repairs delaying the ships arrival to Madagascar for two weeks.
We also are really enjoying spending some time locally exploring Tamatave. Tamatave does have the hustle and bustle of a big city due to the large port and beaches but also has beautiful scenery and quiet places that we are discovering. One of those places is the Prune Island. It is about 9.9 miles northeast of Tamatave which was about an hour and a half boat ride from the port. It is home to the tallest Lighthouse in Africa called Nosy Alañaña Light, also known as Île aux Prunes Light. The island kind of reminded me of something out of a Jurassic park movie with a lot of green forestry areas but also a beautiful beach. We went with a tour guide who took us walking around the island and of course to the top of the lighthouse. The lighthouse is 197 feet tall and has over 300 steps so it was a workout but the view was worth it.



It is also lychee season here in Madagascar. This fruit is very sweet and kind of has the consistency of a grape with a large pit in the center. It is delicious and very popular around here!   

While I am enjoying all of these adventures and forming so many great friendships what is most important are the patients. Peoples lives are being changed everyday here aboard the Africa Mercy. These ladies continue to challenge me and bring so much joy to my heart. I wish you could meet one of these ladies, sit down and talk with them and hear their story. It is hard to describe how it feels to see a patient who was isolated, depressed and abandoned smiling, laughing and filled with joy knowing that they are starting a new life. It's hard to describe how happy and yet sad you feel when you say goodbye to these ladies knowing that they may forget you but that they will forever be apart of your life. If you are feeling so inclined to learn even more about obstetric fistula's I would encourage you to watch the documentary " A Walk To Beautiful" which follows five woman in Ethiopia as they journey towards Addis Ababa Fistula Hospital for surgery. This documentary gives a very accurate picture of what life is like for these ladies, their struggles, triumphs and journeys towards healing. I will give you fair warning you will most definitely need tissues :)


The lady I am praying for in the blue hat was a patient who we named as our  'Malagasy grandmother'. She was 60 years old and suffered from her fistula for over 20 years. She had a beautiful smile and was always wearing really cute earrings. What a pleasure it was to take care of her!
As always I have a lot to be thankful for this year. I might be celebrating Thanksgiving this year very far away from home but none the less I'm thankful for each and every one of you and for your support, love, kindness, wisdom and prayers. I will continue to soak up every minute of this journey trying to capture each moment as best as I can. I hope that you will continue to follow along!
Lot of love,

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





Friday, November 6, 2015


It is no shock that I have enjoyed this time with Mercy Ships. These patients have taught me more and have given me more life, wisdom, and joy than I could have ever given them. People said before I left things like "this will be a life changing experience" or "you"ll never the be the same after this." I couldn't figure out for a little bit why the thought of all that actually inflicted anxiety within me. Why was I afraid of change? Why was I afraid of growth? Then I realized deep down how much I hate change. I hate being taken out of my comfort zone, I hate not feeling competent or in control of situations. I hate not knowing what's next or how the story will end. Don't we all?!?
A precious friend gave me the following quote before I left and it has been lingering in my heart:

" O Christ, do not give me tasks equal to my powers, but give me powers equal to my tasks, for I want to be stretched by things too great for me. I want to grow through the greatness of my tasks, but I shall need your help for the growing." -E. Stanley Jones

I have already been stretched by the greatness of all the pain, suffering, joy, faith and hope that is involved in caring for these ladies. It has not been easy. It has been difficult sending ladies home that aren't completely healed. It has been difficult walking with patients when it is clear that they are hopeless and frustrated with their situation. The language barrier at times is frustrating and learning the cultural difference has proven to be a challenge. Yet over and over again God is reminding me that I'm not doing this on my own. It is his power working through me that is allowing me to be his hands and feet to care for these patients. He has proven over and over again that His power is made perfect in my weakness and that He makes ALL things work together for my good.

I had been thinking about possibly extending my stay with Mercy Ships but wasn't sure if it would be possible. After inquiring I found out that a position for the ICU/maxillofacial ward had just opened up for around the time I was scheduled to leave. So at the end of this month I will move to living and working on the ship until the beginning of February. I know plot twist haha :)

 Friends, I"ll be honest I miss home. I miss talking to you all face to face and just chatting about life but as another precious friend said there is a special peace knowing that I'm about our Fathers business. I'm in good hands. I will be stretched, I will grow and it might be painful at times but God will multiply this time to do more things than I could ever imagine and I'm looking forward to all that He has planned :)

Thanks for reading and I hope that you will continue to walk with me along this adventure!

Lots of love,