My parents just got to the Africa Mercy docked in Lome, Togo. I thought I would share this Email from them summarizing their field training as I thought it was pretty powerful. Not to mention my mom rode a motorcycle taxi! I think they’re right where the Lord wants them. Needless to say I’m really proud of them and I can’t wait to join in!
EDIT: a side note, the photos were taken before they left by my sister in Seattle. I had a few comments about that, I’ll post photos from their training and trip soon.
That sliding into heaven sideways thing might be for real!
Our van did not show up on Thursday so 6 of us hopped on the back of motorcycle taxis in Abomey. I am not known for impulsive behavior so ???…in a skirt and flip flops…WITHOUT a helmet…on dirt paths and potholed, paved roads in a place with indiscernible traffic laws. I told Nils that it was time to get to the ship because the risk taking was escalating to a level that would result in me being dead within a week.
The trip to the ship went smoothly and now we’re adjusting to reverse culture shock. Suddenly going from developing to developed was a bit overwhelming. However, reading a book in a comfortable chair with popcorn was lovely.
On the last day at the prison I made sure to explore more of the women’s section. The “toilet/shower room” and “solitary confinement” would not be tolerated by animal activists let alone those who monitor human rights. We tried to let the women know that God has not forgotten them and that we won’t either. Our role is mainly prayer. Prison Fellowship is in the country and will be receiving a letter.
The wind up in the boy’s section was powerful. The guard who has been a prisoner for 10 years and came in as a Muslim remarked that since the pastors and teams have come in he has seen a difference in the behavior of the boys. This was gratifying as we had heard concerns about a lack of change in people’s lives after professing to know God.
Leaving the children had me in tears. I even contemplated making space in our luggage but God is the Father and Provider for these kids. The solutions and rescources need to mainly come from within Africa. We need to support what the Africans are doing.
And we’re finally on the Africa Mercy. They are packing up to sail to South Africa to replace the generators but there is still lots to see and learn. Not only does the ship provide important surgeries, it is quite the PR tool for other quality organizations in West Africa. May God bring much hope and healing to the forgotten poor of this region.
We will probably send another update before flying home on August 9th. I’ll try to act like a 50-something lady until then.
Sue and Nils