Sunday, 20 September 2015

restoring design

What’s it all about?

It’s been a busy few weeks as this place has swung into action. The Hospital laid dormant for a couple of months – it became a thoroughfare, a building site, a warehouse…. a place I did not recognize.

But as the mooring lines landed just 3 weeks ago and the medical staff stopped their work as cooks and cleaners and dining room workers and returned to Deck 3... the place took on new life. The work of the Father became evident in it again. He was making it all new. He had been there all the time.

You see without the building site part, it could never be the Hospital part. We don’t exist independently. Without the restoring and creative work of the engineers and electricians and carpenters…. this place we call a Hospital would have crumbled away a while back – or at least not be functioning as well as it does. Every year there is work unseen – pipes are laid, rooms are renovated, floors are re-laid – it all goes on when the Hospital staff have escaped… our part of the ‘body’ takes some rest whilst another part works diligently.  They do it for us. They do their part, so we can do ours. Humbling isn’t it.

And that’s what our Hospital is all about. That’s what is at the heart of it. Our Heavenly Father – He’s always restoring His design. Whether it’s in our furnishing and function… whether it’s in the hearts and minds of those who work here as our rough edges brush up against others… or whether it’s a tumour invaded face finding it’s form again or an arm able to envelop another for the first time in years…. it’s all about restoring function.

It’s endless.

Whether it’s the songs of the ladies who pace the corridors on their daily walks as they recover from the injuries of traumatic labour – the unity they find, the solidarity, the safety – healing not just for their leaking bladders but in their hearts too. Or the cries of children as they process the fear and the unknown of being on a big white ship…. and find love…. or even the simple hernia that has troubled a proud man for years that gets repaired….

Restoring design. It’s the heart of our Father. And it’s what we’re all about.

So here’s to 35 weeks of surgery ahead, to the sharing of knowledge, to the mentoring opportunities that will deposit hope and release life, to clubfeet which will learn to dance on the injustice that they were born into.  To the thousands of Malagasy who will teach us not of the ‘poor and needy’ but what it is to be rich in heart and beautiful in spirit. To the opportunities to learn from each other and discover new life. To restored design in whatever form.

We watch with thanks that we get to be a part of the story. For all the restoring that He has already done and will continue to do…. we give Him all the Glory.

Sunday, 6 September 2015

here we go

Hello from the ocean blue! Having spent a few weeks in Durban, South Africa whilst our Ship got fixed up and ready for the season ahead, we're finally on our way. In fact last night I sat outside to eat my dinner and spotted not just a whale nearby but LAND! We could quite clearly see the south eastern coastline of Madagascar and a sense of, 'it's really happening' dawned on me and I realised once again the privilege to live on this floating home.

The last few weeks have not been without their trouble and even after we set sail, we had more hitches that held us up a few days before we could finally say that we're on our way. The unexpected few extra weeks in South Africa have been a good time to reflect and team build, not to mention see some of beautiful South Africa. I even found some snow, and yes, I did have a little sledge down a slope! I'm certain God is not the author of 'bad things' but I do see how he uses delays and things like this - we've been on our knees and the time has forced us to fix our eyes on Him... and to remember where our hope comes from.

As we look to the time ahead in Madagascar, I've been thinking about all the opportunities that lie ahead. God is infinitely creative and always has fresh ideas. It's an exciting life with Him, isn't it?

Have you thought lately about what ideas.... what seeds you are planting into the future generation? Your friends? Your family? Your own life? Are you planting seeds of life? Ones that will keep on bearing fruit?

It's a joy to work for an organization who lives and breathes the things that make my heart beat. To work with like minded people who care about the same things I care about and who get mad about the same things I get mad about. It's refreshing. It enables me to myself somehow. It gives me courage to stretch and reach for the Jesus dreams that have been planted inside me. And what a privilege it is to stand on the shoulders of those who have walked before me and who have dared to believe.

How can we do the same? How do we face such never-ending need? Such devastating poverty? How do we know which seeds we should plant? And where? There are opportunities everywhere! These are questions I find myself asking - as Hospital Director on the AFM - and as Kirstie Randall living in Community here. How do we do it? How do we not run dry? How do we not grow weary doing good?

In Isaiah 55:8 it says that God's thoughts are not our thoughts. And His ways are not our ways.

Jesus wasn't driven by need and opportunity.

Jesus only did what the Father told him to do.

Good ideas only last until a better idea comes along. Good ideas inherently lack capacity to withstand pressure.

God ideas have resurrection life and can never die.

Are the seeds that you are planting releasing their potential? Do you need to do some pruning? Get rid of some bad ideas? Even some good ones? Good ideas compete with God ideas.

It's my prayer for me - for my team - for us as an organization - as we embrace a new Field Service and all the decisions ahead. I pray that we would strip ourselves from selfish ambition, from pride, from anything that would tangle our hearts and minds from discerning what the will of the Father is.

So that we may walk with a freedom and a heart that is committed not to good ideas that jump at every opportunity and need in front of us, but to the God ideas that He breathes into us.

I'm looking forward to all that lies ahead - whether it's a couple of thousand surgeries or stories of transformation people experience when they take part in one of the many medical training courses we will be running,... or in the new Obstetric Fistula Centre we are setting up or in the new Ponseti Clinic (Clubfoot treatment). Whether it's stories of transformation of buildings as we renovate the Operating Rooms in the local University Hospital, or of people's hearts and attitudes - including my own - it all thrills me, because it's what we're all about. It's what Jesus is all about. Redemption. New hope, new life. Love it.

Grace, peace and all wisdom to you as you sift through the dreams in your heart and find the ones Jesus has planted right there. Run after them!

Much love as always, KWW