Dinner at the Presidents!

Dinner with the President! Yes you read correctly, I was invited to eat at  at the presidents palace, well me and 350 other crew members.  hehe!   Here is the article printed after this very memorable event:

Mercy Ships Is Honored by the Republic of Benin  

Cotonou, Benin, West Africa, November 17, 2009 - Mercy Ships received a high honor given by the President of the Republic of Benin, H.E. Dr Thomas Yayi Boni, for bringing hope and healing to the forgotten poor. At a special State Dinner, H.E. President Boni conveyed the gratitude of his government and the people of Benin to those who serve on the Africa Mercy.  All the Cabinet members from President Boni’s administration were in attendance.  Busses carried 350 crew members, representing over 30 different nations, to the Governmental Palace in Contonou for the formal dinner.  The guests were also entertained by a performance troupe displaying native dance and musical performance. The President was insistent that all Mercy Ships crew were honored and thoughtfully delivered the same native cuisine served at the event to the estimated 80 crew members who remained in service onboard the Africa Mercy.   


In addition to the state dinner, Medals were awarded to Mercy Ships crew at the Palace that bestowed diplomatic status and privilege to report directly to the Minister of Foreign Affairs in honor of the 2009 Mercy Ships Field Service.  This rare privilege is primarily reserved for national diplomats and not charitable organizations. Commendations of Commandeur de l'Ordre National du Benin (or Commanders of the Republic) award were given to Mercy Ships co-founders, Don and Deyon Stephens, and to Chief Eye Surgeon on the Africa Mercy, Dr. Glenn Strauss. This medal is highly regarded in all nations and is a lifetime award. 


President Boni conveyed his thanks to Mercy Ships for their second visit to his nation this decade and for the love and care they showed the people of Benin. Mercy Ships follows the 2000-year-old model of Jesus in bringing hope and healing to all the people they serve– without regard to religion, ethnicity, or color. 




Sunday morning I arrived to work to start my 12 hour shift. I was a little sad because on this day was the big soccer match with the Crew vs. Day workers in which they got to play on a real GRASS field. The night before I was talking to a friend and he said that there was probably a good reason that God wanted me to work and not play. Suuuurre, I thought and prayed that if so God would show me.
I had 4 children that day. Two of whom were not too happy with me and actually one of them told the translator that I was a witch and I was trying to kill her because I kept making her drink things that made her vomit. Ugh! The other little girl had what we call “Yovo phobia”. Yovo is the name they use for white people, and this little one was VERY afraid of all whites but I just made things worse as I tried to pour medicine down her throat and ripped off tape on her face. Yeah she hated me too and if she could talk she probably would have said I was a witch as well. Ugh!
As you can see my day was a little tougher than I had wanted. Near the end of my shift Yovo phobia girl let me hold her and soon we were playing soccer together and witch girl wellll we’re still working on that. Anyway near the end of my shift a little boy walked in. He was holding tightly to his Aunt’s hand as tears streamed down his face. I waved and said “Bonswa” and then the Aunt pointed to his eyes and motioned that he was blind. I thought about how scary this must be to walk into a cold dark ship with people all around speaking another language knowing that you were going to be cut open soon. I walked over to the little boy and put his hand in mine and said “Bonswa, Je ma pel Becca.” His Aunt looked at me and said motioned that his name was “Ephriam”. I soon found out that Ephriam was a 10 year old boy in which 2 years ago was struck with an illness that took his sight. Then about one year ago he started developing a tumor in his maxilla that now took over the entire right side of his face. My heart went out to this little boy and I prayed that God would help me touch his heart.
I looked around the room trying to think of what I could do or what I could get that would help this little boy. Ding I got an idea. I ran over to our clean utility room and grabbed two wash basins. I walked over to Ephriam and took his hands gently and placed it on one of the basins that lay upside down. I then took my basin and played “Bop bop bop” I then took his hands and did the same “Bop bop bop”. And then again “Bop bop bop”… This time he repeated by himself “Bop bop bop.” Then away we went “Boping” away. Soon his tears stopped and a smile slowly appeared on his face. Then one of the other patient’s mothers started singing one of the church songs that we play. “Ba ba o loo a oh shea” I took Ephriams hands in mine and let him listen to the sound of the song and the beat that he heard. Soon he was playing along with the song. Soon the smile spread widely across his face and you could see the joy in his eyes. Soon this smile spread from bed to bed until the whole ward was clapping along. Soon one of my patient’s mothers yelled out “Becca dance!” So up I went, dancing around the ward to the music sent from God himself. My heart was overflowing with joy and appreciation to God for helping me to reach this little boy.
That night after I finished work I saw a bunch of the guys from the soccer team. The crew had won the came in a penalty shoot out and they told me about how great of a game it was. As I listened to them tell about the game my heart was filled with the love of Christ and thankfulness to him for keeping me on the ship and placing Ephriam in my life.

Over the next week I took care of little Ephriam and continued to play drums with him and even helped him ride his first tricycle. God is good!

Don’t let the busyness of life distract you from what God is trying to show you.


Gorgeous Ghana

So after a 4 day vacation in Ghana I am feeling relaxed and rejuvenated. There was 11 of us total; 6 from USA, 1 Canadian, 1 Norwegian, 1 Swedish, and 2 Ghanaians. Getting to Ghana was a bit of an adventure in itself but after 3 breakdowns, 4 cars, and 2 immigration processes we made it.

First was the Canopy walkway. One of 4 in the entire world.

Next we went to Elmina Castle located in Cape Coast. This castle was used as a slave castle for many years and shows another period of darkness in this sinful world. Even though the information was heavy God graced us with a beautiful sunset to assure us that he is in control.

Next we went to Boti falls where we did some hiking which was SOOO great!

and then of course we went to the falls themselves. (ignore the signs.. hehe)

At the end of the trip we were talking about what our favorite part of the trip was. I thought back to the Canopy walk, the castle at sunset, the Crocodile Hostel (Hans), Boti falls. But then I realized that none of those compared to what truly ended up being my favorite part of this trip and that was getting to know these 11 people more intimately. We went through different ups and downs throughout the trip but God unified us more than I could have ever imagined. The conversations, laughs, and prayers shared throughout this trip will be with me forever. God was definitely glorified in and through this trip.