THIS WAS ME
In 2006, I was diagnosed with stage II renal cell carcinoma (kidney cancer). As a result, I endured multiple surgeries (related/unrelated) and a whole lot of grief. My body owns a road map of scars: abdomen, flank, and spine to name a few. The largest healed and grew a grotesque keloid which I followed-up with cosmetic surgery. Not so much because of pain, but because I am a vain woman who hated her body image. A cyclic clinical life followed my cancer including an array of infections, so thank God, I am an American who was fully insured. I accessed the best medical care from Mayo to Wake Forest to Duke, Baptist & Shands. Additionally, I was afforded excellent consult, procedures and cancer surveillance by gifted surgeons. My accommodations often included lavish rooms with a river view. Roses were delivered; deacons visited and served communion, and my dearest friends blessed me with a surprise 50th birthday party. On the road to recovery, a team of social workers visited my home to help piece my life back together. I am an American, in remission, and these are just a few of my travails. I am lucky.
THIS IS THEM
They are youth and adults both before and after life-changing surgery that transformed their lives and restored hope. Their medical conditions and lives are a stark contrast to my own. Invasive, but usually benign tumors were removed; limbs were surgically corrected; sight was restored, and dignity was redeemed. They are among many in African countries who received free surgical care aboard the Africa Mercy — the world’s largest, non-governmental hospital ship dedicated to “bringing hope and healing to the forgotten poor for more than 40 years.” None are insured. They withstand unforgivable heat for hours and wait in long lines to be screened. They are impoverished, but rich with hope and thousands are turned away. Vanity eludes them, and they likely never complain. Only a mere fraction are among the lucky.
THIS IS US
We are ordinary people from more than 80 countries who have left the comforts of familiar life to do something extraordinary. Mercy Ships delivers free, world-class healthcare services to the forgotten poor in developing nations. More than 1,500 crew members from around the globe serve annually. Each one volunteers his/her services to help fulfill the mission of Mercy Ships. We are volunteer surgeons, nurses, technicians, educators, administrators, maritime professionals, media personnel, and more. Following an indepth screening that began December 11, 2018, I have been selected to serve as one of two writers on the communications team of the Africa Mercy which will be docked in Senegal. My one-year of service begins August 2019 following a six-week training that kicks off June 10th in Texas. I recently shared with my dear friend Alicia that at varied intervals, “I feel like I’m living like I am dying.” Healed, in remission, but anxiously awaiting a new health crisis. Subconsciously, I may have been speaking one into existence. This experience was handpicked for me by God. The pre-training alone fosters invaluable personal growth and I am in a season of bold spiritual service. Last year, I asked God to change the trajectory of my writing life…and He did. Who better than me to pen the surgical journeys of the poor? I have a heart for the human condition. I am ready, and I feel both lucky and blessed.
Click link to support my missions trip:
Our hospital ship provides free lifesaving surgeries for people where medical care is nearly non-existent.
We follow the 2000-year-old model of Jesus, bringing hope and healing to the forgotten poor.
Mercy Ships uses hospital ships to transform lives and serve nations, one at a time.
Our Core Values.
Desiring to follow the model of Jesus, we seek to:
- We love God.
- We love and serve others.
- We are people of integrity.
- We strive for excellence in all we say and do.
A quick glance at my upcoming training!
Onboarding does take place at our International Support Center in Lindale, Texas for the first 4 weeks. The remaining two weeks are field service in Africa. Your weeks of Onboarding would look something like this (please note the exact format and topics discussed is open to change):
Week 1– Preparing for Service with Mercy Ships: Foundations of Mercy Ships (FMS) and Support Raising Seminar
- Learning about Mercy Ships’ history, mission, core values, discussions of living on the ship and in community with others, and Fundraising principles
Week 2– Faith Foundations
- Exploration of the following themes/topics: The God we serve, Communicating with God, Silent Retreater, Prayer, Kingdom Principles, discussed amidst times of corporate worship
Week 3– Personal/Interpersonal Development
- Exploring our personal purpose and passion, reviewing DISC Profile (Personality assessment), Conflict Resolution, and Living and Working in Harmony in a cross-cultural context
Week 4– Working with Those We Serve
- Topics of World Views, the Potential of the Poor, Transformation Development, Cross-Cultural Dynamics and Communication, Tensions in working with those we serve
Week 5 & 6– Field Practice
- Field practice in Africa gives the opportunity to adapt and adjust to internal and external challenges of working with the poor prior to taking your place on the ship
At the end of week 6 field service, volunteers join the ship.
“My beloved sister-friend “God” has called upon you for this journey, Telling you I’m not at all surprised; May I attest to you that I, saw it coming too I, knew he did not finish with you yet. Who better than you? One who has lived it can now share the stories of our people who live their lives without the entitlements of free health care… My heart is racing at dramatic speed with the depths of my tears of enjoyment of knowing you are the woman I thought you to be, you are the road map of strength diligence along with body sacrifice and for that “God” has not taken you however, blessed you with sharing your story with millions and now you will reach them from a physical standpoint. Look forward to seeing you again if the “Lord” is willing I am so proud of you and wish the best success in your endeavors on this very “Spiritual Journey”.
You have been a beacon of light in my life since the day you showed up at Douglas Anderson carrying long stemmed roses for the young participants. A selfless, classy gesture that has long since personified you as a human being and woman of character whom I greatly admire. Thank you for your kind words on this trail of my journey and every trail that precedes it. You have been with me always — sharing words of wisdom and nuggets of hope to encourage me. You are the best…no really. Simply the best and I have great love and respect for you. Always. P
Baby Sister; My heart overflows with pride, love and excitement at the incredible journey you are about to embark on. God’s continued peace and blessings sprinkled with grace and mercy!!!! Go forth and do great works!
Hey there my hero. Thank you for being proud of me…it means a great deal. I, too, am excited and can’t wait to get there and jump into it all. There is so much to do beforehand though. Whew! Overwhelmed just thinking about it. Continue to pray always. I love you, P.
Extremely proud of one of the best friends I have in this world. You are such a trooper and always looking to bless others. I will use gofundme to express my commitment to this effort. You deserve nothing but the best, Ron
Sadly, I rarely check my spam folder which is where your
message has been since May. It’s June and I am in Texas for On Boarding.
Your comment is timely as I needed to be reminded that the courage it
has taken to pursue this endeavor is rooted in being surrounded by giants
like you who were never overwhelmed by their own largeness. I appreciate
you and your unwavering support. Humbled and seeking God daily.
You are blessed to be chosen for more. Truly, God has more in store for you and the world through you. Grateful that you survived this and grateful to have met you. 😘