Finding joy in the little things

With about a month left here, I am torn between wanting to go home and being sad about leaving this awesome place. I feel as though I have finally settled into life on the ship. Things that I once found unnatural seem like the norm. I know it may be a little bit of a shock when I land back in the States and realize I can take a shower that's longer than two minutes, sleep in my own room, and not have 400 people around me at all times. I wish you could all experience life on the ship, if even for a short time. It's hard to put into words the life-changing experience I have had here. Over the past couple weeks I have been trying to really take in everything I am seeing here, enjoying the small moments, and finding time to reflect on the past two months.

I want to start with two patient stories-two little nuggets that have really benefited from Mercy Ships, and all the "behind-the-scenes" work that takes place here. The first patient is this little baby boy. He came to …

Halfway Point

I cannot believe that I am writing this blog-halfway done with my field service here. I'm sure you can tell by my lack of blog posts that life on the AFM (Africa Mercy) is busy. There is always something going on here, which makes time fly. I've been here for 45 days now, and in those 45 days my life has certainly changed from life on this ship. It hasn't always been easy. Living with 400 other people on a daily basis has its challenges. The silence I'm sure will be deafening when I return home. However, I have been challenged mentally as well as spiritually and feel as though I will leave here changed.

Life on the ship has become normal to me now, and days like today are my favorite. I am working evening shift tonight, so I have the whole morning to read, write, drink my coffee and reflect on the past few days. I may even head up to our little pool on the top of the ship. There isn't a ton of down time, but maybe I feel that way because there are always people aro…

Adventures big and small

I wanted to send out a little blog update, just because a lot has been happening these last few days! I don't want to forget anything so I hope I remember to update you on all that has been going on here on the ship and beyond.

First up: celebration of sight. All I can say is-INCREDIBLE. There are many patients here in Cameroon (and all of Africa) who suffer from cataracts. If you know anything about cataracts, you know they can be treated by pretty simple surgery. However, Cameroonians do not have that luxury. They suffer from cataracts as a kid, or young teen and are not treated promptly-which results in blindness or very poor vision. As this is incredibly life-altering for those people suffering, Mercy Ships brings hope and healing-literally helping the blind to see. Now, of course we have modern technology, but I couldn't help but think back to times when Jesus healed the blind. I thought of those stories the whole time patients were sharing their stories. One young man sha…

His mercies are new every morning.

I finally have had a chance to sit down and catch you all up on a bit that has been going on here on the ship, as well as some of my adventures I've taken on my days off! I cannot believe that after this week I will already have been here for a month..with only two months remaining.

I really can't say enough about this ship and the people who are here. Someone put it into perspective for me. Everyone who is here has sacrificed something, so they put their heart and soul into their work. I mean after all-these are some of the most hard working people I have ever worked alongside, and we are doing it all for free! Everyone still holds each other to a very high standard of nursing practice and care. It's nice to be working in this atmosphere.

So first up, I will talk about a few of my patients who touched my heart over the past two weeks. The first up is this man. You can see his before and after picture below. He has had this tumor growing for years and had the opportunity t…

They're Stronger Than Us.

"Clap your hands, all you nations; shout to God with cries of joy." Psalm 47:1

My first week here has come to a close, and what a whirlwind it has been. Meeting scores of brand new people, coworkers and friends-as well as learning how to navigate my new unit. All I can say for sure is that this place is special-and to my family and friends that have donated, you have literally no idea the impact you are making on these people here.  A few things have stuck out to me this week that I will share with you-but just know that these patients are so very grateful for the love and healing they receive here.

So I have only had one day off so far, and have had a few shifts on orientation (pretty much following another nurse around to learn the unit). And already I am off and running on my own. It's much different than what I am used to and I have to admit it's pushed me out of my comfort zone. Coming from a comfy ICU where we have the latest and greatest technology, private ro…

Let the journey begin!

After my 18 hour journey I finally made it to Cameroon! And so the journey begins...

But first, I want to thank everyone who helped to get me here. Without you (my family and friends) I wouldn't be living my dream!

It was a nice last few days in America ..visiting with family and friends before taking off from D.C. My flight was uneventful to Brussels and I had a 3 hour layover before heading to Douala, Cameroon. Both plane rides totaled about 7 hours each. So it was at least broken up nicely. Luckily I met some fellow Mercy Ships crew members on the second plane so I didn't have to go through customs alone. It was a bit intimidating but after about an hour we all made it through to find our representatives waiting for us.

As soon as we left the airport locals were coming up to us, saying "mercy, mercy" -they knew what we were here for, and they followed us all the way to the car (children included). Even at 7pm the air was almost unbearable! It is quite hot here-abo…

Empowered for a purpose...

Hello all and welcome to my blog! I figured it was about time to start this as I gear up to head across the Atlantic to Douala, Cameroon! I hope you will follow my journey and hear my stories. Feel free to share my blog with your friends and family-and stay in touch while I'm away! So a little bit about my story...

I was raised in good old Blackwood, NJ- one of five kids (I like to joke I'm the favorite). My mom and dad raised us all in a cute brick house where there was lots of love to go around! I love that house-and miss it so much.

I grew up playing soccer-that was my first love. If I wasn't at school or hanging with friends you could probably catch me on a soccer field. That's what helped me get to college-and was a huge HUGE part of my life. I used to dream about playing soccer in Africa with the kids who couldn't afford as much as a ball. I don't know why but Africa was put on my heart from a very young age.

When it was time for college, I picked La Sa…