Wanted to share with you some of the great people we have had the honor to know and work with the past 6 weeks. They will always be our “family” and look forward to seeing and reconnecting with them again!
Josue is the 30 year old who works with me in Starbucks and the Shipshop. Born and raised in Togo, a small country on the western side of Africa his country is literally rocks throw from the Ebola striken countries. He joined MercyShips over a year ago after meeting another volunteer during a MercyShip medical field service to his country. He was saved at an early age by an amazing young pastor who mentored him and is still a huge part of Josue’s life! His dad left the family of 6 when Josue was an elementary school boy and felt he needed to quit schooling to raise money for his mother and two younger sisters still at home. He had never returned to classes until MercyShips came into his life! They have an amazing gal from California whos job aboard the ship is helping educate third-world volunteers and has enrolled Josue in GED prep classes…all earning straight a’s!! So proud of his hard work!
During work a couple weeks back he was unusually quiet, far different from his non-stop smiling and laughter. I asked him if he wanted to talk and he broke into tears!!! I was thinking oh Boy…did a loved one die? He shook his head and told me he’s been praying for a Dad who would take him places, talk to him, and encourage him…exactly what Bob has been doing since meeting him!!! He shared how God has answered his prayer for a “dad”, even if for a short time while we are here on the ship. We havent left anywhere since without taking him too! He absolutely lights up the room with his humor and deep appreciation for what God continues to do in his life! A true joy to be with never asking for materialistic things…just wanting to have a Dad!!! And when we do buy him something like a hamburger or take him to see the Minion movie, he gets teary-eyed when he says “thanks Mom and Dad”… Can’t say I’ve ever been moved by someone’s acts of kindness to tears!
Please pray he will continue to find volunteers to pay his $750.00/month crew fees, needs a lap top computer eventually for college courses, and continues safety for his real mom and other siblings still in Togo. I promised him God will provide his needs, not always what he wants… But NEEDS and with the amazing work done by this Christ-centered organization, Josue will always be cared for! And I have a sneaky feeling his “dad” will help him with crew fees!!!
Paul and Laura googling how long hippo’s can hold their breath…5 minutes!
We met Danny the first weekend and immediately fell in love with her! She’s originally from Madagascar, joined as a day-worker last year during the Madagascar field service helping in the cafeteria. She shared her story with Bob and myself…still amazed at the strength this little lady has found in the Lord! She told us she lost her husband over 8 years ago, at a young age sounds like he had undiagnosed heart disease. She said she and her three sons struggled to make ends meet, even taking a job on a commercial freighter as a cook. Almost three years ago, she told us her sons were fishing along the coast of Madagascar and somehow, unnoticed all three were caught in a rip-tide, drowning all three! Never recovered a body to bury, she’s alone now and has found a “family” aboard the MercyShip! She smiles, giggles, and loves LOVES hugs! She loves the Lord and knows “He will never leave or forsake her”! What an inspiration to many aboard who like Danny too have lost immediate loved ones. She knows and shares in their loss and reminds them that we serve a living God! I will miss her!
This is Paul standing by the elephant, along with Laura and myself. Paul started the same day Bob and I did and we have “adopted” him too as parents! And Laura calls him her little brother! He’s a missionary kid raised and schooled in the Congo. He’s a homeschooled absolute genius! He is on the IT team and can fix anything computer related! Planning to head back to the states after he leaves here, also when we do finishing his degree in computer science. He’s a “self taught” pianist, can’t read music at all and what a talent! There’s nothing he can’t play by ear hearing the tune once, and says he plays everything in F sharp! NOT the key of “C” like myself and everyone else I know! He and Bob have fun bantering back and forth! When Paul first met us, he asked if we did anything off the ship, he too would love to come along!…..so…poor Paul, I told him we had decided to bungy jump off the top of the huge Soccer stadium, sharing that if anything happened with the first jump, they GUARANTEED a second jump for free! Poor guy…just stood staring at me! “But Eileen, I’m scared to death of heights!” “Me too Paul! I’ll push you first”…..then I couldn’t keep a straight face, and boy he let out the biggest sigh! Phew!!! “Eileen, I thought you were serious!” so now he asks Bob if we are really doing what I planned, simple trips, to and from church, the malls, the Indian Ocean, etc! What a great sport! We too will miss him!
Laura, in many shared photos above has become a very special friend during this service. She’s from Hawaii, one of the smartest, kindest gals I know! Just finished her masters in engineering, also in the National Guard as a Captain, has traveler to 38 different countries, went to school in several countries and what a fun gal to hang out with! Bob and I just spent a weekend off the ship at a golf resort about 45 minutes from the ship! She wanted to play golf in South Africa but poured rain until Sunday! She and another gal were able to get some time on the course, enjoying every minute of the beautiful South Africa course and landscape! Complete with monkeys everywhere! She leaves for Hawaii tomorrow, returning to start applying for jobs and wishing her the very best life has to offer! She’s 100% on fire for the Lord and willing to go where HE directs her life! She’s given many many hours to help those less fortunate, many amazing stories! God bless you precious Laura! Thanks for being my friend aboard the ship…here’s to many years of blessings! and don’t forget to come see us soon!
Well, just one more week! We do miss home, the freedom to come and go off the ship without curfews! Every possible measure is taken to keep us safe and accounted for but will love jumping into our own vehicle, not a taxi, and GO! God has given me a totally different outlook on serving…I’m sure Bob and I will soon be lead to serve! Would LOVE to return to the ship during the field service, witnessing a ship full of happy, very grateful patients, family members and other staff members loving and helping those poorest of the poor! Thanks to all family and friends for the prayers, support, and helping hold down the fort at home! I can’t wait to hug my precious grandkids, let Lilly keep us up for hours playing her ball, and eating fries at McDonalds! Oh the simple life!!! God is alive and working amazing things here! Please continue to keep MercyShips in your prayers!
See you next week!
Love, Bob and Eileen
Although I am currently serving with Mercy Ships, everything communicated here strictly reflects my personal opinions and is neither reviewed nor endorsed by Mercy Ships. Opinions, conclusions and other information expressed here do not necessarily reflect the views of Mercy Ships
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