Monday, September 10, 2012


     My heart is heavy today.  It's full of mixed emotions. On one hand I'm excited, and elated that the hospital is open, and life-saving surgeries are happening.  On the other hand, the realization that we can't help everyone is tangible. This is so hard for me to understand at times. It makes me so aware of our human condition, and the limitations of this world. It is physically impossible to help everyone and the need is overwhelming. It is beyond our control, ability, and responsibility. But with that I'm reminded that God is in control, and that is far better than me being in control.  He loves and cares for everyone in a way that I'm unable. 

     Yesterday I had to look into the tear-filled eyes of a man crying out for help, and tell him that we couldn't help him.  I'll call him "A." A had surgery with Mercy Ships just one short year ago in Freetown, Sierra Leone.  He had a mass growing in the back of his throat, and after removing the mass we found out that it was cancer.  In a set of seemingly random circumstances, "A" made it to the port gates just in time to run into one of our nurses, and crew members.  "A's" cancer had come back and was blocking his throat again.  With his voice at a forced whisper, he tells me "just take it out and I'll leave tomorrow."  Unable to eat, or even swallow his own saliva,  "A" was severely emaciated.  I wish I could say that we were able to take it out and everything was fine, but it wasn't.  Myself, our surgeon, doctor, and a counselor had to explain to him that we couldn't just remove it and everything would be fine.  It would come back, as it already had.  He went through the stages of dying right in front my very eyes, and to my surprise, ended with a thankful blessing on us and our families. I walked him to the gangway with a bag of nutritional supplements, and tears in my eyes.

    I can't accept God's blessings without also accepting hard times. Proverbs 3:5 says to "Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding."  I don't understand why God allowed "A" to make it all the way to the ship from Sierra Leone, to only be turned away by us. But I have to trust and know that God is good.  He will leave a multitude to find the one that is lost.  I am confident that we were able to love and care for "A" despite not doing surgery; and that is Love in action.  Pray for "A."  Pray for me.



  1. Thanks for sharing your heart with us. It is never easy to see someone suffering and know that there is nothing physically that we can do for them except to pray!

  2. Steph! Thank you for sharing. My heart is heavy with what God is teaching you, and doing there. Thank you for allowing us to see such a real example of God's perfect knowlegde and love in action. I am praying the people and praying for you. I am confident He is at work in both of your lives, pouring out love and hope in the darkest of moments. Love you, Erica

  3. I am praying for you and A right now.

  4. Dear Stephanie, Just want to tell you, you are so brave and stong. When I hear stories of people hurting it helps me to know that in time, those who have suffered will know love and comfort greater than anything we could imagine here on earth. It doesn't fix things, or make it any easier on people like you who are brave enough to live a life where you make a difference, but I believe it's true!
    Take care of yourself, amazing lady! You make this world a better place with your generous and beautiful heart!

  5. "I can't accept God's blessings without also accepting hard times" . . . thank you for this reminder!