Well my original commitment to Mercy Ships of four months came to an end last month. My commitment was from Nov. 9th 2011 until March 9th  2012. The time has flown by so fast. It seems like just last week I was walking into an African airport for the first time. Then embarking onto this huge white ship parked at the end of dirty port pier in Sierra Leone.  What a life changing experience to be able to be part of such a great organization. The work we are doing and will continue to do is life changing not only for me but also for the lives of those people we help.  The need in Africa is so huge and we can only help a small amount of people. But it reminds me of a story I once heard.

A man was standing on a beach watching a young girl throwing starfish back into the ocean at low tide. He shook his head in disgust because there were millions of starfish up on the sandy beach.  The man walked over to the girl who was still throwing starfish back into the water one-by-one. He asked her why she was throwing them back into the water and she replied, that the starfish would die if they didn’t get help. She was just trying to help. The man looked up and down the beach and told her that it didn’t matter because she could never help them all. The girl bent down and picked up one of the helpless creatures and then tossed it into the ocean. Then she looked up at the man and said, “It mattered to that one!”

I love this story because it reminds me that we are making a difference one surgery at a time. Each person we help was created by God and has a story to tell. I love walking down the hospital halls when they are bringing new patients into the ward for surgery.  Often times I will see men and women and children with facial tumors. These people have lived secluded, outcast lives. In some cases their own families have turned their backs on them.  For some of these people, they can only come out of their homes at night because the humiliation of being seen in public is too much.  Often the look I see on their faces is usually a look of shame. I smile at them because I know that they are Gods Creation and are only days or even hours away from having a life changing surgery performed in one of our six operating theaters. Then the best part, I see a person walking down the hall with their face and head all bandaged up.  As I meet them in the hall and smile at them there faces light up because they have had these tumors removed.  “The chains have been removed” “A huge weight has been lifted.”  Even though I don’t speak their language, I can read their body language. Mercy Ships Brings healing by offering its services to those who wouldn’t be able to get help. But also for a lot of the patients it brings hope. As people are recovering in our hospital they get to hear about the love of God. They have experienced this love firsthand.  Many of the patients come to know the lord through our nurses and ward chaplaincy department.

I am so blessed to be able to be part of this amazing ministry. I feel that God has called me here to serve for this time in my life. I have really enjoyed the experience it has not always been easy but I know God led me here so that was enough to get me through the low spots. I have been able to bless the people of Africa by using the gifts and abilities that God has blessed me with. Through much prayer and seeking I really feel that God is leading me to continue on with Mercy Ships. I have applied to Human Resources and they have gladly extended my stay. HR on the ship has a hard time finding people who both enjoy the close community and are good at what they do. I have been told so many times that I am a great complement to the ship. Extending my stay has been on my mind for quite some time. This was not an easy decision to make. Even though I had thoughts of extending my stay as early on as two weeks into my stay. I have extended until mid august 2012. This will allow me to be able to finish this field service in Togo. Then sail with the ship to a shipyard in Tenerife and be able to be involved in some of the major work that the ship will undergo while it is out of the water for repairs.

I have really appreciated all the prayers and comments you all have shared with me. It is really encouraging to read comments from friends and family. I do enjoy reading what is happening in your lives. It’s always nice to get an email or facebook messsage from someone who I haven’t talked to in a while. I really never considered myself a missionary but it has occurred to me, in the last few days, that that’s exactly what I am right now and will be for the next 4 months. It sounds strange to say that I am a missionary. But I guess a missionary is a person who uses their god given gifts and abilities to serve others. Any one who knows me knows that I love serving others. I love being a blessing to others by serving them. God is doing amazing work in West Africa.

If you are interested in partnering with me, please email me at timabramoff@hotmail.com

God Bless

Tim Abramoff