So we have survived our first year with Mercy Ships, living and working on a hospital ship in one of the poorest nations on earth, Sierra Leone. And what a year it has been! The highs, the lows, the tragedies, the triumphs, the tears, the tantrums, the laughs and THAT traffic!! We saw most of the "Big 5" in their natural habitat, we stood on the top of Table Mountain and visited Stonehenge. Andrew swam in great white shark infested waters, we ate goat, coconut, benny and groundnut cake, we made hundreds of friends, we said goodbye to dozens of them. We saw people released from the grip of pain and isolation, healed and whole.
We sailed over the Equator and watched pods of dolphins leap along the bow, we ate with the locals, cried with the locals, laughed with the locals and loved the locals. Jodie saw a deceased body and witnessed the worst in human desperation in a shocking crush of humanity. Jessica started to learn French and ballet and Andrew earned his qualifications as a Motorman. Jodie worked in the Boutique, the Dental Clinic, Human Resources and the Crew Clinic. Andrew earned the respect and friendship of the engineering day workers and preached the gospel to hundreds at the Jesus film.
We swam at postcard beaches, visited orphanages, went to African church and visited the wards and the Hope Centre. Jodie started puppet ministry and Jessica began youth. Jodie made 600 devilled eggs for the Easter brunch and Andrew fixed the motors on the rescue and work boats. We had fire drills, community meetings, birthday parties, Aussie nights, country briefings and dance parties.
We have seen more than we could have ever hoped or even wanted to, at times. In the past year we have been in South Africa, Sierra Leone, Gambia, Belgium, United Kingdom, Australia, Kuala Lumpur, The Ivory Coast and Togo. We are blessed beyond belief and we are right where God has placed us for "such a time as this".
Thank you to all our supporters, thank you to those who faithfully pray for us and encourage us and believe in us. Thank you for hanging in there-it's been a real journey!
The journey continues in Lome, Togo and we can say without any doubt, "I need Africa more than Africa needs me"............