Monday, May 25, 2015


There are some patients that really plant themselves straight into my heart, and I'll never forget them. Meet 'M,' she has definitely planted some roots that are there to stay.  She hasn't had the easiest journey here, but that smile you see, it hasn't really left her face. She's been discharged and readmitted a few times for bleeding, and through it all she's been patient, and understanding; scared, but trusting; sweet, and loving.  

To celebrate a patient's transformation from wet to dry, and commemorate a fresh start to their new life, we have a party! It's a blast! We get all the ladies together, they get their hair and makeup done, get a pretty, new dress, and get to tell their testimonies.  Unfortunately, M missed the last dress ceremony because she was in the OR.  So yesterday, after having some time to heal after her surgery, we got to celebrate M! 

I love how God is a God of details. He's got things under control far beyond our thinking or awareness.  I was feeling bad that all but one other VVF lady had been discharged, and she was the only one who hadn't had her dress ceremony yet. She was going to be all alone.  But in a way only God could do it, M's husband randomly showed up on the dock with her belongings from the HOPE Center! Perfect timing for her dress ceremony, and just in time so they could go home together. So we celebrated! It was beautiful to see the patients, day crew, and nurses celebrating M! 

During her testimony she told us how she had suffered with her fistula for 2 years, and during that time she let her relationship with God go. Her and her husband stopped going to church, and drifted away from God. She said that through her time on the ship she was reconciled to God, and her relationship with Him restored. I love how God doesn't cast us aside when we leave Him, but instead He seeks us out to restore relationship with Him. 
M left was bittersweet, but mostly sweet because she's going home healed now. I'll miss her, and her me, but I know I'll see her again someday. 

Monday, May 18, 2015


As I was looking through my past blog posts from the start of this blog in 2012, I realized I didn't have many patient stories, actually, any patient stories! Which made me sad that I haven't shared with you all the beautiful people I get to love-on day in and day out. Sooo I decided to start sharing some stories of the ladies that I learn from on a daily basis. I'm keeping their names for them, but you'll still get to know them and their sweet spirits. 

This is 'B.'  You wouldn't know by looking at her, but she is a riot! 

To help pass the time on the ward we often paint nails, braid bracelets, or braid hair...ya know, girly things. What else is there to do with a room full of 20 female patients, 3 female Translators, and 5 female nurses?? (Oh, I forgot to mention that among all this estrogen there are 2-3 male translators who often partake in the girly activities). Well, one day the ladies were all sitting in bed doing an assortment of the aforementioned girly activities when 'B' and her neighbor started bursting out laughing. One of said male translators was talking to 'B,' and she told him, and I quote,"The men in our village are Casanovas, and better looking than you. Now when we go back to our village we'll know how to do our hair, paint our nails, and look nice. We'll all get husbands."  

Women are the same on both sides of the sea...

Saturday, May 16, 2015

Transformation...inside and out

I often get wrapped up in VVF Land and forget to look around me. Not only are lives changed on my ward with the ladies, but all around me lives are changing. Limbs that were crooked are now straight; noses that weren't there, are now there; devastation from burns, healed. There are too many amazing surgeries are happening on the wards surrounding me to not mention them here. Take a look for yourself, transformation is so clear, not just on the outside...






These are just a few examples of the life changing work being done here. One word comes to mind when I think of these patients, 'Trust.'  They trust God enough to sell all their belongings to make it to the big white ship for healing; they trust enough to not listen to the words of naysayers who speak lies and fear; they trust enough to walk up the gangway and down into the belly of the ship; they trust us with their lives when they roll into that operating room, and into a world of unknown.

I need to learn from them...

Where do I need to trust God when fear is taking over?  I can think of a few...  

Friday, May 15, 2015

Restoring Homes

This is what I get to be a part of here, and why my heart is continually pulled back here. 


Friday, May 1, 2015


These past two weeks have been interesting...

     From raging fevers to patients hemorrhaging at 6 in the morning, to tears of sadness as hope is shattered with one word "tis maina" 'not dry', to celebrations of dryness. I could hardly catch my breath before the next challenge hit. In the midst of the chaos I was acutely aware that I was not the One in control. I have never felt so out of control and relied on God so heavily in all my times here. There's something that happens when things are slipping from your grip and you're reminded of life's fragility. I'm so blown away by the community of faith that I serve alongside. I realized what lucky a gal I am to have friends and strangers covering me and my ladies in prayer when I walked into the ward the next morning to find men and women from different departments on the ship standing outside my ward praying together for the VVF ladies.  

     I'm amazed by God's timing of events over and over again. I didn't know that when I woke up that Thursday morning and went down to my ward early, that right at that exact moment a nurse caring for my patient on the next ward over, would be coming to ask for help for a patient that had started bleeding. Within 30 minutes the patient was stabilized and the whole OR team was ready and wheeling her into the OR. If she was at a local hospital she would have no doubt bled to death.  I also had no idea in that moment that that patient going back to OR would tip the balance and the ward nurses over the edge and we had to postpone surgeries the next day and resume surgeries on Monday.  Who knew that afternoon a dental patient would have a cyst removed from under her tongue that would start bleeding 30 mins later and nearly obstruct her airway? Just millimeters from not being able to breathe when we just happened to have an open OR to take her into because VVF wasn't operating that day. I could go on and on with ways God has shown up in the midst of chaos, and worked the bad for His good. It blows me away. Every. Time.