Saturday, 20 August 2011

LOVE it!

LOVE IT. Whatever it was they used to inject me with on the plane or sneak in my luke warm plastic airline meal  - it’s the same stuff they used before – suddenly my heart came alive and I feel like it’s dancing! May be it’s something to do with working in such an incredible place where we get to pour out God’s love on a nation that has so little or may be it’s the incredible people I work with from all around the world with one unified passion or it could be the humongously juicy mangoes or then again may be it’s just the sight of hope in the eyes of the patients – many of whom have been waiting for surgery for YEARS and years and years….

I’ve only been back a couple of weeks but my initial impressions are of such beauty and of a ministry that has grown and has God right at the centre – it fills me with smiles because when I left back in 2009 I was tired and full of questions about where Mercy Ships was heading. I’ve just got back from a walk out to a café. It’s always good to get off the ship – the crazy in between world that stands next to the sights and sounds of such poverty. Our walk took us through the busiest streets I have ever seen – crowded with market sellers all calling for you to make your purchases from them. It’s almost an impossible task to keep walking, dodging the wheel barrows acting as mobile shops and sacks full of peppers balanced on people’s heads, people sleeping in doorways and the shabby old buses trying to pass each other on roads that were once meant for passing but now so full of people they cause the traffic to snarl up every few seconds – no one gets anywhere fast here. Not to mention the open sewers either side of the road that you run the risk of stepping into as you dodge a big truck pumping out its clouds of black exhaust. Nice. But somehow I love it. Somehow I love the life and vibrancy it brings. Somehow I actually really like that life is not all tidy and structured and sensible. It brings a funny kind of freedom I don’t find at home or on the London tubes where stress rises if you miss one and have to wait a WHOLE 3 minutes before the next one comes. Yeah, I like it here.

One of the treasures this week was reconnecting with a lady called Chris. I first met her in Ghana in 2006 and she had surgery on board the Anastasis. She was living in Ghana since fleeing the war in Liberia. She’s been on a rocky road and needed repeated surgery but now is doing so well and has switched roles over the years from patient to day volunteer (loads of local people work with us to help with jobs and translating etc in each country we go to) and now she is a full on crew member! She was telling me the joys of returning to Liberia and how she found her brothers – she had lost touch with them during the war and didn’t even know if they were alive. As I talked with her I was reminded again how much I take for granted – I’m embarrassed to admit to her face that I have a loving family and beautiful friends and places I like to go to and indulge my selfish face in. Life is so much more about surviving here in West Africa and we don’t know the half of it. She also reminded me that there’s a God out there who makes all things new. He did it for her, He’s done it for me and I’m looking forward to seeing Him do it again and again and again in the lives of the patients we get to meet. We’re doing the usual Facial surgery (cleft lips and palates, tumours etc) together with General surgery (hernias etc), Eye surgery and soon to start Plastic surgery (often releasing contractures formed from untreated burn injuries and such). I love it.

I’m missing family, friends, fresh breezes, summer fruit, Cornish beaches and the wiff of sweet peas but love it here and look forward to seeing God do more than I can ask or imagine. Can’t wait to hear from you… very much love always and forever, KWW (for new followers, that’ll be Kirstie Wirstie Woo) xxxx

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