We Fail and We Succeed

I totally failed yesterday. I missed it big time. I could’ve made a new friend and instead I introduced myself to a stranger and left her stranded.

We were at story time at the library and El was hungry, but I couldn’t resist smiling at a gorgeous young mum with a rounded belly and a little boy at her heels as we walked out the door.

“When are you due?” I asked and she glowed as she responded saying that she was 38 weeks, scheduled for a c-section in two weeks, but was feeling like it might need to be sooner, maybe even later that day!

My hands were full with library books, a chubby hand, and a hungry baby but I smiled in excitement and said, “OH! Congratulations! I hope it all goes well.”

Even though I was stepping toward the car, she wanted to know where my accent was from and tell me that she was Malaysian and had family in America and had only moved here two weeks ago but she’d be back at story time next week and would we be too?

I smiled and said I only knew one Malaysian in America and best wishes again with the baby and we have something next week but maybe the week after? We’d look forward to seeing her new little one.

It wasn’t until I was a couple of kilometeres down the road that I realised what she’d said. They only moved here two weeks ago. All her family was overseas. This was her first attempt to make friends. And she might be having her second baby… today.

All of the things I could’ve should’ve would’ve done flipped through my head. Sure, I’m busy changing the world, but I have time to make a meal or host a play date or just be the new friend on the other end of the phone!?

But I missed it. I wanted to drive back to the library and find her and tell her or do something but the moment was gone and so was she.

I’m sure I won’t be so quick to miss it next time.

And I’m glad that my good mate didn’t miss it.

Even as I was at the library, she was in a village in PNG and she too was meeting a new mum with a tiny baby. Only this mum had tuberculosis and couldn’t feed her baby. When mums in this part of the world can’t feed their babies they don’t run down to the store and pick up some formula. Either the women in the village help feed the baby… or the child dies.

The women weren’t helping. They were afraid they’d get TB. But my girl new better…

With her own gorgeous baby on board, she took time to express some of her milk to feed this tiny little one… and even helped the other women in the village learn to do it as well. So far, they are all helping to feed this tiny life.

Even as I kicked myself for my little oversight, I rejoiced in the beauty of my friend giving life in such a gorgeous way. We women can feel so stretched and pressured, or even insecure and unsure, but the reality is, we have SO much to offer one another. So glad i can share in the joy of my friend’s success and have a precious reminder to take up the opportunities as they come my way!

Newborn Baby Joel, the first patient on the YWAM ship for 2012! Photo courtesy of Anna Scott/YWAM Medical Ships

Our Ship Has Sailed!

Photo Courtesy of YWAM Medical Ships Australia

Ahhh… we breathed a huge sigh of relief, satisfaction and gratefulness yesterday as we watched our ship sail into the horizon.

What an amazing six months it has been renovating, maintaining, and caring for this beautiful, floating hunk of metal that was given to us. It was incredibly rewarding to hug our friends tightly and watch Jared pass the gangway over and throw the last of the lines. He’s a bit sad to not be sailing this time, and fully enjoying having a relaxing evening on the couch watching TV after many late nights and long weekends of preparations. 🙂

Last we heard they were cruising along, spotting dolphins, and not too sick yet. A good sign! We’re looking forward to some great stories to come soon and will most certainly share them.

In the mean time, there is this amazing video from the former Prime Minister of PNG who shared some insightful and touching words at our annual breakfast last week. It is lengthy for a computer video, but well worth the time!

And the shorter but also inspiring news clip:

PS – If you’re looking for a good Mother’s Day gift, why not sponsor the distribution of birth kits!?

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Because We Love Our Life

I was buying our groceries on Sunday afternoon (alone… which is another glorious story entirely, even though I only had 30-45 minutes round trip… can all the mama’s say amen!?) and the checkout girl asked me if I had any plans for the evening.

“Yes, I do, actually!” I said, “I’m going on a BBQ on a ship!”

I was surprised at her reaction, “Really!? That is SO cool! You just don’t hear about people doing THAT every day!”

And you know what!? She’s right!

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about what we do. (Might be in part due to the stretches of time I’m awake in the quiet of the night with a certain baby girl).

The good news is, I’ve re-decided that I really do love it.

Jared is spending early mornings down at the ship and has had some late nights and Saturdays as well. We didn’t have “a weekend” this week and that’s not uncommon for us.

But what we did get to do was take our kids to the National Youth Week event put on but our Youth Teams on Saturday night. This means that Max got to watch skateboarding teenagers doing cool tricks on a half pipe, dance to some awesome tunes, and eat pizza. Hello!?? Does he not have an awesome life!?

As for us, we got to watch some of the fruit of labour in action as we saw hundreds of young people swarming our centre finding a positive place to have fun… and maybe learn a lesson or two about life or maybe even their purpose! It was particularly amazing to see Kate Martin perform… this girl was a youth street crew herself years ago and now she’s starting to get pretty popular in the Australian music scene. Ummm… awesome?!

And for Sunday, we had a BBQ on a ship getting to know 20 new students who have just arrived for the YWAM Medical Ship DTS. What a delight to meet a heap of new passionate young people who are not only eager to learn how to serve the people of PNG, but also to hold our babies and be-friend our family. We are blessed.

Last week I was teaching on our Staff Internship and sharing with them about some of our values and culture here in YWAM – how its not just an 8-5 “job”. Its a lifestyle.

And the reality is, despite the fact that I get tired, sometimes feel like I’m not doing a great job, feel torn between family and community, or “work” and “kids”, miss home, etc… I really am grateful God gave us this lifestyle.

Because its not every day you get to go to a BBQ on a ship…

There is Rest for the Weary

Have I mentioned its been a big year? Well, it has. We knew it would be a big few years as we help get this ship up and running to service PNG…

We haven’t always known how big, though.

The last few months alone, since the ship has come back into port here in Townsville have been incredibly full. With tight deadlines, Jared & the team bit off a lot – stripping the ship back to steel, repairing rusted areas, and repainting with a top quality product, removing some of the bulky storage areas to create a better waiting room and deck for socialising after hours… and creating new, more efficient storage areas for all of the medical supplies we’ve been donated.

It was early mornings… late nights… and long weekends. Max kissed a picture of daddy goodnight most days.

But we’re finished. (For now.) And she looks BEAUTIFUL!

We’re really happy to say that we have been able to host lectures on board with one of our training schools as well, making this truly a vessel for mercy and for training, exactly what we’ve been planning for. Don’t you love when the dreams God puts on your heart come true?

There’s more where those came from… but for now we wait! 🙂

But this isn’t just about being busy. Its about resting.

And let’s face it… rest is what we’ve been needing.

We had a wonderful week with Jared’s sister Amy and dad visiting. There’s just something special about having family… but even more so when you see your child interacting with his auntie and grandpa. Somehow he just knows that its someone special… and he adores them… and I love that.

We skipped naps and walked around waterfalls instead. Jared played adventure guide on the island and up north. It was delightful.

We even got a few more days off just to recoup at home. I wish I could list off all of the amazing things we got done around the house but I can’t. Having a holiday at your house, which is part of a ministry centre, means that many people stop and ring by with “just one question” making for some surprisingly busy days! So instead of enjoying lots of rest, we mostly just enjoyed each others company and Max enjoyed having his daddy put him to bed most nights for a change!

But then we were invited to head down to the Whitsundays for a couple of days and let me tell you – you couldn’t revive us out of relaxation mode if you tried! I kept catching myself silently staring into the ocean. It was divine. Max loved it too.

So even though there are a few more opportunities to maximise before the end of the year, and of course a little girl to prepare for, and CHRISTMAS to celebrate, we are well on our way to feeling rested and refreshed.

Now… if someone could do something about this humidity!? 😉

 

BYO Water!?!

This has been a year of babies, babies, babies. For the past couple of months, I’ve had a friend deliver a baby at least once a week… and they’re not stopping anytime soon. I think I am up to 10 friends/acquaintances who are due the same week that I am early next year!

Just in the past few weeks, four of my girlfriends here have had beautiful little babies, all born in the comfort of our local hospital, with wonderful care to keep them and their mamas safe.

That’s why I was shocked when I read this as my own little one kicked around in my belly this afternoon:

“A sign at the front of the hospital in [Papua New Guinea] reads, ‘Women in labour must bring their own water.'” — Fraser Coast Chronicle

Holy. Cow. There are no words. There are absolutely no words.

And this coming from a girl who has been studying health care in PNG for the past number of years, spending this very week up late at night writing up our current strategies while Jared helps to outfit the new waiting area onboard our medical ship, knowing full well that 1 in 7 women in rural PNG will die during childbirth…

Knowing Molly’s story intimately… Molly the sweet newborn girl who didn’t live… but has inspired hundreds to take compassionate action…

Knowing that for many of these women, clean water is actually quite hard to come by in the best of circumstances, much less in the middle of contractions.

And yet, as upsetting as it seems that a woman would have to BYO water to deliver a baby in a hospital, also knowing that it is still probably the best possible place to deliver and the ones who get to go there are truly the lucky ones.

I guess some days it hits you harder. Fresher. A deeper knowing. Deeper motivation to keep on keeping on to do what we can to change it… for more to have life to the max.

Let it be…

Max visiting a remote village in PNG earlier this year.

That Other Guy In Our Family

We’ve written a lot about Max and a little about me…

But can I just say Jared has been a champion all the while too! We’ve moved some things around on our centre and he was busy building a new chapel and relocating our recording studio. The results are fantastic, stunning, and we’re really excited about the change in culture it brings to our centre and the impact that has on all of our staff and students. Its funny how rearranging the furniture just a bit can make just the right change to our home and I think that’s what these projects have been about.

Our ship is still doing phenomenal things and I thought I’d share a short video clip that had me in tears (and I don’t think its just the hormones) from one of our DTS outreach teams who were working alongside the ship in PNG.

For those of you who get behind what we do, know you’re not just championing our family but an entire nation. And the results have been astounding – not just statistically – but in the way they are changing individual lives, families, and communities.

Good work, team!!