He Is Good

Usually I have a plan for the topic of my posts several days before I write it (or weeks if I’m lazy), but tonight it’s a little different. Instead, this is just more of an update about how my first week on board Mercy Ships has been.

I am currently working my second night shift for Reception this week (of five) and it is about 2 am. It’s strange sitting here without the noise of people talking, laughing, and walking around the ship. I have much more time on my hands than I am used to and don’t have a bunch of people to talk to, which is a little hard for me. However, I have found that it’s a great opportunity to sit, rest, and especially to spend time with the Lord.

Last week when I boarded the ship, almost all the rooms (including my cabin) were full of people. This week, there are only three people total in my cabin instead of six, and one more will be gone this weekend. We have had over thirty departures this weekend alone, so it has been a bit odd to meet so many people only to say goodbye less than a week later.

However, I have met many incredible people who will be around for a little while yet. God has been so good in this area, and I have had an amazing time getting to know these new people and spending time with them. I’ve really enjoyed meeting people from all over the world, and I love being part of a community where everyone is loved and accepted. Every person here has been so welcoming and has helped me feel like I belong and that I am home.

Learning all about my new job and life on board Mercy Ships has kept me busy, but I have had time to explore Conakry a bit. Visiting the local market was definitely a highlight of my week. I’m hoping I will get the chance to visit a local church before I leave (but if not, in Senegal for sure). Unfortunately, I haven’t gotten pictures, because many places in town don’t allow it, but seeing Conakry has been an eye opening experience. It’s a crazy, different, but beautiful city.

Another highlight was getting to see the sun set over the ocean. Although I have seen a sunrise on the beach before, I hadn’t seen a sunset over the water before. I was able to eat dinner up on the deck and sit and watch as the sky transitioned between beautiful shades of yellow, red, orange, and pink.

Honestly, this whole week has been amazing. I cannot believe I am actually in Africa with Mercy Ships. This has been an actual dream come true, and I am so thankful God guided me towards this opportunity. I am absolutely certain this whole experience will be absolutely life changing. I am SO EXCITED to see what God does over the next year.

He is so good.

If Nothing Else

I made it!! I am currently in Conakry, Guinea on board the Africa Mercy. As a quick update since my last post, I am with Mercy Ships for the next ten(ish) months serving as a volunteer in Reception! I made it to Guinea Sunday evening and have since completed two days of training for my new job. I am in a room with five other girls, but because we are about to go to the Canary Islands for shipyard, many people are leaving, so by next weekend there will only be one other roommate left.

So far I absolutely LOVE it here. I am extremely excited for my job, I love the people I have met so far, I’ve had the chance to see the sunset for the first time over the ocean, my bunk and room are set up and very cozy, and I’m having so much fun! This week, I am looking forward to finishing training, starting my job, and hopefully getting a chance to travel into town to visit the local markets and see a little bit on Guinea before we leave in a couple weeks.

The last month has been hectic, and the last few days have been no different. However, now I am able to breathe a little knowing I made it.

Although I will be staying busy, this year will be a chance for me to rest a little and take time away from the crazy life I am so used to. I am so so so excited to see what God has for me this year.

Over the last month, as I prepared for this trip, I had something going through my head over and over that I just couldn’t stop thinking about. It was simply the phrase:

If nothing else, at least I still have…

Again and again this phrase ran through my head, and I realized something about it. Depending on the day, I would fill in the blank at the end with different things: “at least I still have… food, work, money, family, friends, etc.”

When I realized this, I felt God asking me what it would take for my answer to always be Him.

If I could only choose one thing to have, would I pick something temporary that made me happy that day? Or would I choose the One I could rely on eternally. It’s easy to say “I only need Jesus”, but if I really lost everything, would I actually believe that?

After I thought about this more, I realized I had this deep desire for my answer to be “Jesus” every time. I didn’t want my first thought to be anything except Him. I want my relationship with him to be the top priority in my life – above work, above school, above friends, above family. I want more than anything to be able to confidently say, “if I have nothing else, I know I still have Jesus”.

My prayer for the next couple months as I begin my journey is that during this time I will learn more and more to trust him with everything I have. I have to, because if I don’t, I will not be able to complete this trip. I’m praying for a deeper and more intimate relationship with Him. And, I’m praying that my first thought will always be “Jesus”.

This season is for growth. I am SO excited to see what I learn and who I become. I’m trusting.