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 the 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!!!

My crainiofacial patients had lots of complications. Their road to recovery has been hard. Four of my five patients have struggled to heal. But you know what? OUR God finishes the good work he starts and we will see complete healing.

In our family we have also had huge struggles as well. The biggest struggle has been with our five
year old Ezra.

At the beginning of the school year we decided he needed to be tested. I clearly heard from the Lord that it was going to be fine. I wish I could tell you that for the last 5 months I did not worry, stress, and cry over our future here, but that would be a lie. I listened to noise around me instead of remembering His promises and it was so painful.

This week we scheduled appointments for when we are home during the summer. Not only were we able to get all the appointments that we needed (during a small window of time), the services were offered free of charge!

I was told "God is at work!" Yep! He sure is! He is at work in this place both in our hospital and in our little cabin. ~ Stephanie

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?

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!

Wow! Christmas is almost here AND a New Year will begin soon!

The first six months of adjusting and settling in has been the focus of what we have shared with you so far. This coming year we will include sharing more of the work Mercy Ships does.

There are MANY things the Africa Mercy does once we are in port for field service. Trying to share them all is like information overload! And of course there is the issue of patient confidentiality and responsible use of social media.

Here is a link to the August 16th to December 16th Report! (PDF form) It shows you what Mercy Ships has achieved so far this field service. Mercy Ships - Africa Mercy Statistics 16 August thru 16 December

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.

This phase in life is hard! We are tired and I needed so much to be reminded that He holds our tomorrows. In my "mom's" bible study we are working thru James. This week we talked about how it says that our life is but a vapor. I have really thought about this because our vapor right now is HARD and it feels like it will last for-ev-er. But if I believe his word and his promises it will pass so quickly. So for now, I will "lean hard in the everlasting arms". -- Stephanie

Friday, November 3, 2017

Time Keeps Ticking

Time is a funny thing on the ship. I have come to realize that time is not my own, even more so than off the ship. Community life makes that very clear. Simple tasks like doing laundry can take much longer than normal. You may see a friend that needs you to listen to them. Or a new person that needs to be shown how to use the ships laundry machines. Tyrone laughs at me when I say " I'll be right back." We both know that's highly unlikely. Time seems to both fly by, and creep, on the ship. My days on the ship are packed between kids, work, quiet time, exercise, cleaning, and relationships. The days are quick but I find myself thinking it feels like we have been here much longer than 3 months.

My time on the ward is sweet. Some days are full and others I leave early. It depends on if the nurses need any help with complicated dressings, lab draws, or other tasks. Some days I spend tidying up the ICU or spending time with the patients playing games or cuddling a baby.

Saturday, October 7, 2017

Just Pack Lunches - Mom's Point of View #2

My how things can change in a few weeks! The boys have settled into a routine at school and in ship life in general. They are learning to navigate friendships on board like little pros. It is very different on board than at home. Almost every day they are asked to play at someone else's cabin. Often they get more than one offer. They are cool kids!!

The boys have a couple of options of where to play on board. They like to play outside on deck 7 on the swings. Deck 8 has a larger open area they can ride bikes in circles and a small climbing structure. And up one more flight of stairs is a pool. We usually take them up to get their energy out after dinner and there is usually a bunch of kids up there.