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"!