The year is almost at a close and I am amazed at where the Lord has taken me. From Texas in January to Douala in December I am increasingly surprised at the Lord’s prevision. This year has been a roller coaster of emotions and experiences. If I had to pick a word that describes my year it would have to be the word change. There is a saying on the ship, “The only constant on the ship is change.” Some changes were harder then others, but in change brings an opportunity to grow.
January thru March was an extreme amount of transition. I moved back home, sold lots of personal items, said good-bye to lots of friends, left for on-boarding, and then left for the ship. I was dealing with a lot of unknowns at that time. What would the ship be like? Would I make friends? What was I doing? So many questions with very few answers. I was sure it was going to be an adventure that I would not regret, but so uncertain about what the Lord was going to do at that time.
April thru June was a time of adventure. I made a great group of friends and we did some amazing things. We went to Togo and Ghana. In Ghana we got to do a canopy walk which was beautiful. On this trip I took my first motorcycle taxi and LOVED it. We ate good food and explored. In June I experienced my first sail on the ship. Sailing has quickly became one of my favorite experiences. Though I still haven’t seen anything other flying fish. I think I may just have bad luck. Once we got to Las Palmas we got to explore the Island. Renting cars and driving to small towns and listening to music are some of my best memories. I said good-bye to a lot of friends at this time and started to make some new ones.
July thru September was a time of preparation. I got to spend a week with Veronica in the U.K. It was relaxing and calm, which is just what I needed right before a new field service. It was also cold and raining. I miss the cold weather. We had a second sail. I learned how to use a map at sea and again saw only flying fish in the water. We celebrated Daniela’s birthday. We celebrated my birthday with Peruvian food. It was so yummy. Thank you Anita for introducing me to such wonderful food. The field service in Cameroon started and a whole new team of receptionist joined the ship. The team is so diverse this field service and I love it. It has been so fun to get to know all of them. I’ve enjoyed exploring Douala and seeing a new culture. The first patience came on board at this time and I got to see people leave the ship transformed.
October thru December has been a crazy busy time. We are in full swing with surgeries and the other projects that we have going on in Cameroon. One of my favorite moments is seeing patients walk through reception before and after their surgeries. The reception team is starting to feel like a team again. It takes a bit longer with our department because receptionist are never on the desk together. A couple of friends and I were able to take a trip to Kribi and have a relaxing weekend by the beach. Christmas is only a couple of weeks away and it is a bit strange to think about. Christmas decorations have been going up all over the ship. We decorated the Purser’s door with the Grinch and receptionist elves. I had my first Thanksgiving away from home and Christmas will be the same. There are a lot of activities on board and many crew members say Christmas is their favorite time on the ship. I miss my family, but am looking forward to experiencing Christmas in a different culture.
I am looking forward to next year. I will be home in February for a visit. I am hoping that 2018 brings continued provision for the ship. That the Lord makes his presence know to the crew and that the crew would draw close to the Lord. Thank you for your continued prayer for the crew and patients, it makes a difference.