Mercy Ships

Mercy Ships
The largest NGO hospital ship in the world providing free medical care to the forgotten poor

Sunday, March 15, 2015

PI Extravaganza!

Here it is...what you've been waiting for. The results of my pi day fundraiser. I was able to recite 330 digits of pi from memory.  Wonder what that looks like? Here they are:


And here is the video.  My friend Bits, graciously volunteered her birthday party to be a joint fund-raising party for me. So here I am, reciting 330 digits of pi to a room full of 25 people! It's way harder that way than in my house by myself.  Apologies for the slight technical issue, we lost a small chunk near the end, due to iphone video recording space issues, but know that I really did get them all. (I did make 2 errors, so we may want to only officially count 328 digits!)

Thank you so much to everyone who participated, whether by pledging some amount per digit, helping me practice, coming up with the idea in the first place (Sharon and Bits), or by being a supportive audience.  I really enjoyed using my quirky talent in this fun way to raise money for a great cause.

Friday, March 6, 2015

Wednesday, March 4, 2015


“He who loves a hundred has a hundred woes. He who loves ten has ten woes.  He who loves none has no woes,” says Buddha, and therefore in place of love Buddha enjoins his followers to a kind of impersonal and invulnerable benevolence. But the God who is in Jesus loves no matter what the cost because that is the innermost secret of his nature, and he enjoins all men to do likewise because it is also the innermost secret of theirs. Buddhism and Christianity agree that to love is to suffer, because wherever the ones we love suffer, our love suffers with them and for them; but whereas Buddhism says that this suffering is above all things to be avoided, Christianity says that it is above all things to be embraced, because it is by suffering in love for one another that we can help work each other’s redemption and our own too, thus participating in the redemptive activity of God himself.

                              -Frederick Buechner

I think my greatest fear is loneliness. Which is why the work of Mercy Ships is so compelling to me.  For most patients the hospital ship serves, surgery provides more than physical healing.  In parts of the world where disease is often attributed to evil curses, people with deformities such as tumors, cleft lips, and bowed legs may be kicked out of their homes or ridiculed by their entire community. I’ve heard stories from the ship of people who have to scavenge for food at night, because they cannot even go to the market because of how neighbors will mistreat them. Receiving proper medical treatment means a person can be integrated into his community again; it means she will be seen. Seen as a person. And I hope it means he knows he is loved by the God of the universe; I hope she knows God sent a big white boat with hundreds of volunteers across the globe just for her.

Someone recently asked me what I am most excited about.  It’s this. To participate in the suffering of the poor in a way that brings about both their healing and my own.  I’m not just joining Mercy Ships because it is a noble cause (although it is), or because I believe God called me to it (although He probably did), but because I believe what Buechner said.  That finding wholeness is wrapped up in working towards healing and justice for others. I am afraid of being lonely.  And so I can think of no better choice for my life than to participate in work that relieves the suffering of some of the most lonely people on earth. 

The photos featured in this post are some of the beautiful people who have been treated on the Africa Mercy. Photos are courtesy of the ship’s communication team. 



Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Pi Day Fundraiser

As you may know, pi day (March 14) is fast approaching. This year's day will be epic for 2 reasons.

  1. It is the year 2015 making the date 3/14/15 which are the first 5 digits of pi.
  2. I will be reciting the digits of pi from memory as a fundraiser.  My friend, Bits, has graciously offered her home (and her birthday party!) as an opportunity for the recitation!  We will be filming and posting the event online.  If you would like to participate in the fundraiser, you can pledge a small amount per digit.  My goal is to get to at least 250 digits. 
This was not my idea, by the way. My friends came up with this crazy idea.  They know me well; some people run marathons, but I prefer the more brainy side of life. Who knew my weird talent of memorizing long strings of numbers would be put to use!  If you want to pledge, you can sign up here.