MERCY SHIPS' REQUEST FOR
UNEXPECTED DIVERSION TO
When I arrived in London, my check-in bag didn't. No big deal because I always pack a few shirts, socks, toiletries, and other necessities in my carry-on bag. I filled out a report form and was told that Delta would allow me to buy some replacement clothes to use in the absence of my lost bag, and supposedly they'd pay me £25 (nearly $50) for each day that I was without my luggage (7 days total). And because of the inconvenience, South African Airways was to pay all my living expenses in London while I awaited the next available flight out.
So, upon landing in
London I took a train from
Gatwick airport to Lewisham to my friends' house (the
Walkers) where I got some rest and began adjusting to GMT time. As it
turned out the Walkers were in the process of packing and moving to
another house not far away, so I was able to help them in the big task of
blessing in London was to get better acquainted with Andrew and Teresa
Whyte and family. We spent a couple of evenings together, and Andrew and I
had several amazing theological discussions that week. While in London I
also got to spend an evening with Pari Rickard. I heard him
preach at a church in London and then we went out for Turkish food. [Pari
was the youth pastor at CCF until last year; he and his family are north
of London now]. My 7-day time
was certainly a God-thing. Altogether, including
vouchers from Delta and expense reimbursements from SSA, my unplanned
London detour wound up being about a $500 bonus...the figure it was
originally going to cost me to fly via London!
Whatever happened to that lost check-in bag, you ask? I kept calling Delta's London office all week long but it never showed up. But while on my layover in Johannesburg (en route to the port city of East London, South Africa), I decided to stop by the "lost and found" office, and there it was, waiting for me, as if it was planned ahead of time to prevent me from having to tote it around London all this time! Only God could've seamlessly planned it all as He did, turning what some would've considered an incovenience into an adventure with a purpose.
ABOARD THE ANASTASIS IN SOUTH
life aboard the ship was fun and at times a bit challenging. There are men, women
& children from about thirty different nations from all over
the world serving on the Anastasis. As has been the case on previous times I've
served on the Anastasis and Caribbean Mercy ships, it was a rewarding and
learning experience to mix with other cultures and develop friendships. As
a tall person I have a few challenges on this old ship built for short
people! Ducking and dodging the lights and sprinkler heads is a constant
task, and managing to cope with a short bunk is always interesting.
SOUTH AFRICAN EXPERIENCE
We were supposed to set sail from East London to Cape Town on Monday, 5 Sept., but because of bad weather the captain postponed our departure till Wednesday the 7th. As a result I didn't have much time in Cape Town before leaving the country on Sunday the 11th. Our sail across southern South Africa was fun except for some occasional queasiness because of high swells. Spotting breaching whales & seals was fun as was viewing the brilliant stars at night.
I also thoroughly enjoyed escaping the miserable August heat of Texas. August is winter in South Africa, but very mild ones. It was just perfect with normal highs around 70-75°F (21-24°C) and cooling off to about 50-60°F (10-15°C). It was clear and sunny almost every day, but pretty windy much of the time (makes for beautiful waves at the beaches).
The day we arrived in Cape Town I took the cable car up to Table Mountain, a must-see. Oh what an incredible sight that was; mountains everywhere, gorgeous coastline views, rock formations, flora & fauna, fresh air! I spent about three hours hiking the trails and taking in the beauty atop Table Mountain.
I was blessed to get to know fellow electrician Winston Myers from Cape Town while serving on the ship. The day before I left South Africa he and his family took me around the Cape Town area, specifically out near Cape Point. I spent the night with the Myers family and went to church with them on Sunday morning, where I was asked to share a brief testimony during the service. On my way to the airport that afternoon Winston and I were talking about how much we enjoy spontaneous adventures. "For example," I told him, "if my flight across the Atlantic has to make an emergency landing in--Accra, Ghana, for instance--it could be an adventure rather than an inconvenience." Wouldn't you know, there we were out over the Atlantic when the captain made a page asking for a medical doctor. Unfortunately, a passenger had suffered a heart attack so I knew right away we would be making an emergency medical landing...but where? It wasn't long before I noticed the flight map on the monitor in front of me had a course change--to Accra, Ghana! So that 18 hour flight across the Atlantic turned into a 20 hour one! But hey, now I've been to Ghana...sort-of!
Thank you for your prayers as I fulfilled this mission aboard that wonderful 53-year-old hospital ship. The Anastasis, by the way, is scheduled to sail to Liberia, West Africa after it's time in Cape Town, and will have several months of ministry to the poor and needy there, "bringing hope and healing."
HERE to read a front page article in the Lindale
News about my trip to serve with Mercy Ships:
Visit the Mercy Ships website: www.mercyships.org
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