May 07 2012

Encouragement for your Monday!

Have you ever heard the phrase "Nothing goes wrong, we just go wrong with it"?  Eric is one example of one person going right when everything seems to have gone wrong.

Even though it's symbolic and "there's no money involved," Eric LeGrand told CNN over the weekend that he's thrilled to be on the roster of an NFL team.

The former Rutgers defensive tackle, who was partially paralyzed in 2010 when he injured his spinal cord during a game, was signed to the 90-man offseason roster of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers last week. The Bucs are coached by ex-Rutgers coach Greg Schian, who helped shepherd LeGrand through the dark days following his injury.  LeGrand says his ultimate goal is to walk again.

"I believe in myself and I believe in the man above," he said. "I know everything in this world happens for a reason."
He told Sports Illustrated in November that he wanted to return to the spot on the field where he was injured, lie down, get up and walk away.  But there's still the nagging question of what might have been. It's one he doesn't focus on.

"I wouldn't have been able to touch this many people if I was playing football," a bouyant LeGrand said. "That's why I know that there was something there for me to do in my life that can hopefully change the world."

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May 04 2012

Last day in Africa!

Before flying out today, we were able to see a few more aspects of Mercy Ships (and make some more friends).


  

This is the dental clinic. It’s off ship. The day we visited, the dentist saw 80 patients and pulled 170 teeth.
 
We also stopped by the “Hope Center”. It is off ship housing for long-term patients and families. I was able to play Connect 4 with  Hatim. He won. They’re waiting to get x-rays back before they remove his tumor. It will be his third surgery.

 

We also met this sweet baby with a cleft lip. She will be getting surgery in a few days but is staying at the Hope Center because she lives so far away. She insisted on helping her mom with laundry. I wish my kids had this passion for doing laundry.

 

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May 03 2012

Transformation Ceremony

The African dresses and head pieces are beautiful. I was able to see some African women all dressed up on the ship and their dresses were by far the most beautiful I’ve seen. Not so much because of the fabric or style but because of the women wearing them.

Before they get these dresses onboard – you have to hear how they got to this point. In Africa, childbirth is a lot different then in America. Doctors are rarely involved and many women are left alone to labor. Complications are common. If problems arise, the women almost always lose their baby and they’re left with a lot of physical damage. One woman I met was in labor for two weeks – trying to push out the baby while running from rebels during war.
 
With the damage, ladies are considered outcasts - disowned by their family and friends…sometimes left in the bush to live alone for years. The medical problems are usually either too complicated or too expensive tofix.
 
But Mercy Ships can help. Not only physically, but spiritually.  Throughout the entire process, the women meet with doctors for the surgery and spiritual counselors to help them rediscover their self-worth and significance in Christ. Once they’ve healed and are ready to leave, there is a “Transformation Ceremony” on the ship. This is were I spotted the most beautiful African dresses….and the most beautiful African women!

The ceremony is a pretty big deal…it symbolizes a new life for the women. They get all dressed up in a new dress and make-up (similar to a woman preparing for her wedding day). For some, it’s been decades since they’ve felt so pretty. There’s music, dancing, singing and praying at the ceremony and the women share their stories. All of them thanking Jesus for Mercy Ships, admitting because of the love and acceptance of the volunteers – they’ve been transformed from the inside out. These ladies are my heroes. Just look at the joy on their faces….and it’s all because of Jesus using a ship.

 

 

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May 03 2012

A few pictures from Mercy Ship Africa

Amy and Jessica, Promotions Manager for K-LOVE in Louisiana, in front of the Africa Mercy.

Amy, Jessica, and Ameza (Akou's mommy)

Doc checking Akou's eyes - she can go home!

 

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