11 July 2012

wordless wednesday (except for where there are words)

Thought we'd share a few pictures....this post's theme: "less talking, more looking."
Our Gateway Class - students & leaders.  It's incredible how quickly "faces & names" on a roster become friends - strangers become brothers & sisters...so grateful for the way the Body of Christ works. We're excited to be serving with these folks - some will be going with us to the ship...others will continue working here in Texas.
Harmen, Dave the dentist & Nick on one of their "Wall-y-ball" nights.


Mr. Nick & Mr. Dave throwing Caroline around.

Mr. Nick & Mr. Dave throwing Eli around

Pizza in Van, Texas!  Cash Family Field Trip!

 Playing outside at the IOC (International Operating Center)(ie: where we've lived since we've been in Texas!)

Fun with "bubba teeth" thanks to a package from the Wells' Family! (or...what our teeth would like like without the love and care of the incredible Dr. Awesome)(Tyler Myers)
It's semi-hard to believe (and unbelieveably "right" to know!) that we're leaving for West Africa in less than 5 days. Keep praying! (the "please pray!" page of this blog stays relatively current with ideas of how you can be praying for us and our team).

Surely there will be more to come!!

02 July 2012

thoughts from nick!

After 24 days in East Texas, we have:
  • extinguished 3 actual fires (in full fireman gear!),
  • consumed 4 12-packs of Cherry Coke,
  • practiced life raft safety and water survival training,
  • made 38 new friends from 8 different nations,
  • revived 2 manikins using CPR and an AED,
  • made 6 trips to the airport (we love our nannies so much!),
  • learned official Coast Guard crowd management techniques,
  • found a fantastic local Donut Shop (still not quite as good as Golden Donuts, though),
  • discovered our unique, God-given blend of personality types and spiritual gifts,
  • practiced conflict resolution and new culture immersion, and
  • learned several new phrases in Dutch: “Goedemorgen! Hoe gaat het met je? Hartelijk dank!”
As I reflect back on the past 3+ weeks of training and preparation here in East Texas, I am filled with gratitude that we were not just thrown aboard the ship all at once.  From a purely practical standpoint, we are hanging over the brink of a tremendous culture shock - not only the shock of living on a new continent, but also the very unique shock of life aboard a ship!  We will be living, working, eating, worshipping, relaxing - everything we do! - in VERY tight community with 450 other people from around the world - contained within a confined space - attached to an impoverished African nation.  This is an entirely brand-new way of life for almost every single person joining Mercy Ships!

From a social standpoint, I am grateful that we are getting to know a large number of our fellow new crew here at “camp” this summer.  Through this 5-week experience of training together here in East Texas, we will arrive aboard the ship with 38 new friends and a basic understanding of ship life - as opposed to arriving knowing no one and nothing about the ship!

And spiritually speaking, how can I possibly describe the immense value of soaking in God’s word, character, and values for 8 hours each day...!!!  It’s incredible!  This place is a crucible for personal spiritual growth, community-life development, and shipboard preparation.  It’s exactly what we need before embarking on a journey that will transform practically everything we’ve ever known about lives!

A little calendar update: two weeks from yesterday (on July 15) we will arrive at the West African coastal city of Accra, Ghana with our 38 new fellow crew mates.  We will travel about 8 hours inland (by vans) to a tiny village called Pai Ketanka in the Volta Region, rarely visited or thought about by outsiders.  We will serve the precious people of Pai Ketanka for 16 days with Scripture, prayer, encouragement, construction, play, and friendship.  Then we will travel back to Accra (on August 1) to fly up to the island of Tenerife off the coast of Morocco, where we will meet up with the ship the M/V Africa Mercy, where we will move aboard our new floating home!

I can’t express enough my gratitude for the host of generous friends, family members, and churches who have made our going possible.  We can serve as full-time volunteers because of your tremendous generosity.  Thank you, thank you, THANK YOU!!!

Surely there will be more to come!