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.»

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

"Keep your hands and feet inside the car"

The ship is getting geared up for next week. Departments are starting to buzz with energy with the anticipation of receiving patients. As for me, I am simply trying to keep my excitement in check. I have no idea of what to expect. Am I prepared for what I am going to see, hear, smell and experience? I would like to think I am, but I have a strong suspicion that I am not.

Medical personnel had an open house down on the ward. Like most medical people, they had a lot of fun showing non-medical crew their work place. The following are some photos of that night.

A crew member has her artery checked with the ultra-sound machine. Results: her arteries looked good.

The following two photos are crew members trying their hands at suturing.

Danielle (far right) is my room-mate.

These are x-rays of a real patient treated on the ship. The name of the patient remained anonymous.

Balloon animals were also on the ward.

Putting in a breathing tube.

The kids of crew members were welcome to try things.

Facial tumors make up a large number of the surgeries done on the ship. Here Debra (R) doesn't do such a good job making sure the patient has enough oxygen.

Even with the blunder, the patient's tumor was removed.
Even Donkey got in on the fun.

Liberian Sunset.

Okay, now that I have entertained you with photos, let me tell you a bit of what is happening right now. Not on the ship, but in my head. Scary thought, huh?

I'm sure you have read the following story, but please take the time and read it all the way through before continuing with my writing.

The Starfish Story
Original Story by: Loren Eisley

One day a man was walking along the beach when he noticed a boy picking something up and gently throwing it into the ocean. Approaching the boy, he asked, "What are you doing?"

The boy replied, "Throwing starfish back into the ocean. The surf is up and the tide is going out. If I don't throw them back, they'll die."

"Son," the man said, "don't you realize there are miles and miles of beach and hundreds of starfish? You can't make a difference!"

After listening politely, the boy bent down, picked up another starfish, and threw it back into the surf.

Then smiling at the man, he said..."I made a difference for that one."

A lot of the crew from M/V Africa Mercy will be walking on the beach next week. There will be THOUSANDS of people before us, stranded in a sorrowful life; living as outcasts, left alone to fend for themselves. Some are very close to death. They cannot save themselves. The water is out of reach for them.

One of the things I am shielded from in my job is that I will not be making the medical decisions as to who will be brought to the water and given the opportunity to live again. I am very thankful for that. At the same moment I am very thankful that I will have the opportunity to record what takes place during these moment.

There are thousands of people in Liberia who need someone to come along the beach and throw them back into the life giving water. The medical staff do not only perform physical transformations, but the Gospel is given to them as well. They receive the love of Christ and for many, for the first time in their lives someone else was willingly gave sacrificially for them. This opens their hearts to know that Jesus sacrificed the ultimate for them, He died and rose again to restore each of us back to the Father.

I am sitting in the front car of a roller coaster that is about to start the climb up the first big hill. Next week is when the ride starts. I am filled with both excitement and butterflies. You are about to take the journey with me. All I can say is "Hold on". I am praying that not only are the patients going to be changed, but you and I will be changed as well.

I appreciate each and every one of you. Your words of encouragement have touched me over these past couple of days. Thank you.