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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Some Are Better Than None

I hate this picture.

I hate it because do you see this boil on this little girls leg? It looks like a teenager’s first pimple compared to how it looked in real life.

I hate it because of the memories that come flooding back when I look at it.

I hate it because of the way my eyes sting with hot tears just like they did the night I met this little girl.

I was just getting out of the shower when I heard a heap of commotion. Would Dr Cassie please come up to the clinic? A man was bringing his granddaughter. They had been in their dingy for a few hours making their way here. It was dark. Was there anyway we could see her?

I followed Cassie into the clinic and my heart broke. The little girl was in her daddy’s arms, with her grandfather beside them. They were keen for me to watch, to hear her story, to tell it to others… because maybe others would be stirred to help.

“She’s three years old,” Cassie told me as she handed me her registration form. My eyes widened as I saw that she was also 10 kilos.

She was three years old and weighed less than my one year old who was contentedly sleeping in his air conditioned cabin two decks below us. 

She was also in pain. I could see it in her eyes, even beyond the fat crocodile eyes that sat on the edge of her lids.

I listened as Cassie explained in pidgin, “The sore is too big for any anesthetic. This will be “bikpela pain”, but we need to get it clean.”

She then said to me in English, “In Port Moresby, we would put this little girl under. This is going to be very painful, but its the only option.

And so as Cassie began to prepare the wound, the hot tears in my eyes matched my little sweethearts. I was barely containing my emotions – half way telling myself to toughen up and half way knowing that sometimes we need to allow ourselves to feel the emotion so that we remember the importance.

And then she looked at me.

She looked at me with those big eyes as if to say, “How could you let this happen to me!?”

And that’s when I knew that even though I needed to feel the emotion, I also needed to be her courage. I swallowed my tears and the lump in my throat and smiled at her the biggest smile I could. “You’re very brave,” I told her. “This hurts so much, but its helping you to be healthy.” “I’m so sorry that you’re sick. I know its not fair. But you’re going to be better.”

And I held her eyes as she screamed in absolute pain.

When it was over, I looked at her laying there. Her tiny shorts were covered in blood. And yet I knew that there was no clean set of clothes waiting for this little girl. What she was in was all she had.

Except for the suitcase full of kids clothes that was sneaked onto the ship, despite the fact that we don’t have cargo space for it. And in that little suitcase we found the perfect princess nightgown for a ride home on the dingy in daddy’s arms.

They left with antibiotics, wound care tools, instructions to care for the infection, and where we’d be anchored if it got worse.

Later that night, in the quiet of the cabin, I asked Cassie, “What would’ve happened if we weren’t here?”

“I don’t know for sure,” she said, “It may have popped and healed on its own. But with an infection that big, positioned in a high bacteria area on the body as it was, and as undernourished as she is, it is very likely she would not have survived.”

So I guess in some ways I love this photo.

I love it because of the hope that it represents.

I love it because it reminds me of a precious life that was saved.

I love it because even though not every problem in the world finds solution, some do.

And some are better than none.

Dr Cassie and the little princess

A Rocky Start to An Incredible Adventure

We’re here. One exhausted dry docked daddy. One meetinged-out mama. And a baby boy whose “white” skin, as tan as it is, is quite the novelty around these parts. We are talking strangers-taking-pictures-of-you sort of novelty.

It’s strange to be on the other side. Strange and good.

We are anchored off the coast of Port Moresby where we have welcomed doctors, dentists, nurses and deckhands to join us in the Gulf next week.

I’m not going to lie and say that it’s the romantic picture I’ve had in my head. Keeping a kid quiet around 50 sleeping people in close quarters (read: very few actual walls) is not easy. Pacing him around the only room on the ship that is sound proof before sunrise was not part of the vision.

But at the same time, we are so so so convinced we are to be here at this time. Challenges are interesting like that. They seem to take the best of you, mess it all up, and spit you out. But sometimes what comes out is pure conviction… And pure conviction is hard to argue with. We have a job to do and we are not going anywhere.

Clearly, deep thoughts muddled by an exhausted mind while sitting on the steep steps of a ships cabin don’t come out very eloquent.

I wish this was the time and place to tell you how amazing this week has been meeting with different leaders of this country. But, this place is the world wide web and it would in fact be wholly inappropriate. So you’ll have to trust me when I say that it has been absolutely fantastic.

Can you picture me in my heels and a life jacket riding across in a Zodiac to go to meetings with Governors and CEOs?

Now you can.

The adventure was the icing on the cake of a truly amazing week.

So was this little honey who fell asleep in his daddy’s arms as his thick teething drool literally hung about a meter long, waving in the wind of the Zodiac.

After our 15 minute boat ride, he stayed asleep in that life jacket for well over three hours.

Sweet boy.

We are off to the Gulf early next week but for now we sleep in our gorgeously renovated cabin with 42 balls underneath us.

We can hardly wait to meet the friends who will receive them!!

Love, The Hoovers

We’re Home.. And it was AMAZING.

We’re home and it was amazing. Amazing as in the “Oh, do we really have to go home!?” sort of way.

And when you hear how ridiculously challenging it was, you’ll know that the statement above is truly a miracle.

We’ve had major internet troubles since arriving home. Ironic in one way after a month with nearly no communication and yet it just makes us grateful for our wonderful friends/coworkers who are working so hard to get it up and running well!!

All of this to say, surprise!! No update yet… but I typed a few on my phone and they’ll be coming soon.

We missed you. And we’re grateful for your prayers and welcome homes.

For now, we are spending our long weekend eating mandarins, feet soaking in a wading pool, hands stained with easter egg dye, hearts grateful for the Saviour. Oh yeah, its a seriously good Friday.

Ship Shape

We’ve been spending the past few days down at the water. There’s been a little of this:

(Entertaining a toddler beside the wharf)

And a little of this:

(Walks along the wharf)

And a lot of hard work, sweat, hammering, sawing, and beautifying.

The results are stunning. Check out the new lounge on board:

With the ship being up in PNG for 6 months this year, we wanted to make it more liveable. The bunks are tiny and people need space to chill out, relax, and recharge. And trust me, this new lounge is really the ultimate place to hang out and refresh. Max & I are well aware. We’ve been bringing lunch down to Jared on a regular basis, enjoying some family time sliding down the wood floor on bean bags and tracking Jared’s progress as he gets our medical ship into… ship shape!

We waved them off yesterday as they sailed and word has it that its so smooth they started working on painting “our” cabin.

Yep, we renovated a little cabin and built in a cot for the three of us. Its all happening in three weeks and we are SO excited!!

 

We Cannot WAIT To Meet This Guy!

Believe it or not, in the midst of floods and cyclones and first birthday parties, we’ve been making preparations to take our first family trip to Papua New Guinea.

I know, I know! “Taking a toddler on that ship for weeks on end?! What are you thinking?!”

Well, we’re thinking we’ve invested a lot into this ship and we really want to be a part of the business end of this hunk o’ metal! On top of that, I’ve had a deep, deep love of PNG since my first visit at age 19, and Jared has a heap of friends he’s looking forward to seeing from his first advance trip now a couple of years ago… and this ship could actually use some of our help!

Besides, we do what we do as a family, and we’re super eager to show Max what he’s been a part of – to have from his earliest memories the experiences of helping others, learning about other cultures, and being okay with sleeping in a tiny bed and taking 2 minute showers and doing one load of laundry a week. (I actually wish for this many weeks, but somehow I don’t think this is exactly how I anticipated my wish being granted!!)

Honestly, when you meet some of the people we’re looking forward to meet, you will understand… it really is the least we could do! A few weeks (our itinerary isn’t quite confirmed) really isn’t much when you see what those weeks will most definitely equate to. We can’t wait to meet this guy (and maybe some of his friends):

I Dare You

In the midst of the day to day that we do here in Australia, I have to admit, I love to think and even day dream about the end result.

Life restored.

There are some stories that fuel me to keep on going. The Kutei family’s is one of them. I dare your heart not to throb with joy as you watch this:

PS… thanks to everyone who gave specs. You’re awesome.

PSS… if you want to give more specs for this year, email me!!