Saturday, December 19, 2009

We're Here! Look! There's Tene Rife!!!

We've arrived!
About 3 hours ago, around 8am, we sailed into port at Tene Rife. This morning I woke up and realized my bed was not rolling. It was odd, I was thinking, "are we here?!" Last night about 10 o'clock we could see the little lights of the canary islands off in the distance. It was an odd paradox, the pitch black sky with its gorgeous stars like you can only see in the open sea...and then the glow of the islands-Land! off in the distance. It was exciting.
So this morning around 6:30 as I woke up to the odd stillness of my bed (as I've become used to pitching side to side), I heard my roomies scurrying around, getting ready to go up to deck 8 to watch the sunrise and then watch us sail into port :-D we all grabbed our sweatshirts and our fold up camping chairs from the ship shop, and scrambled up the few decks from our cabin on deck 4 to our top deck 8. It was still dark and we were anchored right off shore of Tene Rife; the lights were beautiful! So much excitement!! Then on the other side the rising sun.
It came up with soft pink hues, not a bold sunrise but a soft gentle one. I love God's variety.
As the light grew we could see the island we will be docked at for the next 6 weeks. There are Mountains! Everywhere! Its gorgeous! It's actually a volcano (which I will be climbing with 9 other girls tomorrow! :-D). And then modern buildings. We are off of spain! Yay! I get to speak spanish!! The crew began to gather at the Port side railings of decks 7 and 8. The Pilote boat was coming out to meet us. Everyone waved, and the pilote boarded. Yay! we could start sailing into port. As we came close we heard the sound of a trumpet playing hymns. Our Trumpeteer was a quaint white haired man, whom I later learned trumpets us in and out of port every time Mercy Ships come to Tene Rife. I heard his name is something like Theodoro and he owns a small buisness like a pizza shop in town. It was such a warm welcome, he continued to play songs like "I have decided to follow Jesus" and "when the saints come marching in." I wonder when he's last had such a large audience. In between songs we would clap and cheer and wave :)
finally we were tied up and docked in port. We made it!! solid ground! I thank God for a wonderful voyage, a great experience, His awe-inspiring creation, and the variety of it all. I'm so excited to have arrived in a new place, I can't wait to begin exploring!! Who know's what new adventures are to be had!

Friday, December 11, 2009

We're sailing!

Somehow it seems that the intensely wild things, with awesome potential danger are the most breathtaking, beautiful, intriguing and entrancing...
such is the sea...such is God...
Wow! I love sailing!! God is incredible! We've had really great weather. nothing too harsh. It's amazing to go up on deck or to the bow and just watch the water and the sky and the flying fish (they seriously jump and glide over the top of the water forever! its awesome!) and feel the wind and sun in your face. Almost nothing more incredible. I feel so blessed with all we've experienced and we've only been sailing for 3 and a half day's. Today is the 4th. We've gotten to see flying fish like a said, as well as spirm whales, a water spout (like a tornado or huricane-pictures below). and this morning I got to see dolphins! Take a look through the pictures of the sail so far...

I slept outside on deck 8 under the stars last night. It was amazing. I think i'm gonna do it every night I can! :-D

On the bow, It feels so amazing standing there, taking it all in...

One of the gorgeous sunsets we get to watch.

This is the water spout we saw! it was only like 100 feet from the ship. Very close! It was small and wouldn't have been able to sink us or anything :-p but wow! was it awesome!
This is what was left in the sky when it discipated
Woo hoo! we're sailing!

My friend D was taking pictures at sundown, and got me. :)

Thats me and my Becca! :-D yes i know we look rediculous...its normal... ;-p ahhaha


Our path away from Benin
The tugs pulling us away from the dock so we could begin our journey into the open seas... :)

Friday, December 4, 2009

Wrappin up Benin, lookin back...

So as this outreach in Benin has come to a close and we are preparing to sail, I wanted to reflect back and give you a look at a couple things I've been able to experience. I've thoroughly enjoyed my time here and feel extremely blessed with the opportunities I've had and the relationships I've made. I hope you will enjoy the pictures as I tell you a little about, the Jesus film, hospitality center, and some more recent activities. Hopefully the pictures will be a window into the stories for you! :)

A couple weekends ago, the whole ship had a black out, where they turned off all electricity so they could work on some things to ready the ship for sail. Almost everyone decided to spend the day out enjoying some relaxation. We went to a place called Bab's Dock. It was great to relax and have fun. They have a monkey in a cage and donkeys. So of course i had to take pictures :-D

He had already grabbed my hand before this picture, and was trying to do it again. a little scary, but kinda cool!
They had donkeys!!
This is a fruit delivery. Every week we get fruits and vegetibles delivered. It's a lot of stuff!!
It all gets brought right in the gangway and put on the floor in front of the reception desk. (the desk is to the left of this picture
This is a zimidjon. These are the motoconcho's that taxi people around. You will find stranger things than this goat balenced on them! we've seen whole families of four, and a whole table set being carried on them! quite a funny sight ;-p

This is Chitra! One of our Guhrka guards. He is the one who was hit by a zimidjon. He is doing well now pretty much fully recovered with a few scars. Our Guhrkas are the sweetest little men ever! :) No one would guess they can be deadly when necessary.
This is Mary, one of the hospital translators that I got to know and became friends with. She is adorable, the sweetest girl. So young, so bright, I know she'll go far. She's trying to go to school now that the ship is leaving.
Me and Hannah, keeping reception alive. ;-p Goofiness is a necessary part of life. ;-D
This is Therise, one of the dental team day workers. The team through a wedding shower for her, which I unfortunately could not attend.
This is Midokpe, another dental team day worker. She is the one we through a baby shower for. It was So much fun. She was blown away and SO thankful! She kept saying, "What is a word that you have bigger than Thank You?!"
Some of the Dental team. Doug, on top, is the main dentist. He and his family are long term on the ship. They are great! :)

Carrying boxes of Generator chords to be packed up.
Helping to pack up and clean the dental clinic at the end of our time here. (from left to right: Smith, Midokpe, me, Therese
This is Maria, one of the most well known patients in our hospital. She had a massive tumor removed. She spent quite a long time with us and she became familiar and endeared to everyone. I believe she is from Nigeria or Liberia, because she speaks English.
at the Hospitality Center

Havin fun with the kids.
This little one has received a cleft palet/lip surgery. Beautiful.
This is Anasette, a smaller patient who is also known all over the ship. She spent at least 6 months or longer with us, trying to gain weight so that we could give here the cleft palet/lip surgery she needed...
This was her and her mom (also named Anasette) before the surgery, when she was malnurished and unable to gain weight. I took this at the beginning of my time here.
This is Anasette about a month ago, completely changed. She has gained weight even gettin a cute little baby belly, and her mouth looks wonderful. Now everyone will recognize what a beautiful baby girl she is, instead of thinking she is some sort of devil child or under some curse.
Me with Anasette and her mom about a month ago.
We had a game day at the hospitality center and there was a relay water race. It was so much fun! The adults and older people were just as into it as the kids! I loved it :)

The boy with the patch is also well known among a lot of the crew. I can't remember for sure, but I think his name is jon.

I love this little boy; he kinda adopted me as his playmate. They seem to love on us just as much if not more than we love on them. There are many times I feel I am being blessed more than I am blessing... God is amazing.
This is at a Jesus film showing. the man next to me is the pastor of the church next to where we showed it. And the next guy is the pastor who organized the showings for us and showed us which villages to go to.
Putting up the screen...

Finished! The movie is played out of the back of the landrover, we take portable sound equipment and the projector is set on top of the rover.
A bunch of the kids that showed up :)
Before showing the film, they always having singing. The kids and adults too enjoy dancing to the music. We were doing a dance back and forth with the in together, dance out...
At this particular location their was a church right beside where we showed the film. So afterward they were having church, so we joined in for the music. They pushed us all toward the front, men first, then women and we all danced, African Style!! :)

From behind as the people watched.

Well thats it for now! Sorry it's taken me so long to catch you up on things. I hope you've enjoyed the last reflections on Benin. Please pray for the crew and captain as we prepare to sail, that all the details and technicalities would come together in every way and we would be able to sail on time! thank you!! Love you all. You are such an encouragement to me! I could not be successful without all of your support and prayers! Thank you!