All comments contained within this blog are my personal observations while serving on the M/V Africa Mercy. They are not the views or opinions of Mercy Ships or partner ministries.»

Saturday, February 9, 2008

I have arrived!!

I keep saying, "I can't believe I am here! I just can't believe I am on the M/V Africa Mercy!!" However, I have photos so it must be real.

This is my friend Deb. She is the one behind all the wonderful photos of me out in the field. You are going to see some great shots of me and that is all due to this amazing woman of God using her gifts and talents serving Him.

My friend Deb is a Canadian and it is so funny to see Canadians seek each other out on the ship. Deb introduced me to this gentleman (I can't for the life of me remember his name) as he was sitting at the end of the dock during sunset.

This is on one of the cargo containers.

So, the trip over... It was, well, loooong. I'm kind of hate to say this, but I am so used to the long hauls it takes to arrive on the continent where my heart resides that the 35 to 40 hour travel "day" is well worth the price.

The Lord was faithful in that I have never had a weather delay in all my travels. NEVER!! I was due to fly from Phoenix to Chicago and thought my streak might end with this trip. After having me wait for 10 years to come join the ship, the Lord held back the weather in Chicago and my departure was not delayed by one minute.

When I boarded the plane in Chicago, I was looking at all the passengers trying to figure out who might be going with me all the way to Liberia, but was not brave enough to approach anyone. Good thing, since all of my guesses were wrong!!

Once I arrived in Brussels I knew all 36 of us would be on the same flight. I had started communicating with a gal who was arriving the same day I was and was had seen photos of each other. When I recognized her I joined her and three others who were on the same flight from New York.

My concerns about a flight delay faded as soon as I left Chicago only to be met by a 1 1/2 hour delay in Brussels. Oh well, more time to become acquainted with the other crew.

Once we started forming a little group of people who were joining the ship, I would every once in a while walk up and down the waiting area asking people if they were with Mercy Ships. ( was much braver knowing I would be successful). This little act brought together about 17 of us. The first question asked of each new person joining our little, but fast growing huddle, was "What are you going to be doing on the ship?"

I was one of only a couple of people who are not medical personnel. We have Sarah who is the ships hair stylist. Then there is Val who is here only for a couple of weeks to serve in the ships boutique and me, the videographer.

Most were nurses and we had one married couple who are both doctors.

If you were to look at the group as a whole, it was a rag tag bunch of people who share one thing, the call to serve!

The following are some shots taken by Ali (peds nurse), Mark (Doctor) and myself in the Brussels airport as we patiently, sort of, waiting for our delayed flight.

Taken by Ali.

Ali's shot too.

Me taking Ali's photo and she's taking mine.

Taken by Mark.

Mark is in the foreground. Can't remember the other gal's names.

So, we finally arrive in Monrovia. I was like a little kid waiting for Christmas morning. I was so excited at being able to see Deb again, but just like that little kid, I had to wait. It took quite a long time for us to be processed and get our bags but when we did and I saw her, it was like the past 2 1/2 years had never passed between us.

She was one of the drivers and we made sure I was in her vehicle. The other staff member who came with her willingly gave up her "shotgun" seat for me to sit up in front and be able to chat all the way to the ship, about a 2 hour drive.

It was Africa we were driving through. Even though it was dark, "Africa is Africa". It doesn't really matter where you go on this HUGE continent, you know you are in Africa. A feeling that makes my heart flutter! Almost like arriving back in the arms of a loved one. I cannot describe what this continent has over me, but it does.

We drove past the stadium where the intake appointments will be made next week. It's a new stadium newly rebuilt with the funds of another country, China, I think, but could be wrong. The old stadium was a place of refuge for people during the 14-year civil war.

Reminders of the recently ended war could be seen, especially as we drove across the only remaining bridge. The lamp posts that line both sides of the bridge no longer provide light and it is a wonder how they are still standing. They are simply riddled with holes.

This bridge was a strong hold of the rebels. A lot of death took place on this bridge and it is a sobering moment as we drive across and try NOT to picture the horrific scenes that took place here and recent as four years ago.

As we approach the ship, my heart almost stands still. "Pinch me. This has to be a dream". But as I climb the gangplank it begins to sink in and my eyes fill with tears.

For all my co-workers, I know this last image of me is quite a shock since every time I spoke with one of you I appeared to have it all together!! Yeah, right!!!

Our travel day was not over yet. Although it was after 11:30pm, we still had registration 'stuff' we had to do. Deb showed me my new office and I kept talk with her until 2 in the morning. I felt bad that I had kept her awake so long, especially when she finally called me this morning at noon and had just woken up.

We spent today in the communications office and she was going over projects that I already had on my plate. I have my first edit due on Tuesday and a lot of shooting already scheduled. As usual, I am hitting the ground running.

It is 2 AM again and here I am writing my blog. I tried to go to bed early, due to exhaustion and a raging headache, but when I woke up, I could not get my mind off wanting to write my blog and let you all know I had arrived safely.

A couple of things I would ask you to keep in prayer:

  • Health. There is a lot to do and no time to be out of action.
  • Wisdom. Allow me to film those moments that will glorify God and reflect Jesus back to the people.
  • Patience. As all of you know, this is an area in my life where I need the most work. And as you all know, I am a bit of a perfectionist when it comes to my work and story telling. I need to allow myself to become adjusted to the new way of everything. With only four short weeks, I really need to relax and enjoy my time here.
  • The Patients!!! We only have one day where we will be assessing patients and scheduling them for surgery. The entire outreach calendar will be filled from this one day. The outreach ends November 30 so you can imagine how many people will be there for the initial review.
I am sure there are more prayer needs, but my energy is waining fast and I am going to hit the hay again.

Thank you so much for taking part in my journey. I cannot promise that my blogs will be short. Goodness, I only arrived and look how long this one turned out to be.

Please email me at my personal email address as I cannot currently access my work email address.



Anonymous said...

We are so excited that you are serving God in such a wonderful venue. Thank you for including us in your email. Please keep us posted on your prayer requests and travels. May you continue to serve God with your gifts and talents.
Love in Christ,
The Johnson's
John, Cheri, Sheridan, Max & Cati

Anonymous said...

Kim, All I can say is WOW! Thanks for letting us know that you arrived safely. I know that God is going to use you in a mighty way all for His glory! Faith in action is such a beautiful thing. I will continue to pray for you, the entire Mercy Ship team, and for those that will be cared for and be affected in such deep and profound ways. May the love of Christ shine brightly through each and everyone of the servants on the ship.
God's abundant blessings,