"Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, and faithful in prayer. Share with God's people who are in need. Practice hospitality."
Over these past few months in Togo I have noticed this ‘thing’ slowly slipping into my life. At first it was very subtle but now it has turned into a blinking billboard. This ‘thing’ I am talking about is……. pride. I know that pride is something that we all battle everyday normally but recently as I have become more comfortable with what God has called me to do the voltage of my pride was making my electric bill astronomical. Going into this outreach, I was very uncomfortable as many new things were being asked of me. Since Mercy Ships has such a quick turn over of nurses, after only working on the wards for 4 months, I was considered a senior nurse. Also since I had been here longer I was also being asked to step in to different positions in the hospital. As I thought about these new positions part of me felt I should do it just because I was long term, but then as I prayed about it, I felt like God was saying, wait. (He says that a lot of me) I prayed asking God to help me see where he wanted me and how he wanted to use me. Not to long after this, my friend Suzanne, asked if I would be willing to help her with the Burkitt’s program since she knew I was an oncology pedi nurse. BING!! I quickly accepted and then started reading and researching everything I could get my hands on about Burkitt’s Lymphoma. Through this time of learning God showed me so much with helping me understand everything involved with treating a Burkitt’s patient but also he was softening my heart and showing me how with basic education and needs being met, peoples lives can be saved. At this point God planted the ‘community health education (CHE) seed’ in my heart. As I started to look into CHE more I realized I knew nothing about it in regards to Africa. But as I prayed about this and read God’s word, I saw how we are called the share the gifts and wisdom that he has given us. So I took that leap into the unknown. It just so happen that my roommate at the time, Ellen, was going out to teach English and the alphabet at a local church so I asked if I could come along to teach basic healthcare. She quickly accepted. Senior nurse, Burkitt’s program, African CHE… each one of these things made me extremely uncomfortable and showed me how weak and untrained I really was. I hadn’t felt that close to God in awhile as I went to Him with everything and relied on Him daily to be my strength and wisdom. As the days and weeks passed and I became more comfortable with these things, that’s when the billboard started being built. I found myself talking a lot about what I was doing, what I wanted to do in the future, how I wanted it to happen, when I wanted it to happen, where I wanted it to happen; I think you get the point. I was still doing all the things I had been doing before, if not more. I was reading his word every day. I was spending specific time in prayer. I was helping out with the Burkitt’s program. I was teaching community health education on my days off. I was reaching out to make new friends and strengthen old relationships. But as all these plans were coming out of my mouth the closeness that I had felt with my Dad, was no longer there. I knew what I needed to do but I kept putting it off. Finally I decided to pray and search my heart for an answer to this distance. It didn’t take me to long to see the huge blinking PRIDE sign sitting in front of me. Romans 1:21-23~ For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking and their foolish hearts were darkened. Claiming to be wise, they became fools and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images resembling mortal man… I was acting like a selfish Pharisee, going through all the right motions but for my glory and not to the one it was due. This seed that God had planted, this desires that God placed in my heart, I had foolishly and selfishly stolen as my own. No longer did I consider these gifts that God had entrusted me with but instead I thought of them as something that I had created. Doh! I knew I needed to unplug my blinking billboard. So over to the socket I went and pulled the plug. But here in lies the next problem and the continued personal struggle not to turn the billboard back on. The plug and socket are still in the room, tempting me to turn it back on but instead I need to keep my focus and reliance on God and know that He wont let me be tempted beyond my ability. Ephesians 2:10~ For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them. How can I boast in something that isn’t my own? The gifts and wisdom that I have are not mine at all. These are from God. EVERY good and perfect thing is from above (James 1:17) So what now? Matthew 5:16~ In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven. God has shown me that I can keep doing all the things I have been doing but to remember to give the glory to the one it is due. I thank you God for the opportunity to serve you in this way. God I thank you for the doors you have opened and the amazing people you have placed in my life. God I thank you for showing me more about who you are and the love you have for all of your children. Father I don’t know what your plans are for me but I place my life in your hands.
I am currently serving on the Africa Mercy with my husband Greg and daughter Hailey. We have been serving since 2009 and are currently docked in Guinea. Mercy Ships serves in West Africa by doing specialized surgeries to the poorest of the poor. I pray that God will use us in amazing ways and that in all we do it will be glorifying to Him. If you have any questions or want to learn more about Mercy Ships and how you can help email me at BeccaTatsea@gmail.com