is me, megan bell :) an appropriate title to this blog. i was amazed when i realized it has been over a MONTH since i last blogged. time flies when you live on a ship. kidding...partially. today marks 7.5 weeks that i have been on the africa mercy--and honestly, it felt like moving to a new city where you knew no one...and im finally comfortable with my surroundings and community life. the Lord is so faithful to let us feel uncomfortable...so that we cling to Him alone. i wouldnt say i am learning all new things here--just re-learning the things i refuse to "get". lets simplify this entry with the good old highs and lows game. i will start with lows to get that out of the way.
lows: sharing a room with 6 complete strangers, eating what is prepared for you--forget having a craving, not speaking the local language of french much less the 10 other tribal tongues, having NO experience with plastics patients and walking in as the resident expert, sharing space with 400 other people--including the laundry room, being an outsider to a tight-knit community, living in a port--stinky, trash filled water, everyday is a BAD hair day when you have curly hair, and lastly....missing familiarity. i have a new appreciation for old friendships and family.
highs: sharing a room with 6 people...from 4 different countries who have turned out to be good friends, never doing dishes or grocery shopping and being thankful for exactly what is on your plate...b/c you can look out the window and see what hunger looks like, stumbling through french daily---and laughing at myself, working with patient surgeons from all over the world---and learning new skills, learning to depend on the Lord as a friend and seeing His hand bring the perfect friends into my life here, the growing pains that come from "forced community", seeing the sun rise and set on the ocean, coming to grips that i will have a permanent afro here...there are not enough hair products on this continent to change that and lastly.....knowing my life is so rich at home...yet feeling the hand of God place me here.
so yeah, all of my lows...have become highs. ive learned that...if you dont bend here...you break. i feel the Lord constantly whispering.."megs, this isnt about you. its about me. my glory. my love for these people. and yes, im ok with you being uncomfortable." He is faithful...through and through.
i had a great day today--a 40 yr old lady was located at a local hospital that had been in a car accident. i do not know the specifics other than she lost her left leg and had no money for a prosthesis. a few people on the ship chipped in and bought her a leg for roughly 400 usd. she arrived to me a month ago...with an enthusiastic desire to walk but the prosthetist that was making her leg--suddenly died. she was back to square 1. she has 4 children at home and used to be the bread winner of the family. she sold goods--would walk from village to village and sell whatever she found--food, ect.
so today, felicienne, came for gait training (walking)...session 1. i had plans to work on standing balance...she blew that out of the water. she stood straight up on her own. my mouth dropped. long story short---she walked for 15 mins on her new leg--with 1 crutch. thats pretty amazing seeing as she hasnt walked in 8 months :) you should have seen her face--pure joy. she told me she never thought she would walk again...can you imagine that at 40 with 4 children? never walking with your babies? she will be coming for rehab 3 x week for the next 4-5 weeks. i bet she will be walking unassisted within 2 weeks. she told me...she will teach me how to dance in 4 weeks :)
the Lord is so strategic....He placed me in her life for such a time as this...to learn to walk. also, He gave me something I feel comfortable doing and I love. so often, i feel like i have to sacrifice and suffer in order to serve Him but in reality--He loves to see His children using their gifts and enjoying their work.
i am continually blown away by the patients here--the pain they have endured, the stories of their lives, and their resilience in the face of debility. it inspires me, humbles me...and changes the way i see the world. I pray that I am never the same....and that the Lord burns a mark on my heart for the under served.
im off to bed now...i promise....to be a better blogger. that sounds so geeky. i will somehow...post pics of patients. for those of you who have facebook--i posted a ton of pics there. if you have read this far--thanks and be encouraged, the Lord is NEAR and FAITHFUL.