Mercy Ships

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

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Onboarding Begins!

It's only a few days into training, but I am so glad to be here.  I chose Mercy Ships because I liked their mission and values and the more I learn about the organization, the more I appreciate what they are doing and how they do it.  I've been most impressed with how much training and capacity building they do in country.  In addition to mentoring and training local medical personnel, they also focus on agriculture and nutrition.

Our Training Center

I live in a dorm and have 2 roommates. Everyone here is incredibly kind and friendly. It's kind of like college except that the age range is from 3 to 70!  I really like living in a community of such diverse ages.  We have folks from all over the US plus Australia, New Zealand, England, Netherlands, South Africa, and Peru.  When I went to college, I had a great experience, but I missed out on some things because I was so shy.  Living here is a second chance to practice being more myself in social situations - more friendly, more silly, more engaged in people's lives...

The campus is beautiful.  It has about 8-10 buildings and a working farm.  All the profit from the farm goes into the ministry of Mercy Ships. There is also some forest area and hiking trails.  For me, this is a welcome break from living in the city. Being so close to nature is good for my soul.

Our days in training are very long. We are in class from 8 to 5 and sometimes have an evening activity.  When we are not in class, it is easy to find people to play games, throw the frisbee around, play ping pong, etc.  Or we just sit around in the dorm lounge and read or do our assignments for class.

My puzzle friends: Saulo from Peru, Dominik from Switzerland, Ivanna from New York, and Lindsey from Australia

Friday, June 5, 2015

Big Day!

I woke up at 5:30 am today even though I don't have to leave until 1 pm.  Nerves? Excitement? All of the above and more.
These last two weeks have been very eventful! In addition to finishing up the school year, having another garage sale and packing up everything I own, there was the massive flooding throughout the city. The entire city shut down on the Tuesday after Memorial Day.  The water in our neighborhood came over the curb and up the driveway, but fortunately our house was not flooded.

On a more positive note, my sister's novel appeared in in bookstores on June 2! To me, my sister is a model of perseverance and staying the course to follow your dreams.  After 10 years of writing and a long process of querying agents and publishers, she now has a book published with a contract for 4 more on the way!  I am so proud of her! (And the book is amazing: Nova by Margaret Fortune. Check it out!)

The last couple days have been a blur of last minute errands, farewell lunches, and the last 10% of packing (which of course takes longer than the first 90%).  When I first realized I would be leaving Houston a less than a week after the end of the school year, I thought I could never be ready.  But I am.  (At least as ready as I'm going to be).  I could not have done it without the help of many friends.

  • Rebecca - Thank you for flying across the country to see me before I go and for your invaluable assistance helping me get rid of stuff.  Thanks for teasing me about the ridiculous things I have saved and helping me let go.  
  • Bits - You have been my #1 supporter and fan through all of this.  Thank you for changing your plans to be there for my garage sale, turning your birthday party into a fund-raiser for me, planning opportunities for me to share about Mercy Ships, and for being a totally awesome friend.
  • Beka - You're the best roommate ever.  You've been by my side for the last 9 years, through all the ups and downs. Thanks for all the ways, big and small, that you helped me get ready for Mercy Ships. But most of all, thanks for knowing me and loving me despite all my foibles.
  • Sarah, Julie, David & Brinn, BJ, Anastasia, Jacob, Laura - Thank you for your heartfelt support that has come in so many forms.  I am so grateful for each of you.
  • All the people at Mercy Ships who haven't met me but have been praying for my transition and arrival - thank you. 
Good-bye Houston! Stay tuned; now things are going to start getting interesting!