Sunday, 7 December 2008

Leaving Liberia...

How do I sum up the most amazing and unbelievable 13 months into one blog entry? It can't really be done. But I will share something I wrote a couple of weeks ago. It is by no means exhaustive, but it gives an idea as to what has happened the past year. I am so thankful and blessed to be able to have served with Mercy Ships:

Let me just first say how thankful I am to God that he called me on this wonderful adventure with Mercy Ships. It has certainly been the experience of a lifetime.

I would also like to thank all of you who have supported me, either in prayer or financially, through my ministry here in Liberia, West Africa. I have really appreciated it and also hope you have enjoyed hearing my news and sharing in my stories from the M/V Africa Mercy.

If you had told me two years ago that I would be serving as a missionary onboard a hospital ship in Monrovia, Liberia, I would probably have laughed out loud. I did not see it as my future. But God has amazing ways of working and shaping events to meet His will for your life. And I am so thankful to have followed when He called. I’m not going to share about my call to Mercy Ships now, but rather just tell you what He has done in my life over the past year.
Both through the work I did at Reception and now in Communications, I have been stretched and challenged, but it is wonderful to see how God has grown me and helped me discover different sides of myself I never knew existed: a side that is more confident, a side that is able to make friends more easily, a side that can deal with situations that demand a cool head. The list goes on.
But I am most thankful for the opportunities I’ve had here to get involved with the people of Liberia. They are warm, loving people who continue to amaze me with the love they show to us. Over my time here I have been involved with God’s Children Home, one of the orphanages that Mercy Ships are involved in. I have also been involved with leading a Bible Study for a group of teenage guys out at New Matadi, a district of Monrovia. Here I have been shown unconditional acceptance and warmth. These kids really care for us. It was difficult saying goodbye.

Forget about stereotypes and prejudices and what the world says is happening in Liberia. We see the changes here in people’s lives. Our God truly is an awesome God.

I am also thankful for the wonderful friends I have made here over the past nearly thirteen months. Some of these friendships were just for a season. Others will last a lifetime. God has been so faithful. God has been revealing to me my own character strengths and weaknesses in my daily interactions with these friends, for which I am thankful. It is certainly a melting-pot of different cultures with 33 different nationalities living together. Despite occasional personality clashes and cultural misunderstandings, this is by far the closest thing to heaven that I have ever witnessed.

And what does the future hold? Well, 2009 is looming large and I am trusting in God to provide. I have a rough plan of what I would like to do, and I’ll just say that I’m keeping my options open for now. A return to Mercy Ships could be possible, but I’ll keep you posted on that.

May God continue to bless you in whatever area you serve Him.

I started this blog back in October 2007 as a means to record my thoughts and keep those interested updated on my progress here on the Mercy Ship. As such, I named it "Murray's Mercy Ship Adventure" and gave it the web address But it is not the end of my adventure. My story will continue. And it is this Mercy Ship adventure that has shaped me, changed me forever. And I am so thankful. So this blog will remain, and I will keep you updated on my progress back in Cape Town here. So stay posted for more. God bless you all.

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