This is a blog I wrote the last week I was in Africa. I just found it and figured I would share it with you. Just to reference this post I have been back in Canada for about eighteen months now. I can honestly say, in the eighteen months I have been back I haven’t gone a day without thinking about the ship and/or its crew. The memories are both good and bad. But the most memorable ones far out weight the bad ones.

The Africa Mercy is a big part of my life and helps make up who I am. I am thankful to God for the amazing adventure he lead me on. I am blessed to have had the opportunity to be the hands and feet of Christ. So with no further delay here is my last blog entry from while I was still on the ship in Guinea.

Sept 2012

The M/V Africa Mercy what is it?

Prior to 1999 it was a Danish rail ferry named the Dronning Ingrid. As it is now, some see it as a big white ship tied to dirty, crowded and stinky pier in a West African country. To others, it is a specialized surgical hospital that, almost exclusively, uses very talented volunteers to bring hope and healing to West Africa countries by offering free of charge surgery to some of the world poorest people. To me, the Africa Mercy has been home. I have spent the last ten months living in an environment that can only summed up in one word, that word is “community”, a unified body of individuals with a common goal. Yes living in a tight community such as this is not always easy. Sharing one bathroom between six cabin mates is not always easy. Not to mention the continual turnover of volunteers. In the last 10 months there have been sixteen different and unique guys, not including myself, from more than seven countries in cabin 3428. The ship sees more than a thousand volunteers come and go in a single year. This makes it not easy saying goodbye to the many friends I have met and done life with. Those friends, some of which, I will never see again have made this chapter of my life truly unforgettable. Standing in line for line for up to twenty minutes to get your food is not always easy but I have definitely learned patience. Working in very hot and humid conditions has taught me to slow down. In the past I have often worked many hours with out drinking water or taking a break. Well now a little alarm goes off in my head that alarm shows itself in the form of dizziness and it lets me know that it’s time to stop and take a break. Unfortunately this has been a common occurrence. I think in the last ten months I have drank more water than I have drank in my whole life… well that may be an exaggeration, but I know on some hot days I have consumed 5-7 liters of H2O. Speaking of water; having a two minute shower ship was a big change but now I am down to less than 45 seconds of water running if I want. The two minute ship shower is mandatory due to the fact that we have a limited supply of water on board. Not a having a lot of personal space is also difficult. I have had to come up with creative ways to overcome it. Sometimes a set of ear buds jammed in my ears blasting worship music loud enough to drown out the noise of a deafening marine generator is the only “quite” place I can find. Working in a cross cultural environment with more than 30 nationalities has taught me to have patience and to really listen to what someone is saying and try to understand what they are talking about before I open my mouth and make a fool of myself. Living in a community that follows the model of Jesus has been very encouraging. I have spent a lot of time worshiping with these brothers and sister mine. A highlight for me was worshiping on the bow on the sail over from the Canary islands to Guinea. It was beautiful to be able to be out in the middle of the ocean that God created just singing and praising his holy name. There are so many stories I have that I cannot truly expressed via a blog.
All this to say I have less than a week left on board before I return to my “other” home in Canada. I have had one of the best years of my life. And I will truly miss every part of this amazing adventure. It is sad to say goodbye to all the friends I leave behind but I know one thing is for sure, I will see you all again whether it be in this life or the next, and I look forward to that. Africa you have given me so much to think about and be thankful for. I have learned so much , and I hope to someday return to this place. I don’t know when that day will be but I look forward to it and pray that God will continue to bless all that is going on both on the ship and off.

I leave you all with a favorite verse of mine. This Verse has been there for me a time or two.

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.

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