Sunday, April 22, 2018

The Ship is in a Time of Transition

Mount Cameroon in the background!
The ship is in a time of transition as the end of this field services is coming. The energy has changed from being full steam ahead to wrapping things up. We have 4 weeks of surgery, 5 weeks of the hospital being open, and 6 weeks until the ship leaves Douala. And then we (The Barton family) board a plane to the US for a time of restoration. It feels weird. My patient, Adama, still has a lot of healing to do in 5 weeks but our family is also very ready for a break!

The hospital is still going strong. Every day around 10:00 a.m. the day-crew chaplaincy team comes thru the ward. They specifically come to share a “Simply the Story” (oral storytelling method that involves interaction and participation) Bible story in French. 

Our patients hear the gospel every day. Their journeys really are about physical and spiritual healing. One of the things I like to do is watch as the brand new nurses experience this for the first time. As the patients hear the gospel, then sing and dance to the very loud drums, the nurse's eyes fill up with tears and I can almost see a thought bubble appear that says “This is why I am here.”
Tytus ready for a soccer tournament with local kids.
Ezra striking superhero poses as the sun goes down on deck 8

The boys have been very busy as the school year is coming to an end. Tytus has gone on field trips to:
  • the agriculture site (where our crew teaches people how to grow healthy food), 
  • the hope center (where our patients live after they leave the hospital but still need follow-up care),
  • a local orphanage (where the students did skits, sang songs, and did crafts with the children). 
Both of the boys were in the Easter play and had their artwork displayed afterward. The academy did such a great job. I am continually impressed how they do such great things with so little resources.

We are loving our small group that we have been apart of all field service. We just finished a great study on Genesis and now we are looking at the promises of God and how they relate to us.

Tyrone’s teams in the Dining room and galley have worked so hard this year. To show our love and appreciation we took all 36 of them (day crew and ship crew) to a local restaurant for dinner. It was so fun to be altogether celebrating their hard work!! It could have been a disaster trying to feed such a large group in West Africa but with some planning, it worked out great!! 

This weekend the ship participated in an online women’s retreat called Velvet Ashes. It is specifically for missionary women. It was so good for me to take time to reflect and ponder on all this year has brought. They lead us thru times of scripture reading, journaling, and silence. It was a sweet time for me to listen to the Lord as He reminded me that even though this year has been so hard he has used our family in mighty ways, most that we will never know. ~ Stephanie

Thank you, everyone! Your encouragement, prayers, financial gifts...we appreciate you greatly! What a partnership this is! You are positively affecting peoples lives every day with both physical and spiritual healing! The Gospel.

[We have about 6 more weeks here and then we will be home to connect with friends and family during June.We will spend time hanging out and sharing with y'all when we return to the Huntsville/Madison area... Then we will return to the ship in July. At which time we will be preparing for our next field service, Conakry Guinea. West Africa. So please continue to pray for us as we move through these changes. Hope to see you at "Home"!]

PS If you received an email about downloading a free book (pdf version) from us, it's not a hoax or gimmick. Mercy Ships has allowed me to use the pdf version of Ships of Mercy (how Mercy Ships got started) to give away FREE to our partners! It's a short read, 200 plus pages. I think you will enjoy it! Click HERE to download your free copy of "Ships of Mercy"! 

Sunday, March 11, 2018

Birthdays on The Ship!

One week has passed and I think I have finally recovered from Tytus’ Birthday party. It was the first kids birthday party I had to plan and I wish someone had warned me. Birthdays are a BIG deal here.

Tytus’ actual birthday was on Friday, March 2nd. He received little gifts throughout the day. Our door decorated with balloons and banners. Mr. Fred bought him a Fanta (orange soda) at the cafe. Twice serenaded with the "Happy Birthday" song. Once by Tyrone’s
dining room and galley team, and once by the crew after ringing the Birthday bell. It was so fun to see my son so celebrated he soaked it up! His sweet self loved it so much.

Sunday, February 11, 2018

I was told "God is at work!"

Stephanie & Julienne
I find myself thinking frequently about you, our supporters, our friends and family. I sincerely want you to feel a part of this great thing we are doing here in Cameroon.

I want you to know... 
  • Your prayers and financial support is the reason why people are being healed from the inside and out. 
  • Our patients come in broken. The love poured over them and the gospel they hear is as much a part of their healing process as surgery. 
  • Before and after pictures remind me this ship that brings free, safe surgery is a weird and wonderful place to do life and raise our kids!
I also want you to know that the last 6 months have been full of challenges. Let's be honest, it has been rough!!!

Sunday, January 14, 2018

Giving Blood, Sweat, & Tears at Work!

When someone uses the term "Blood, Sweat, & Tears" we get the idea of hard work. For sure, if you work in Food Service you are WORKING HARD! I guarantee it. You will sweat, at least at some point. Tears? There are pounds/kilograms of onions to peel and prepare each day. Blood? Hopefully not! Unless you have agreed to be part of the ships blood bank for patients. Then I most definitely hope you get to give blood!

Mercy Ships has a unique blood donation system. They only use whole blood that contains plasma because they can’t separate it on the ship. The crew on-board the ship are literally a “walking blood bank” because there is no means of storing blood past 72 hours here on the vessel.

On the Africa Mercy they test every donor’s blood before the need arises. This allows the lab to call crew members immediately to start the process of donating blood.

Sunday, January 7, 2018

Did you know what Encephalocele is?

Victory
If you have ever heard about the amazing work that Mercy ships does you have heard about facial tumors, cleft lips & palates, plastic surgery for burn patients, obstetric fistulas, and eye surgeries to name a few. Mercy ships does a lot of things but did you know we do crainiotomies? No? Me neither until serving on board in 2008. 

These patients are not the ones on the Mercy Ships commercials or websites. So most of the nurses that come are quite surprised to hear that we do crainiofacial surgery.

Friday, December 22, 2017

Merry Christmas!


This year, you changed lives. Thank you for partnering with us and leaving a lasting impact!

Saturday, December 2, 2017

Who Holds Tomorrow?

Sometimes I think the reason I can't remember where I put things or remember any of my passwords is because my brain is full of song lyrics. Some days I can come up with a song for nearly every sentence I hear. The funny thing is I can't carry a tune to save my life! So I try to keep this hidden talent to myself except to the ones that love me despite my terrible voice.

Yesterday I was listening to music while I ran and it really resonated with me. All the songs were about how we may not know what tomorrow holds but we know who holds tomorrow. Song after song spoke to my heart and encouraged me to my core.