Mountain climbing

Mountains, we climb them, look at them, talk about them, ski on them, sit on them, live on them, and in some places we are surrounded by them.  Mountains are also used in the metaphorical sense; there are many songs written about climbing mountains.  The Bible talks about moving mountains.  Matthew 17:20 He replied, “Because you have so little faith. Truly I tell you, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you.”  Mountains are somehow apart of life.IMG_4540

Here in Cameroon right outside the window across the river, there is a mountain.  Mt. Cameroon, the highest mountain in west Africa, it is 13,000 Ft tall.  Over the Easter holiday I got to climb the mountain.  I went with a group of 10, we spent three days climbing the mountain.  The first day we climbed half way, spent the night; the next day we climbed to the top then back down to where we stayed the first night.  The final day we left to climb the rest of the way down.  It was a nice time to spend off the ship for a while, on a beautiful mountain with.  It was a tough climb but it was worth it all.  To be on a beautiful mountain looking at the wonderful creation of God.  A chance to get away and let my worries go and the all up to God.  We had a lot of fun playing games, hanging out, and getting to know each other more.  We were all lucky enough to get to go be because the next week, for safety reasons, it was closed off to us.  It was very beautiful and cold.  I was told that if I fall down I would have to buy a chicken,  I think I fell down like ten times.  I actually stopped counting after number four.

Since then I have been climbing my own mountains.  My spiritual walk with the Lord has been growing stronger every day. I have been through a lot this past year that has allowed me to put my trust in God and rely on him to guide me in the way he wants me to go.  That no matter what happens in my life God is in control.  My favourite movie, and story, is “The Lord of The Rings” by JRR Tolkien.  It reminds me that in the middle of all the hard times, the heart breaks, and the difficult mountains, there is still hope if we just keep our eyes on the maker.  As long as we trust in him everything will be alright.  With new and unexpected surprises, the Lord has a plane and a purpose for everyone.  No matter how bug or small you are ;p  We just have to trust him.

Work has been busy and fun these past couple of months.  I have been volunteering in the Starbucks cafe on my days off.  That has been really fun and has given me an opportunity to talk to and meet some of the other crew that I may not know.  I love working in a place where I can socialize more with people.  But that is not to say that I love my job.  I enjoy making people happy, it makes me feel good.  I had the opportunity to fill in for the baker here for one month while he was on vacation.  It is a big job to do.  The baker is in charge of making the breakfast in the morning, making bread for all the crew, and making treats for the crew.  He has to wake up early in the morning working from 5:00am-1:00pm Monday-Friday.  I of course made sure that for the short time I was there I would do a good job.  I guess I did such a good job that they asked me to stay longer.  I haven’t given my answer yet but I am still praying about it.  But I am seriously considering extending for another year.  The ship has made some changes to the crew fees; starting in August our crew fees will drop.  So I will get to pay less than what I am currently paying.  I ask for your prayers that God will show me his way and guid me in the right direction.  The God will also give me peace and clarity thou I don’t understand everything that is gong on in my life right now.


“Reaching out: Tresor’s Story”

Tresor is a ten-year-old boy with an explosive laugh. He’s a cheeky prankster with a competitive spirit, and he’s completely unafraid to speak his mind. He’s the kind of child you’d call unstoppable.

But Tresor’s childhood took an unexpected turn when he was just three years old — he was playing outside with his friends when he was accidentally pushed into an open fire.

“There was nobody in the kitchen watching over him. He wasn’t crying out loud, so no one knew what happened. The fire kept burning him. A long time later, my sister discovered him, lying like that,” recounted Tresor’s mother, Mary Magdalene.

The flames burned much of Tresor’s small body, leaving him with wounds along his upper body and face that would eventually fade into rigid scars. The burns on his arm were the injuries that truly left their mark on his young life. Without proper medical care, his wounds healed incorrectly, causing a contracture that locked his elbow into place, costing him the use of his arm and hand.

For Mary Magdalene, Tresor’s accident left deep scars on her heart as well. Because she was not there when he fell into the fire, she vividly remembers the moment she first saw her little boy in this condition.

“I returned home the next morning and found him like this. No one had taken him to the hospital,” she said somberly, recalling how he had been covered in open burns, bones showing on his arm. Trips to the hospital for dressing changes left her in deep debt.

“I cried and felt so bad, saying to God, ‘I’m not sure he’ll survive, I’m not sure he’ll make it,’” she said, feeling utterly devastated that she hadn’t been around to protect him.

As time went by, the limitations caused by Tresor’s accident became increasingly apparent. Without the use of his hand, and his arm locked in its contracture, he needed help with mundane tasks, like putting his clothes on in the morning eating by himself.

Seven years after his accident, Mary Magdalene heard about the Africa Mercy’s arrival in Cameroon and brought Tresor to receive surgery. It was the answer to a prayer they had both echoed for years: that Tresor to one day regain the use of his arm.

He received surgery on board, which removed the dense scar tissue surrounding his elbow, replacing it with skin grafts that allowed him to stretch out his arm. The surgical team also operated on his hand to give him optimum mobility in his fingers.

The road to recovery stretched ahead for Tresor. Before physiotherapy could begin, he had to patiently wait for his wounds to heal. But it didn’t take long for Tresor’s characteristic energy and cheer to return, and it was a common sight to see him tearing around the wards or wildly careening around Deck 7 on his tricycle.

Tresor’s rehab included working to grip objects, pick things up, and carry increasingly heavier loads using his hand.

“His mobility now is basically at 100 percent. He got so excited the very first time he was able to move his elbow by himself,” said Chelsea Darlow, the occupational therapist who worked closely with Tresor during his weeks of physiotherapy. “He’s so motivated – I didn’t even have to tell him to do his exercises; he did it himself. If I say to do 10 repetitions, he’ll do 20.”

When asked how life will change for Tresor after surgery, his mother said he’ll have more independence over his life. He’ll now be able to bathe himself, wash his dishes, eat properly, and write like everyone else.

But in typical 10-year-old fashion, Tresor is excited for other kinds of life changes like playing basketball, keeping up with his friends, and taking on more responsibility as the ‘man of the house.’

His ultimate dream is to become a mechanic when he grows up. “Since the first time he saw mechanics at work, he told me, ‘This is what I want to do,'” said Mary Magdalene. “He would say, ‘Mummy, I pray we’ll have the money to have my arm straightened.’”

Now, with his arm healed and his mobility restored, Tresor is free to pursue his dreams with open arms.


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