07 November 2014

Screening & Such

For those of you who have been around with us the past couple of years (and for those of you who have been around Mercy Ships long before we came onto the scene!), you will know that in the past, our patient screening process has primarily been one, massive, day-long event where thousands of people line up.  One-by-one, the patients come through our screening process where it is determined whether or not they will be able to receive surgery.  

This year, Mercy Ships has implemented a new screening process -- the reasons behind this are many (we're happy to share them with you if you'd like to hear!) - but it mainly comes down to best practices and the way to best serve the country of Madagascar!  Smaller screening events will now take place throughout the entire field service -- the first of which began this week. 

Here are a few pictures that were taken earlier this week.  What a joy it is to think that these pictures represent thousands of Malagasy lives that will be forever changed in the coming weeks and months (not to mention the hundreds of nurses and doctors whose lives will forever be changed as they care for these patients)...

If you're interested, here's a blog post from Sierra - one of our writers onboard.  She shares "the Starfish story" that we love so much and her screening experience.
Yes, there are many in the line that had to hear a very hard and disappointing "no, we're very sorry, but we are unable to help with your condition..." But even those who weren't given an appointment card encountered the love of Jesus as they were seen and talked to and prayed for.  Please pray for those that received a "no" -- may they know their great worth even in the midst of struggling with whatever issue it is that they are suffering with.

Please also pray for those who received the ever hopeful "Yes" -- may God give them patience as they wait for their appointment day and then may they receive the best possible care and treatment as they come onto the ship.
And please pray for our Screening Team -- Mirjam, Jasmine, Naomi, and Nate (others certainly help them -- but the vast majority of the screening work falls to these four). They will continue these screenings here in Toamasina for three more weeks, and then they will travel to other parts of the country to continue finding patients.  Pray for strength, endurance, and energy.  

Want to know one of our favorite things about these pictures?

One of our favorite things is KNOWING the crew in the pictures....that's not just some guy blowing bubbles -- that's our friend Peter making a kid's wait in line a bit brighter and more fun.  This is the same Peter who teaches Eli karate and shares chocolate chip cookies and has Adel songs on his ipod.
And this isn't just another person giving an eye test.  This is Therese from Norway who met the love of her life in Congo and who gives and serves selflessly on the Eye Team.
And this is not just a random lovely lady taking notes on a potential patient.  This is our friend Jas.  Jas who speaks life and Truth and has a creative flare that many just dream about.  This is Jas who is a coffee connoisseur and has a brilliant accent and generously shares herself and her friendship. 

And these aren't just 3 people taking a break and chatting it up.  These are 3 strong and mighty ladies who have boatloads of knowledge, experience, and passion.  Kirstie, Mirjam and Michelle... our Hospital Director, Screening Coordinator, and Deputy Chief Medical Officer, respectively.

What a privilege to get to know these people and share life with them here on the Africa Mercy.  We get to live and serve and play and pray with some incredible people!

We can't tell you enough how beautiful it is to see the hospital coming alive again after months of being dormant... this week patients have been onboard for pre-surgery consultations and further screening.  On Monday, patients will be admitted to the hospital, and on Tuesday the first surgeries will take place.

These photos were on a nurse's Facebook wall today.  It shows the nurses as they looped around the wards and through the OR to pray together over the hospital. We thought it was beautiful and certainly worth sharing.
It's good to be here.

Surely there will be more to come.