Thanks is an Understatement

Dear Family and Friends,

I want to thank you for your physical, financial, and spiritual support in my past three months of serving with Mercy Ships aboard the M/V Africa Mercy in Togo, West Africa and on the sail down to Durban, South Africa.  Without everything you guys have done, none of these adventures would have happened. 

I arrived in Lome (pronounced low-MEH), Togo on the first of June and was instantly surrounded, greeted and accepted as family aboard the Africa Mercy.  The friends I met while serving there are more than friends, but brothers and sisters, a family aboard the ship.  I could go on and on about the individual people that influenced my time aboard the ship, they each hold a special place in my heart. 

Picture thanks to Roses

In my three months of service, I was part of the Stewards Department, more specifically, part of the Dining Hall Crew.  Between setting up early and serving everyone food and the enormous amounts of cleaning and social interactions, being part of the Dining Hall team was difficult, but satisfying work.  There were times where I struggled to smile and be friendly to my fellow crew members and those working alongside of me, but through those struggles, I learned to rely on God’s strength and not my own.  I couldn’t have made it without him.

While it was difficult, one of the best parts about working in the dining hall was being able to greet and talk to every single crew member as they came through the serving lines.  I got to know all types of people from around the globe and from every walk of life.  I also got the privilege of working along side some amazing children of God.  The members of my team got the privilege of putting up with my early morning greetings and my abundance of energy.  I will never forget those that I served and served along side of.

Picture thanks to Roses

While most of my time and energy went into working in the dining hall, I did get the opportunity to depart the ship for short periods of time.  When I did leave the ship, most of the time, I headed into the heart of town and into the market.  It was here where we, the crew of the Africa Mercy, were constantly harassed by street vendors shoving their crafts into our faces and asking for ridiculous prices.  After my first experience in the market, where i shoved a guy for trying to drag me away from the rest of the group, the vendors and Rastafarians gave me the nick-name of “Body Guard” which they shouted every time they saw me.

I also got the opportunity to travel up to Kpalime (pronounced pal-eh-MEH) for a weekend with a small group of crew.  It was there that I sat for hours and watched the ‘djembe maker’ hack and carve out a drum from a log.  It was an amazing opportunity to watch this man work long hours and create his art.  It was extremely special in that I purchased one of the djembes that went through the transformation that weekend. 

In the last couple weeks of my stay with Mercy Ships, things got a little chaotic as the ship prepared for the sail down the coast of Africa, around the Cape of Good Hope and into Durban Harbor for repairs.  After saying sad good-byes to almost half the crew, we departed Togo and headed out to the open seas. 

As the Africa Mercy is a converted Danish Railway Ferry, its flat bottom design, high bouancy, and high center of gravity makes sailing in the open sea a little difficult.  While we rocked and rolled the whole trip, and at one point hit some huge swells, almost every single crew enjoyed the sail as much as I did.  We crossed through the Cape of Good Hope and the southern most tip of Africa on smooth seas and in fair weather. 

While the last bit of my stay was a little rough, the ships stay in Durban is highly needed.  As the Africa Mercy goes into dry-dock for hull repairs and new generators, many smaller projects on and aboard the ship will take place over the next four months.  While things still need to be worked out, I have learned from the crew of this amazing ship to place everything in the hands of God, he will provide for our every need and knows when to say no to our wants.

Picture thanks to Tom Bradley from http://www.tom-bradley.com

 
It was a blessing to serve aboard the M/V Africa Mercy for the past three months.  The lessons I learned while on ship will stay with me for the rest of my days; Lessons of love, community and trust.  I know i will always have a family away from home, through the crew of the Africa Mercy. 

Again, I thank each and every single person who made this opportunity come together.  Thank you for your constant support, whether it is/was financially, emotionally, physically, or spiritually.  It made this trip and adventure a journey of a lifetime.  Thank you for your constant prayers for strength and perseverance, patience and trust.

May God bless you for all your support in this venture!

God Bless and PEACE

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1 Comment »

  1. Marlene Said:

    It was a pleasure to serve with you although it was only for a few weeks. I enjoy reading your blog. I’m sure you have many more adventures ahead.


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