We are a family of three; Andrew, Jodie and Jessica (aged 18) from Tasmania, Australia who are currently serving in Douala, Cameroon, Central Africa on the M/V Africa Mercy, the largest non-governmental hospital ship in the world, through Mercy Ships International. God has called us on a journey that has been many years in the making. For this season we call Africa home, as we seek to bring hope and healing to the poorest of the poor.

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Sunday, July 22, 2012

Au Revoir!

Here we stand on deck seven of the Africa Mercy upon completion of our second field service with Mercy Ships; this time in the nation of Togo in it's capital Lome. Leaving a host nation brings with it mixed feelings of sadness and excitement. After so many months in port the crew, a big bunch of adventurers really, are ready to tackle the next country with gusto. Ready to make new friends, have new experiences, eat new foods, see new places and bring hope and healing to thousands more in the name of Jesus!

While we were sad to leave yet another country that has left an imprint on our heart we were excited to be heading to the Canary Islands, Spain. Visions of McDonald's and Ikea danced in our heads, fresh stone fruits, new clothes and tapas enticed, decreased humidity, beautiful scenery and ice cream flavours drew us!

The gangway is lifted high into the air up to it's resting place on deck 8.

The dedicated deckies man the lines.

Captain Jon radios from the bridge.

The crew bids farewell from the decks including many of our new West African crew leaving their motherland for the very first time.

 Our wonderful Port of Lome security bids us farewell. Thanks guys for your diligence in keeping us safe for the past six months! We appreciate you!

Some of my favourite photos of all time with Mercy Ships-Pastor James Adoukpo who served as a deck day worker with Mercy Ships in Togo 2010 and 2012. Pastor James was so much more than day worker, always with a ready smile and a servant heart he welcomed dozens of Mercy Shippers into his home and into his church. He would joke and say, "Come to my office" which of course, as a deckie, was wherever he could be found up painting, washing or sweeping the decks.

 The photo below almost brought tears to my eyes. This is why we do what we do. This is why one day God placed a dream in our heart to go to the nations of Africa and serve best we knew how. Down on his knees, Pastor James gives thanks to the almighty God for the work that Mercy Ships has done within his country and those around. The blessing is all ours Pastor James!

Getting a little too close for comfort to an overhanging container!

Tug boats assist us out to the open sea.

The pilot boat brings out the pilot to guide us out.

Jessica on deck 7 about to go to her tenth country at the age of 12!! Spain awaits!

Legacy in Lome

When we depart from each country that we visit it is our prayer and desire that we have left behind a legacy, a legacy of hope, a legacy of healing and a legacy of God's love in action. Most of us will never know the sheer desperation and isolation that those in developing nations face when struck down by an illness, a birth defect or one that appears later in life. When the Africa Mercy sails into the ports of some of the poorest nations on earth we have a job to do, a God ordained legacy to leave behind.

Eye Surgeries (Mercy Vision)
*  794 Eye surgeries performed
* 1,718 UV blocking sunglasses, 1,160 reading glasses, 43 prescription glasses dispensed

Maxillo-Facial Surgeries (Outlook of Hope)
* 315 Max fax surgeries including 34 cleft lip and/or palate repairs

Plastic Reconstruction Surgeries (Reconstructing Hope)
* 72 Plastic surgeries
*509 Physio encounters
* 409 Occupational Therapy encounters

Specialised Surgical Solutions
* 219 General Surgeries (mainly hernia repairs on young males such as the man above)

VVF (Vesicovaginal Fistula) Surgeries (Hope Reborn)
* 49 VVF Surgeries
Above a VVF patient celebrates in her new dress and head dress given to all the VVF patients.

Togo Smiles (Dental)
* 9,688 Dental procedures performed for 4,649 patients
* Dentures for 454 patients
Photo above is the dental team celebrating their 3,000 patient in Togo 2012 field service.

Palliative Care
* 14 patients regularly visited

Plastics and Ortho Follow Up (Togo 2010 Patients)

Patient Life Program
* Available to our patients 24/7 providing counsel and comfort as well as taking care of the practical needs of the patients.

Capacity Building
* Workshops held so that highly skilled personnel can train many different groups of professionals on issues such as mental health and trauma.
* Children's Camp held for 30 local children.

Leadership Conferences
* Average of 892 leaders attended various conferences.

Food for Life Agricultural Training
* Training trainers in modules such as composting, mulching, soils, animal husbandry and nutrition.

Anaesthesia and Midwifery Conference
* 121 Health care professionals and 18 students attended a two day conference.

The Hope Centre (Hospital Outpatient Extension)
* 1035 people participated in community health education on subjects such as malaria, worms and immunisations.
Above a Hope Centre day worker teaches patients and caregivers about the affects of worms.

Day Worker Education
* 36 Hospital day workers received instruction in various health care matters
* 15 day workers received instruction in palliative care matters
* 1 day worker received instruction in sterilization

Mercy Ministries
* Hundreds of crew members were regularly involved with ten local partners. In addition, and in partnership with a group of local church leaders, the Jesus film was viewed by thousands in their local language. Hundreds expressed commitments to Christ and requested prayer.
Above crew members visit the Quatre Libre with YWAM.

* Mercy Ships was able to make dozens of donations to hospitals, clinics, WHO, other mission and aid organisations, churches, church leaders, schools and libraries. As well as corporate donations, hundreds of individuals crew members made donations of both cash and possessions to local individuals and organisations.

These numbers are obtained through the sacrifice of volunteer crew, prompted into action by the whisper of the Holy Spirit, from every corner of the globe, offering their skills and talents, funded by those at home to leave behind a legacy that will remain long after the Africa Mercy sails away.