In May of 2017, I was given the opportunity to extend my stay here onboard. Thinking and praying, I decided to take the opportunity and I extended 6 months past my 10 month mark. At the beginning I had some money that I had saved up from my job back home. I had intended to put that money into my crew bank account so I could use it on souvenirs and other things. Not realizing what I was doing I put That money into the wrong account (my ARP account used for crew fees only.) Call me crazy but I didn’t feel the need to worry about it very much. I’m not sure why, I knew that the money was going to be used one way or another, and whatever happened it really wasn’t going to go to waste. Ether I would extend and use it, and if I didn’t, I have about 8 years to come back or the money will go to Mercy Ships. I kind of took it as a sign that something like extending was going to be in my future. I had some trouble at the beginning (long story) so when I got the opportunity to extend I knew. I went home and slept on it for the night but I knew what to do, and the next day I extended until May 31 2018. And I feel good about it.
Theis past couple months I haven’t been writing much. Mainly because I was waiting for something profound to write about. I always feel like I need a specific subject to write about, as if my adventure is not enough. I would spend days and days sitting, thinking and waiting for the right “God moment” or “story” to wright about. It never came to me, at least I thought it never came to me. I was so busy trying to think of the perfect words to write not realizing that every moment is a God moment, and all I need to wright about is what I have been up to the past couple of days/months.
Whats been going on in my life? I live on a ship, more specifically I live on the Africa Mercy Ship. A hospital ship that goes around the west coast of Africa giving free surgeries to the poorest of the poor. I’ve been here for 8 months working in the galley and I have 10 months to go. We have finished our field service in Benin and now we are in Las Palmas de Gran Caneria for our annual dry dock/ship yard.
We are currently back in the water but this is what it looked like out of the water. The last four months besides working I have been enjoying my time onboard and going out with friends. Each of the pictures below show what I did starting from when I was in Benin to here in Las Palmas.
This is my first ship yard and it is definitely different from field service. It isn’t as crowded, it’s more relaxed, no AC (only in dry dock) so it’s very hot especially in the galley, no patients, less activity on board, etc. In Benin, I started to help serve the food for the patients down in the wards. That gave me a sense peace that even though I am not medical I am still helping and working for God and for the mission. I have continued to learn about myself, how to live in community, and learning more about God.
In the past couple of weeks the Africa Mercy has joined one of our dear crew members in saying a surprising and heartbreaking farewell to her husband and our friend Tom Waechter. This came as a shock to us. Tom and his wife were on PTO visiting his family when Tom had a heart attack. This is very sad news to most of us here on the ship who were close friends with Tom and knew him personally. Tom was one of the first people whom I had the privilege to talk to when I had arrived here on the Africa Mercy. Tom was serving in the transportation department and his wife was serving in outpatients. When the on boarding group had arrived here we were invited to go down to the wards and play some hand bells for the patients, led by Tom. And during easter at open cabins they had the hand bells out so that the guests could play them. Some knew tom as a hard worker, some knew him for the fun-loving father, I knew Tom as the one who liked to go play bells. Tom was more than just a friend he was a family member. And though I don’t quite yet know which member he was, I know that he was a family member. I could see that Tom and his wife really had a heart for the mission. And didn’t just love the people, or the job. But loved God and the patients. It reminds us all what this mission is about. That it’s not all just work, work, work. But your attitude and your willingness to help others. The undertone of the shipyard gives you a chance to look back at the past field service. The things that you may have done wrong and the things that portrayed Jesus in you and allowed you to be the mission. Now we can think about what we can do for this next service. What can change, what can be better, or what we should keep. So my time at home, my time away from the ship is going to be my refection time.
Some times when I am in the moment and I think that it would be nice to have a Bible verse at the moment. I think of a random chapter or verse in the Bible. Not knowing what it says I look for it and read it. Now keep in mind this is random. Galatians 4:18 “But it is good to be zealously sought in a good matter at all times, and not only when I am present with you.”