If I were to look back on my life one year ago and ask myself “what does the next year of my life look like?” My answer may have been something like “buy a house”, “get married”, or even maybe “build a custom mountain sled!”

Well I have not done any of the above mentioned things! Two or maybe even all three of MY ideas may have rolled through this head of mine a time or two. But as sit I and think about this, it is apparent to me that those were not God’s plans for my next year of life. And to be honest with you, I am just fine with that. It reminds me of one of my favorite verses,

Jeremiah 29:11-  For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.

I love that verse because it reminds me that God is faithful to us even when we may not fully understand what is going on at a certain time in our life. He knows and is looking out for us.

“West Africa… serving… hospital ship…” Three things that I am positive never entered my mind when I was thinking about the next year of my life. Traveling to Africa has never been on my to do list and in terms of me being on a ship… I’m a prairie boy and the closest thing I have experienced to a real ship is, as my niece and nephew put it, “Bumpa’s ship” also know as my dad’s boat (a 36 foot cabin cruiser)! To think that I would be helping the poor in West Africa and enjoying it by being able to use the very skill set God has given me! God has blessed me so much this last year. I have just past the six month mark… WOW thats a long time. But It has flown by. I have had so many new and exciting experiences both here in West Africa and at home before I left. I have met a lot of the coolest and funnest people from all over this little speck in the galaxy we call earth. Through all of this God has been teaching me to trust him with everything, every day! I have been really challenged lately to “Love my neighbor as myself” what does that look like for me. I often have to step out of comfort zone and be friendly to those around me even if I don’t know them or they are of another culture or I just don’t feel like talking. This is not always easy for me. I am a task oriented person and I often have found myself not engaging in conversation but instead focusing on the job as opposed to the person. But thankfully for me I get to work along side West African’s and I am learning (slowly) to be more personal. There is seldom a job or task that is an emergency. And by taking a few minutes to show them love by talking or even just listening to them is totally worth it to me.

I will go “on the record” to say; I have had the best year of my life and I look forward to the years getting better and better.

God bless

Tim <>(