Friday, 16 May 2008

A Greater Perspective...

I know it's been over two weeks since I last posted, but to be honest I am struggling with subject matter at the moment. And it seems the subject matter I would deal with, such as friends leaving, is just getting too depressing. So I would just like to share a verse that I read the other day... Just because it really shows me where my focus should be.

So a few days ago I was reading over some letters from home. Letters that friends and family had given me when I left back in November. Letters to comfort me. And letters to encourage me. I've been feeling a bit depressed and lonely here on the Mercy Ship, and so the purpose of this was to try and refocus and get reinspired for why I am here. And so I was reading through these letters and I was struck down when I read this one verse. It is Job 1: 21, and I quote from the NIV version:

Naked I came from my mother's womb,

and naked I shall depart.

The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away;

may the name of the Lord be praised.

Things have been difficult with so many close friends leaving, but for me this verse just offered so much hope. God gave me these friendships and he has taken them away. Some of the friends I make here I may never see again. But the emphasis should not be on the friends that I've lost - as I've made it over the past few weeks - but rather on the blessings that God has given me. If I focus on these lost friendships, I will just feel depressed and hurt. But if I focus on God and on his many blessings in my life, and if I praise him no matter what, then my soul will never be thirsty again. God bless.

Thursday, 1 May 2008

The Jesus Film...

So the other day I had the opportunity of joining some Mercy Shippers in going and showing the Jesus Film to a community out at New Georgia, about a ten-kilometre drive from the ship. We took two Land Rovers and went out in convoy - Lars, the Security Officer, drove the one with all the equipment, and I drove the other with most of the Mercy Shippers. The Jesus Film is the story of Jesus according to the Gospel of Luke. It was amazing to watch out in an open-air setting, with the film being projected from inside the Land Rover onto a large screen. The screen itself was attached to the Land Rover.

Before we even left the ship we had a prayer session asking God to work in people's lives. And boy, did He work! Before the film, the Pastor who organises the films (which are shown on Wednesday, Friday and Saturday evenings - in different locations every week) in conjunction with Mercy Ships, spoke on the loud speaker and invited people to come and watch the story of Jesus. And the people came. When we started the film, there were perhaps 50 people sitting, watching the film. But when we finished this number had risen to around 500! And what was even more special was that, during the movie, when we invited people up front to accept Christ, over 150 came forward! It was so awesome to see God working in such a tangible, real way!

It was also great in that every miracle Jesus did, in the movie, was met by loud applause and cheering. And when Christ was crucified, people cried and screamed, only to rejoice again when Jesus rose from the dead and appeared to his disciples. It just brought things into sharp focus. We are here to make a difference. It's all about winning people for the Kingdom. That's all it should ever be about.

While I'm typing here I feel I should give you an update on my little adopt-a-patient (remember Matthew?). He was discharged a couple of weeks ago and returns about twice a week for a dressing change and some occupational therapy to his hand. I try and make it down to see him when he comes to the ward for his check-ups. He is recovering well from the surgery which separated his third and pinkie finger on his left hand. They had been fused together by boiling oil back in 2005. He is a very brave boy. And seeing first-hand what our nurses and medical staff go through again underlines to me the wonderful health care staff we have here. We truly are blessed. However, at the moment we are facing quite a drastic shortage of nurses, so please pray that God would send more nurses to us. And if you are a nurse - or know of any nurses - please consider sacrificing a month or two of your time to help the people of Liberia. It will be an experience that you will never forget! God bless.