For those of you who don’t know (which could be a few as we admit our communication is appalling!) we’re in Dakar, Senegal, for our fourth year of service with Mercy Ships. We initially volunteered for three years, but as we considered whether we should stay or do something new, we felt we had more to give and receive, and so have decided to continue.
We’re delighted to be here for another year and are so grateful to faithful supporters who trust us to continue serving God within this organisation. Some of you we haven’t even met so we’re especially grateful to you for believing in us and the work that’s being done through Mercy Ships.
After a busy summer including a brief time at home in the UK and time in Las Palmas and Tenerife we arrived in Dakar in August and have already completed four weeks of surgery on board.
I’ve (Frances) had an opportunity to work in the Outpatients department again, assessing patients who have had their surgery and either treating with post op care, such as wound care, or discharging them home. I’m loving getting to know the patients from Senegal, and the day workers in our department who are all incredibly keen and diligent. In September I was able to re-validate as a nurse for a further three years, for which we’re extremely grateful.
James (5) and Joseph (3) have both had changes to their routines this year. James started Kindergarten meaning he attends school from 8am-3.20pm every day which he and I are both thrilled about! Joseph started pre-school which he attends 9am-12pm every day. Both boys have amazing teachers and love going to school which is such a blessing for us all.
Stuart continues to work in Information Services. Starting up the new Senegal field service has gone well, and we are now turning our attention to upgrading all the ship computers from Windows 7 to Windows 10, which will be our big project for several months.
It’s a great team again this year. The new members have been fantastic additions, and we are also benefiting from several of us having worked together on-board for a number of years now.
Traditionally Information Services has flown well under the radar when it comes to appearing in Mercy Ships videos or marketing material, however we’ve been in the limelight a bit recently. An Information Services recruitment video was released, and I also had my moment of fame narrating a Mercy Ships overview video.
Links to both videos are included below.
Information Services Recruitment Video
Mercy Ships Overview Video
At the beginning of every field service the hospital has an open evening, and the crew have an opportunity to visit and practice some medical tasks on the wards and in the operating theatres! We visited as a family for the first time this year as we felt the boys were old enough to appreciate it and it was an amazing opportunity for them to, among other things, practice giving an injection, or do a sterile dressing. Stuart and I both commented afterwards, where in the world would your kids (or adults for that matter!) get an opportunity to visit a fully functional operating theatre?! That’s just one of the blessings of living on a hospital ship!
An exciting adventure is coming up for us all as we travel to the USA in a few weeks. Stuart needs to connect with the guys he works with at the International Support Centre (ISC) in Texas and so we saw it as an opportunity to go back to where it all began for us nearly 10 years ago. For those that don’t know Stuart and I met on the orientation course run by Mercy Ships at the ISC in September 2010 before we then served together for two years in 2011 and 2012, so it’ll be a sweet trip down memory lane and a chance to reconnect with some dearly loved friends. We’re also tagging on a little time in the Pacifc North West to visit some ship friends that have returned home.
We’re excited about the coming year here in Senegal and want to thank all of you again for your support and love for us. We believe the Kingdom is being built, not just through the medical capacity building, and the surgeries (although these are life giving and God’s goodness in action), but by the presence and light of Jesus that we carry with us wherever we go. We all who believe in Jesus carry His hope and love wherever we are in the world, and whatever we’re doing, so let us run with perseverance the race set before us, looking to Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith!
Jàmm ak jàmm (Wolof phrase meaning “peace on peace”).