We are friends with a couple, about our age and also with two young children, who are missionaries on the African Mercy - a ginormous ship (almost the length of two football fields) that has been retrofitted to be the world's largest non-governmental hospital ship. Currently it's docked in Benin (in West Africa). It has six state-of-the-art operating theaters on board, and performs over 7,000 surgeries each year!
Our friends took advantage of the summer holidays (the wife teaches the missionary children that are on board) to fly home and visit family and friends. I'm sure that 6 weeks every 2 years isn't nearly enough time for them to catch up, and fit in all the "American" experiences they'd like their kids to have - like camping - and to build memories with their extended family. But, they're gracious enough to take what they can get, and flexible enough to squeeze lots of experiences into such a short time!
They've already been "home" (or does the ship feel more like home already? hmmm. I wonder?) over a month, and just last night we finally got a chance to connect with them for the first time. They cleared their schedules and came to small group - that's where we first met them. It was sooooooo good to see their smiling faces, and hear his funny quips as we talked about last night's topic (true humility and the sometimes perceived arrogance of real spiritual discernment - and how the two interplay - very interesting discussion!).
In true "African custom" (I know - it's a continent, not a country, and stereotypes of the continent as a whole are very irritating!), they brought gifts! They found the little drum at a market in Benin. The workmanship is quite beautiful, and it's sturdy enough to survive young children (an added bonus!)! The photo doesn't do it justice - the white parts are carved out. It will fit beautifully with the other African (technically Zambian) sculptures that already adorn my living room. Thank you, dear friends, for the beautiful gift!
If you're looking for a much needed, and much appreciated place to send some of your tax-deductible donations / tithe, I'm sure they'd be grateful. You can find more information about the African Mercy HERE. I remember as a child my mother taking me to view one of the Mercy Ships, when it was docked here in the States. I never dreamed that when I grew up, I'd be friends with a family who not only are raising their two children on one of the ships, but also met on one of the ships (The Caribbean Mercy) almost 10 years ago!
Charles & Shelly - it was wonderful to see you last night and have a chance to reconnect a bit again. Your children are growing beautifully! We wish you only blessings as you prepare to return to the African Mercy soon. You'll be in our daily prayers as you continue to fulfill the call you have so willingly answered.
#55 - Get me off this mountain
8 years ago