Friday, December 28, 2012


Soriba sits on a stool at the end of an empty hospital bed with his arms folded across his green and blue striped shirt. His eyes are fixed on the door. He is waiting for news of Alya, his son, who has been in surgery for nearly three hours to remove a tumor from his small neck.
Across the narrow hallway of the hospital ship, Alya’s skilled volunteer surgeon, Dr. Neil, works diligently with OR nurses to finish up a successful surgery. “Incredible,” he says of Alya’s tumor, which had grown around his windpipe. “He was a few months away from suffocating from this.”
In his six short years, the tumor Alya has had on his neck since birth grew from the size of a quarter to the size of a potato. But today, because of Mercy Ships, there remains only a crescent-shaped scar, made up of a couple dozen stiches, where that tumor used to be.
Before surgery, Alya was teased by his friends for the
lump on his neck.  He as also out of breath and tired.
Now there is just a small incision
where the tumor used to be.

There is a sacred moment in the hospital wards of the Africa Mercy when a nurse tells a patient’s family member that the surgery was successful. Delivering this news is more than just giving an update – it is telling someone that their loved one’s life is forever changed. Mercy Ships ward nurse Rachel Greenland smiles as she approaches Alya’s father. “The surgery went very well,” she says. Soriba’s eyes flutter between Rachel and the translator as the message is relayed in his language, Susu.
“Everything went well. He hasn’t woken up yet, but he will soon,” Rachel says.
Sitting up a little straighter now, Soriba looks around the room. He smiles and in Susu announces to the ward, “My mind is free, my heart is happy!”
Another patient chimes in from a bed nearby, lifting his head to get a better view, as he says, “Let God bring these kinds of people every year in this country!”
“Amen!” says Soriba.
What had been hushed mumbles quickly turns to chatter from the surrounding patients and caregivers. “May God help them to bring healing for other illnesses we have here,” says a woman in the bed behind Soriba.
Soriba turns and holds up his hands, adding, “Amen. May there be healing for all.”
Four days later, a squirmy Alya sits on his knees at the end of his hospital bed, pulling on his father’s shirt. He is no longer the little boy who can’t catch his breath. He is no longer exhausted from his hindered breathing.
Alya proudly wears a red star sticker on the middle of his forehead and a huge smile on his face. Next to him, his father eyes the door – this time for a different reason.  Today, Alya finally gets to go home, and they are anxious to leave.
“Without this opportunity, we don’t have the means for surgery,” Soriba says. “Now I am happy; may you come every year.”

Written by Catherine Murphy
Edited by Nancy Predaina
Photos by Paul Millgate and Bright Effowe

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Peter's Ponderings

I should probably post some kind of family update after over a month hiatus from blogging.  There certainly has been no shortage of events, happening, fun times, frustrations, school stuff, and work woes to blog about.  Life is very busy.  Good, but busy.  We (individually, as a family, as a crew, as an organization, and as the body of Christ) have achieved some amazing things through His power and grace, and we continue to do so.

However this post is, as the title says, a pondering.  What is a pondering?  It is a musing, an 'I wonder', a rumination, a 'huh?', a consideration...well, you get the idea.

So, here it is: how do you handle generational cultures in the workplace?  Do leaders have a responsibility to understand generational dynamics and adapt their approach and expectations in regard to them?  Do followers (subordinates) have a responsibility to do the same?

We seem to make (or at least intend to make) allowances for cultural differences in regard to race and culture in the nationality or ethnicity sense, but what about generationally?  There is incredible variance in how a Silent, a Boomer, an X-er, and a Millennial see the world around them, interpret things, approach work and goals, etc.  They are vastly different worldviews.  Is it majority wins - whichever generation is most represented in a workforce gets to set the tone and everyone else is expected to conform?  Is there an approach that would be amenable to even, say, two different generations working together?