Thursday, March 23, 2017

The Month Of March Is Marching On......

Humor me friends with the title of this blog. I'm well aware of how terrible it is. The month of March has really flown by though. During this month we have had a couple special guests visit the ship to see how the organization runs and meet some of the leadership and crew members here on the ship. If you haven't heard the Fox news anchor Dana Perino visited the ship a couple weeks ago and did a short piece about Mercy Ships on her show The Five. You probably won't see me in the video though I was a little camera shy ;)

The highlight of the month is that the women's health program is in full swing bringing in lots of lovely ladies, nail painting sessions, and late night bedtimes for the patients in which it feels like a slumber party on the ward. We have had women come in with not only obstetric fistulas but large uterine fibroids, and uterine and bladder prolapses. If you have read any of my previous blogs I might have mentioned how women's health was never an area of nursing that I was particularly interested in or ever thought I would do. This year I have felt very comfortable taking care of the obstetric fistula patients but of course I am expanding my knowledge and skill set with the other gynecological problems that we have been seeing. Lets just say I'm most thankful for the nurses that I work with that have women's health experience.

We have had two dress ceremonies to celebrate with eight ladies who have had successful surgery and are no longer leaking urine from their fistulas. Check out this previous post for more details about what happens at a dress ceremony:

It is basically one big party in which we sing, dance and praise the Lord for healing these ladies. The ladies often give a word of praise or share their testimony and receive some special gifts including a beautiful new dress, and jewelry. It is really interesting to hear the ladies perspectives of the process of coming to the ship and having surgery. One lady described how when she was previously at a local hospital she laid in bed for 3 weeks. One day after her surgery here on the ship we had her up, out of bed and walking in the hallways. She said she thought to herself I don't know if this is going to work. I think the nurses laughed the loudest at this because we all know how difficult it is sometimes to coax them to get up and moving. It usually involves nurses and daycrew starting to sing, clap and dance to get them out of bed. Even more uplifting and joyous was to hear each lady say how they were leaving with a new sense of confidence, that they never thought the day would come in which they would be dry or standing in front of a group of people testifying about God's healing for them. Needless to say, there were a lot of tears of joy from both the patients and crew members. This dress ceremony just reminded me why I love walking with these ladies on this sometimes rocky journey towards physical, spiritual and emotional healing. It reminded me of why I am here. He doesn't need me to take care of these ladies. He holds each one them in the palm of His hand. He knows them by name, He sees them, and walks with them long after this floating hospital ship leaves. On the days that are hard and even on the joyous days I take great comfort in knowing that God loves each one of these patients more than I ever could and yet He allows me to walk with them on this journey for a short time. For that I am truly grateful. The same goes for all of you reading this. God sees you. He loves you. He walks with you. He is for you. And as much I miss each one of you there is a peace I have knowing that one that is greater than me goes before you, watches over you and loves you more than anybody else.

Lots of joy, and laughter.

Nurses, doctors and surgeons with our beautiful patients.

I also wanted to share with you some before and after pictures of the goiter patients that I took care of in February. The general surgeon that was here noted that not only is the surgery very complex and time consuming but that these goiters compress the trachea (airway) so much that it is almost as if the patients are breathing out of a straw. It always amazes me how the body compensates and how strong these patients are to continue to walk around with such a life threatening goiter. Truly a testament to God's provision and protection over their lives. You see the physical change in them so immediately and it was a pleasure to care for these patients. 

 She said, " When I say I was not free, I mean that I could not move around as I wanted, I could not travel far from home, and I did not have the strength to carry anything on my head... so I couldn't work." After 30 years this lady is goiter free! 

With a couple more months of surgery to go please continue to pray for strength and perseverance for the crew and day crew aboard the Africa Mercy! Pray for quick healing for all of our patients and please keep the country of Madagascar in your prayers. They are recently recovering from a hurricane that flooded areas and destroyed many homes. Madagascar is near and dear to many people as the Africa Mercy spent two field services their recently.

Thank you for your steadfast prayers, love and support!


P.S. If you want to read more about whats happening on the Africa Mercy check out a recent update that my good friend Anne wrote:

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