This Magical Ship Life

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!  Read ahead to catch up on what we’ve been up to and also an important update on our future plans.

It has been a truly joyful time onboard.  Scheduled surgeries have stopped until the new year, which has enabled us to catch our breath and be able to spend some good family time together as we celebrate the gift of our Savior.  Each year, we make a BIG deal about Christmas on the ship.  There are numerous activities for the family to take part in.  It’s really been a lot of fun.

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A Saturday getaway

December is also a natural time for people to end their commitments with Mercy Ships.  As such, we have had to continue to say goodbye to more friends on the ship.  Some have been here a few weeks, while others have been here for several years.  I’m not sure we’ll ever get used to this part of ship life.  Still, what a privilege to work with such exceptional people from all across the world!

Jamie and I were also able to spend a night off ship at a local hotel to celebrate our 14th anniversary.  I’m so blessed to be married to this woman!

On a completely unrelated note, I have taken up a new hobby to connect with the patients. I’ve found that they really enjoy magic tricks, so I’ve learned a few.  It’s so funny to see their reactions!  I know magicians don’t usually reveal their secrets, but after one of the patients accused me of being a voodoo priest, I’ve made it a point to show them how I do the tricks.

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Now for the big news..after much thought, discussion, and prayer, we have decided to extend with Mercy Ships for another year.  This means we will be with Mercy Ships until at least June 2018.  While we miss family, friends, and home tremendously, we sincerely feel that God still has work for us to do here.

What a tremendous opportunity this has been for us to play a part in the transformation of so many lives.  Thank you for your continued prayers, financial support, care packages, and loving messages/emails.  You are making this possible and sustaining us on this adventure!

And finally, a reminder of the ultimate Christmas gift!

It’s hard

 

This is a season of goodbyes.  This morning, in the academy, we said goodbye to a sweet teacher, Miss Shea.  She was Maya’s teacher last year, and helped Maya grow in confidence and grace.  Maya was her only student last year and Miss Shea poured so much into her.  I had a lump in my throat as we watched pictures of her time on the ship.  The principal, David, talked about how sayind goodbye to people we love breaks our heart, and drew a cracked heart on the board.  He also drew an egg and asked the students, “how do you get the good stuff out of the egg?”  They said to crack it open.  He went on to describe that when our heart is broken from saying goodbye, it  also allows the joy to flow out as we remember how much that person means to us.  We have also said goodbye to many of our patients recently and it has been difficult. I wish you all could meet these people and know how great they are.  It’s hard to walk down the halls, when people you got to know are gone.  It’s hard to get our kids motivated to go back to the hospital to visit patients, when their friends are gone.  Please pray for us as we continue to say goodbye and as we open our hearts again to new patients, friends, and teachers.