About Barki's

Our family is embarking a new adventure we feel God is calling us to. We have accepted a volunteer position with Mercy Ships that carries a minimum two-year commitment. Mercy Ships is an organization that delivers free medical care aboard a traveling hospital ship to the poorest parts of Africa. The ship is a state-of-the-art facility that offers clean water, reliable electricity and care centers. Many of these patients are truly hopeless, afflicted with disfiguring and immobilizing conditions. Often viewed as cursed, family, friends, and entire villages want nothing to do with them. Through God’s healing touch, Mercy Ships offers a chance at a new start and a picture of hope and healing that Jesus offers to all. Brian will serve as the anesthesia supervisor. In addition to taking care of patients and providing leadership to the anesthesia department, he will also be helping to educate local healthcare workers to improve the quality of care being delivered in the host countries. Jamie will be doing administration in the hospital. Brandon, Maya, and Hannah will attend the accredited academy on board. Jamie and the children will also be able to help with other ministries, such as orphan care, and with the patients on-board. We will be docked in Madagascar during the first year. Our destination the second year is not yet known.

A New Chapter

There’s no easy way to say it.

We have decided to end our time with Mercy Ships after the Guinea field service.  It’s been an extremely difficult decision for us, but we feel it’s the right one.  It’s hard to even type these words!

We did not take this decision lightly.  After much prayer and discussion, we feel like this is the direction God is taking us right now.

We have loved every minute of our time on board.  It’s challenging to describe what it’s been like to be a part of such an extraordinary organization and community.  Of course the patients and the surgeries have been amazing, but it’s also been pretty incredible living with people from over 40 different nations.  We can now look at a world map and point to so many countries where we have friends.

The bizarre thing is that as much faith as it took to say “yes” to Mercy Ships, I think it’s taking just as much to return to the US.  Of course we miss everyone back home, but the ship has become a new home.  Jamie and I and the kids are all comfortable here.  And now, there are so many unknowns.  Where will we live?  Where will I work?  Where will the kids go to school?

I feel like I’m planning two futures.  One for the ship (finding a new Anesthesia Supervisor and making sure the anesthesia team is staffed well), and one for our family.  

Please pray that God would be leading us as we make these decisions.  Sometimes so much uncertainty can lead to worry.  The good news is that the Lord is faithful.  When He calls us a certain way, He is faithful to provide.  He has done that through our Mercy Ships adventure, and He will do it again.

Please pray for us as we prepare to make the transition back.  Our commitment with Mercy Ships goes through the beginning of June.  People have warned us that returning home after 4 years away will be a shock.  Things will be different than we remembered.  People’s lives have moved on, and we’ve been changed by our experiences abroad.

Please also pray that we would finish well.  That while we are making plans for the future, we would also be present here and enjoy our last few months on the ship.

Thank you to all of you who have accompanied us on this journey.  It has been an unbelievable ride!

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January & February

Wow writing an update is difficult, there so much going on all the time!  We’ve had our friends the Andersen’s leave the ship and go back to Australia, our Tulsa friends the Beasley‘s visit, Chinese new year, Hannah got to blow the whistle on the ship to test the whistles and so many miracles through the healing of patients!  We’ll have specific stories of patients soon, we just need to make sure we don’t share anything confidential.  So, most of these pictures are of just us.
I wish you could all see Brian work with our patients and local anesthesiologists.  I’ve never seen anyone with such a great balance of professionalism and goofiness that puts everyone at ease.  He is such a great teacher.  God has gifted him and uses him daily.
I (Jamie) have been working in our chaplaincy department this past year and got the chance to speak at our church service on Matthew 7.  It was a great new challenge and I actually really enjoyed it.
One of our patients recently left.  He had become friends with Brandon and he spoke English. He is such a remarkable young man who has persevered through so much.  I’m hoping to share his story soon.
 Brandon has been taking a fishing class on Fridays through the academy’s “student life” program.  He has really enjoyed it, and even gets up many days at 6am to go fishing!  More info soon!

Merry Christmas!

It’s difficult being away from home during the holidays, but we had a great day nonetheless.

It started with the Dutch tradition of leaving our shoes out in the hallway on Christmas Eve. Everyone then goes around the ship putting gifts in everyone’s shoes. The kids always love this.

We had an awesome Christmas lunch that so many of our crew and local crew worked hard on. Part of the lunch was an absolutely incredible cake in the shape of our ship. It took one of our crew members months to design and make it, and I was pretty sad to see it being cut to pieces, but it was delicious!

After lunch, we had a surgery to do that presented some challenges. The surgery itself went well, but I had to place a special IV called a PICC line in the patient. We had some technical difficulties with our equipment that made things hard, but our on-call team was so extraordinarily patient and helpful. We worked til nearly 8pm…on Christmas…as volunteers, and not one complaint or even a hint of impatience.

When everything was finished, I thanked everyone for their help and apologized that things went so late. Everyone on the team said something along the lines of, “No problem. Whatever is best for the patient.” This is after having to do emergency cases on both Sunday and Monday. This place is special.

Got to finish the day with a showing of “Avengers: Infinity War” on the big screen in our main meeting room. First time to get to see it. Great film!

So, we end this day missing home, family, and friends, but also grateful that God would choose to have us here in such a special place with such an amazing community.

Hoping that you all had a great Christmas Day too, and that you know how much God loves you.

Merry Christmas!

Rough Week: An Update

First of all, thank you to all of you for your prayers and encouragement.  It was exactly what we needed.

The week ended okay.  We had one emergency surgery early Saturday morning (4:00am) that ended well.  I saw the patient this evening, and he was smiling and in good spirits.

Got news that my father is doing better.  He should make a full recovery without surgery.  Please pray for continued healing.

Our dear friends left the ship today.  Difficult doesn’t begin to describe it.  Goodbyes are always so hard.  Jamie and I feel it, and the kids feel it too.

You might say, “Only 3 years?” but for those of you who haven’t been on the ship, ship life is intense.  3 years can feel like 10.  Imagine seeing someone literally every day for 3 years–living and working and going to school together all in the same place.  Often on the ship, if we don’t see someone for a day or two, it feels like weeks.  It’s hard to explain.

Today’s goodbye got me thinking about time.  I found myself being grateful for the time we shared, but also asking myself, “Did I use my time with the Borrows well?”  Surely there was more I could have done or said.

It’s kind of like life in general, I suppose.  It’s a good reminder that when I reach the end, I want to be able to say, “I spent my time well.”  Sure there will be things that I could have done more or differently, but I hope to not have any regrets and to be full of gratitude for a life well spent.

Here’s to a new week…

Rough Week

It’s been a rough week.  Long, busy days.  Surgeries that haven’t turned out as planned.  My dad has been having some health issues.  Our close friends that have been on the ship with us since 2015 are leaving this weekend.  We could use some prayer and encouragement.  Thank you to all of you who continue to walk this journey with us.

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We Made It To Guinea!

We sailed into Conakry, Guinea yesterday after a 5-day sail.

I (Brian) always have mixed feelings about sailing. I like the idea of it. I enjoy being out in the middle of the ocean. I love the team-building and community-building that happens on the sail.

I just don’t like actually sailing.

Even though this was a smooth sail (thank the Lord), that gentle rocking just makes me want to sleep. I feel like a little baby being rocked in a cradle. At least this sail, no couches or dishes went flying.

This morning was our first opportunity to go off ship. I joined a group of my fellow crew on a run. It was nice to set foot on land and to see some of the city. Immediately, though, I could tell the difference between Conakry and our previous destinations. The poverty here is much more tangible.

The United Nations uses the Human Development Index to measure a country’s progress. Guinea ranks 183 out of 188. People are literally struggling to live.

We’ve been told there are 6 anesthesiologists in the entire country!

Still, Mercy Ships has been to Guinea several times, and so many of the long-term crew say it is their favorite country.

I look forward to getting to know the people and experiencing the warmth we have been told about. I also look forward to all the miracles that God will perform while we are here over the next 10 months.

Thank you for continuing to pray for us and support us. Thank you for making this possible!

Arriving in Guinea. It’s rainy season, and it was pouring!

When we enter a port, the crew get to hold the flags of their home countries. It’s very cool seeing all the flags lining the deck.

The arrival ceremony. The First Lady can be seen in the middle of the action.

Just finishing the first run in Guinea with my friends Emmanuel and Fred. Always a good feeling to be finished!

National Geographic Update!

Exciting news for those of you, especially in the US, who have been waiting VERY patiently for the National Geographic series on Mercy Ships. It’s now available to stream online!

You will need a cable/satellite provider.

Enjoy, and if you watch Episode 2, please do your best to disregard my funky Friday attire. I’m not always that ridiculous!

Go to https://www.nationalgeographic.com/tv/surgery-ship/.

Happy streaming!

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