Today I spoke about Mercy Ships to two very different groups of people. The first was a group aged about 70 and above. They welcomed me in to their annual Ladies Morning Tea with arms wide open. In fact they had waited two months for me to arrive home from the ship so I could come. They had eager faces to listen as I looked out over the crowd of about 100. I was met afterwards with many hugs, not from strangers but now friends, who shared my joy and passion.
The second group was aged about 12-16 years, plus older leaders. They were full of young energy, innocent questions and a longing to be heard. There were several African girls in the room who had grown up in Australia but knew which African country they had come from. I looked over their faces in the crowd and wondered what they would think of my presentation. When I speak about the ship, I always hope that I portray what I love so deeply about African people, not just that the majority of them are poor and have little access to health care.
After I finished speaking and it was time to go, many girls came up to talk to me or say thanks. Every single gorgeous African girl in that room came up for a hug and to say thanks for what I was doing.
I walked away from both speaking engagements with a huge smile plastered across my face. It’s not every day that you get to speak to a big group of people about the thing you feel most passionate about. They were two very different groups but both received with hearts wide open.
Being home is full. It is full of shifts at the hospital, where I am remembering how to nurse in Australia. Not much has changed in the last four years, for which I’m thankful! It is full of wedding preparations, which has also included a few hours of very enjoyable but tough gardening. It is full of visiting friends and discussing life changes while drinking coffee. It is full of spending time with my friend’s kids and loving the stage of life that they are in, nursery rhymes and all. It is full of staying fit and healthy and trying to enjoy the cold weather. It is full of time with the family, in front of the fire or around the table sharing a meal. It makes my heart full.
When my alarm goes off at 0520am tomorrow morning, I know I will want to press snooze a million times to keep sleeping. I will try not to gag as I swallow my breakfast at such an early hour, for I know my reward will be seeing the sunrise over the hill as I drive to work. It reminds me each time that God is with me. He has not forgotten me. He knows when I sit and when I rise. He perceives my thoughts from afar. He knows that my heart is breaking over the devastation of the Ebola virus in West Africa and He has promised that He hasn’t forgotten those suffering with it. I would love to be there, easing pain and suffering, but I know God has me here, for this time. And although my heart is breaking, it is still full.
|Photo credit: Ruben Plomp|