Wednesday, 25 June 2008

So Long, Farewell...

This past weekend saw a number of my close friends leave the Mercy Ship. Peter Fullerton, of Scotland, and Jay Brundage, of New York, both departed on Friday. They were both "Deckies" and had served admirably throughout this whole outreach. Jay joined the ship in Monrovia last October, and Peter joined in Tenerife in January. A while back I wrote a short article on Peter, and I feel that it is somewhat fitting to reproduce it here:

"Whilst keeping a grasp of one's heritage is important serving on the Mercy Ship, there are more important things for volunteer Peter Fullerton. Peter, 25, is from Kintore, Scotland and volunteers as a Deck Hand on the M/V Africa Mercy. He joined the ship in Tenerife and, as he has a background in Civil and Structural Engineering, initially wanted to serve in CDS. However, he was placed in Deck Department and has thoroughly loved the experience. As Peter says, “I'm really chuffed that it worked out the way it did”.

But it is not just in Deck Department that Peter serves the ship (and the Lord). He is involved in showing the Jesus Film on certain Wednesdays and helps with the construction of an orphanage on his weekends. Peter has also been a real blessing to the crew. Being a native of Scotland, he is familiar with the bagpipes, and is a talented musician with this instrument in hand. He learnt the bagpipes at a young age, as his father is a piper. Peter has also organised Ceilidhs out on the dock, and these have brought much entertainment to the crew. Ceilidhs are traditional Scottish dances that are held at most important events, such as weddings, birthdays, New Year's eve, Christmas, and are thus integral in Scottish culture.

Peter has been sharing his trade with the children in the Academy. As he says, “That was a highlight for me [...] it was great to show them an instrument they'd never seen”. After letting the children play his pipes, they had an impromptu band practice up on Deck 7, with marching, drums and cymbals. And as Peter realises, he is also using his talents to glorify God. Living in a Christian community is, in Peter's words, “quite a beautiful thing. And any talents or gifts that you have if you share with others in fellowship, I think, you worship God.”

When asked where he gets his most fulfillment from, serving here in Liberia, Peter is quick to point out that it is seen in the interaction between other people. And this is especially due to the “love and compassion that you can just witness, especially when you walk through the hospital on Deck 3. It's quite amazing.” Asked to sum up his Mercy Ships experience, Peter says that it's all about love or beauty. And this can be clearly seen in his involvement here on the Mercy Ship."

On Monday one of my closest friends departed. Lisa Welker had served as an OR Nurse for three months, and had been a blessing to all whom she had met. We'd spent many hours out on the dock walking, chatting, laughing and praying together. She taught me a lot about myself, and instilled in me a self-confidence that I have often struggled to find. As is my custom with close friends leaving, I drove her to the airport. But I must say it was a very sad farewell.
All three of these crew members have a special place in my heart and will be sorely missed.

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