Saturday, February 20, 2010

The beginnings of Togo

Ahhh so here we are at last! I have to admit one thing to you: I have as yet not left the dock. I know I'm terrible. Other than that, I do have things to mention on here.

The first day when we arrived was quite the notable event. A good group of people, instrumentalists, singers, and those with the ship who crossed to Togo via car all stood at the dock to greet us. I felt like we were somehow celebraties. I suppose there is something very special about a ship which comes to bring life and hope to so many people but to me its just my home and we are just doing our jobs. At any case the air was vibrant with excitement (don't you love that word - vibrant).

Since that day a whole host of changes has occured. The first thing that happened was the dock authorities partitianed off a whole section with containers on the dock stricktly for our use. The only problem is the rats and cockroches who live there. Other than that it looks beautiful in comparrison with docks we've had to share with others. I fear I'm beginning to become a spoiled brat of a missionary.

The ship has quite a few faces. Put it this way - the crew count mingled down to two hundred on Christmas. Now it is a full fledged 358 crew ship with more to come. We are going to be packed. Today I embarked fourteen people.

Not only that but we have finished accepting applications for day volunteers (Togolese people who wish to serve their country through working on the Africa Mercy) which means I'm about to see a lot of new African people during the day. Pray for them as they begin their day on Monday and need to get accustomed to the Western way (a very different culture than their own).

Lastly, but hardly least, and most likely the most, we have been going through the screening process. Basically we arrange for when different people will be getting surgeries on board and who we have to turn away (pray for these people who are turned away that they find the help they need) because we don't cater to their needs or there are too many. Normally this happens at one inning but because of security (nothing huge) we are screening a little each day. This is a massive task - heck another thing to pray for.

So, though I have personally not done a ton of things, there have been a lot going on with our little community and a lot of things to pray for.

God bless you all

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

On our way to Togo!!

It is with great discomfort for which I write this letter: I haven’t written in a long while. I suppose you want to know about Tenerife. Tenerife is a small little island located in the Canaries. It is delightful how much rest can be accomplished, both spiritually and mentally, when no longer in residence of the country you are helping. Tenerife, like all other places in the world, has its problems. What I loved about it was the atmosphere. For one, their culture is much like American culture in comparison to African. It is nice not having to train the mind to not offend someone. I am not saying anything bad about the African culture, in fact I find it fascinating, but my cultural sensitivity is lax in comparison to what it should be.

The second part about Tenerife’s atmosphere to be heralded is the relaxed style people live in. This can sometimes mean loads of partying, but mostly it means people sitting outside drinking wine, coffee, beer, or some other fragrant drink, talking to their friends in utter content. The waiters never wait impatiently for you to leave so more can come in, and midnight is a normal time to be up. I have stayed for hours in one outdoors restaurant or another, talking and getting better acquainted with my friends.

Thirdly, Tenerife, though probably fake and not as wonderful looking, follows the tradition of old European buildings. To just stroll and do nothing, that is pure luxury. There are grand parks, narrow alleyways with cobblestones, and fountains, not to mention the sea which sparkles and winks at you in the right light. Yes I am dearly fond of Tenerife.

That being said, I am incredibly glad we are on our way to Togo. I love exploring, and I fear Tenerife has lost much of its zest from to much time spent therein. Togo should be interesting with its vibrant people, and its markets. Please pray for our nurses and doctors to have wisdom in what they do.
God bless you all,