Tuesday, November 27, 2018

Who you say I am

Sometimes I feel like I can see my life from almost an outsiders perspective. The few times this has happened it has a theme and I feel like it is a gift. Let me explain. Everywhere I go on the ship I hear Hillsong's "Who you say I am". It has so much truth! "In my father's house, there is a place for me. I am a child of God, Yes I am!!"

These words have echoed in my head for the last month. A month that consisted of hard meetings that have decided that we will go home after this field service. A month that many patients had complications and outcomes that are less than desirable. A month that had so much sickness in our family. Friends this has been a HARD month.

But it also has been a month of God reminding me that I am chosen and not forsaken. When things are hard I can remember who I am. Simultaneously my boys are obsessed with a Pete the cat song called " Just gotta be you". They listen to it a lot. Hearing them sing "You'll never be happy being somebody else no matter how hard you try. Walking around in another cats clothes will only make you cry. You just gotta be you!" Ezra likes to walk to school listening to this on my phone. One day he restarted the song and sang and danced his little heart out in front of his 3 classmates and teacher. I have never been prouder.

No matter if we are a patient with a tumor, a mom, or a child in school shouldn't we live in light of who He says I am and just gotta be you?

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Saturday, November 3, 2018

The Struggle

Our family recently struggled through another round of viruses. We are better now. Only Tytus is still struggling with a cough. His cold type virus aggravated his asthma. While moving his nebulizer the cord caught on a drawer handle and I dropped it. It was not repairable. We brought out our old nebulizer and borrowed a transformer to run it (it was 110v and the ships is 220-240v). After a week the transformer burned out. We were offered another one to use. It burned out in 10 minutes. At this point, it seemed as nothing could go right for the better part of a month.
BUT God is good, patients are being healed, and the Gospel is being shared.

Our small group (on the ship) is dwindling as more of our group has left. It's sad to see our long-term friends in Mercy Ships leave. And It can be hard to adjust to new people in a personal setting. We enjoy studying the scriptures together and how it effects (affects?) our prayer life and passion for other people.

Stephanie and I are also using our "Mark journals" sent to us from Summit (our home church). I love the format of having the scriptures/book of Mark as part of the journal. That way we have the "word" and the journal as one unit. You read the scriptures on one page and journal on the opposite page (no cell phone app needed). We also follow along with the Sermons through podcasts.

Tytus and Ezra both have "Sunday School" on the ship from 6pm to 7pm on Sunday night. There is also church service on board starting at 7pm. You can also attend churches locally. That is why our services are at night, so people can experience a local church. Although for local services you may need a translator AND be prepared to spend the majority of the day away from the ship. We aren't there yet with the boys. Church in a foreign country can be a long process. Sometimes full of uncertainties for small kids. Bring lots of snacks and be prepared for awkward and embarrassing moments with your kids. There is also Ward church held every Sunday down in the hospital for our patients and that is open to the crew.

The hospital has been busy. Sometimes all we have to do is look outside our Cabin window to feel joy. Right now the dock "waiting" area is a happy place. Full of kids playing and running all over the place and mama's running after them. They will receive life-changing surgeries. Some will be so young they won't even remember. But their families will.

Each new field service brings its own challenges and we are definitely feeling them and working through it! -- Please pray for our family, the hospital team, and our precious patients!

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Monday, September 3, 2018

Field Service & Family Life!

Mercy Ships is back in Guinea for their fourth visit! Early in the morning on the first day of screening, many people had already been in line for hours. Most are waiting to see a nurse and hopeful for a surgery that could change their lives forever. By the end of the day, volunteer nurses would evaluate over 6,000 people.

It takes many volunteers to make this happen(not just nurses). Crowd control, security, chaplaincy, offering water...feeding the crew.

Both of us have been to screenings in the past. It can be overwhelming. We have seen mothers lift their babies over their head and passed forward until they are at the front of the line. They fear their babies will not be seen! -- Sometimes the screening reveals issues we cannot help. Those are gently told "no" and offered counsel and prayer.

Sunday, August 19, 2018

I know a couple of things...(Stephanie)

Docking in Conakry Guinea
So, here’s the thing. This is our second field service on the Africa Mercy as a family and I feel like I know a couple things. I know what food to buy and freeze from Las Palmas to keep our family happy. And I know that I can not approach this new field service the same as last year.

While we were home I read Katie Major’s second book “Daring to Hope”. Her first book documented her life as she moved to Uganda, founded a ministry, and adopted 13 girls. I thought her second book would follow suit and document her falling in love and having a biological son. I read her book on the beach, in coffee shops, and lounging at book stores.

I was exhausted from the 10 month field service. I navigated parenthood amidst 450 people while being a contributing member to community, and overseeing the crainiofacial program. I left Cameroon depleted.

During my “me time” I sat in comfortable chairs as I dove into Katie’s book. I was thinking it would be a light and fluffy love story, I was very wrong! Instead I found myself weeping at the aforementioned beach, coffee shops, and book stores as I read an authentic story of how to find hope when life is hard.

Tuesday, July 24, 2018

Back On Board! Shipyard.

Back on board! We have been back on board for awhile now. If your wondering how it is during *shipyard, well, its a contrast!

On one hand we are in a shipyard where all that is going on is hard work. It's not like a nice port downtown or dock by the beach. Dirty filthy work going on everywhere. Work that needs doing.

But on the other hand we are in Las Palmas in the Canary Islands. And it's beautiful!

Shipyard is full of challenges and projects that need to get done. We have had no AC for a few weeks and maybe not for a few more. We have had scheduled times of...

Sunday, June 10, 2018

Sharing the Good News!

By the time you read this, we will be in Huntsville Alabama. We spent some "down time" with family in Florida before returning to my (Tyrone) hometown in Alabama. The boys had a special treat from Grandma and Grandpa. Tytus and Ezra went to Lego Land! (We stayed behind to rest!)

During our time in Alabama, we will be sharing with friends and family about our work on the Africa Mercy. We appreciate all of you and wish we could visit with everyone across the globe!

WOW! How do we share a year of family life in 20, 40, or 60 minutes? It seems an overwhelming task. But we are excited to bring the stories, events, and lives that you have been a part of!

For those of you who are on Facebook and/or want to hear more frequently about the work that is being done, join our facebook page... https://www.facebook.com/BartonsOnBoard/
Please, like and share the page, or any of the posts. It's public.

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.”

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