a place I’ve never been before

He was born in the summer of his 27th year, coming home to a place he’d never been before.
He left yesterday behind him, you might say he was born again,
you might say he found a key for every door….
And the Colorado Rocky Mountain high, I’ve seen it raining fire in the sky.
The shadows from the starlight are softer than a lullaby.
Rocky Mountain high, Colorado. Rocky Mountain high.

Rocky Mountain High – John Denver

 

Earlier this month I had my 27th birthday meaning I finished my twenty-seventh year.  I had been waiting for this year with eager anticipation for as long as I can remember. I grew up hearing the story of how my mom moved out to Colorado from New York the summer of her twenty-seventh year living out the first few lines of the John Denver song “Rocky Mountain High”.  I woke up the morning of my birthday singing the song and stopped to reflect on the year it had been….

Last August I had just sent in my Mercy Ships application for a long term position starting in January 2014.  However, I was told there would be no openings until fall of 2014 and the position I applied for was a maximum ten month commitment.  I was a little disappointed because I felt the Lord had been calling me to the ship for the last six years and when He finally said go there were no openings. 

 A few days later I boarded a plane for Nicaragua to go on a short medical mission trip with the organization Palmetto Medical Initiative ( http://www.palmettomedical.org/ …look them up!!) While there I got news that not only was there an opening for ten weeks on the ship they wanted me there in roughly five weeks.   Seeing as I had just left the country I asked for a little time to process, pray and make the decision. Well, surrounded by an amazing group of people in Nicaragua and covered by prayer I realized that this short term trip in early fall of 2013 was exactly what I had wanted even though I didn’t put that down on my application.

So as I sat on a bus somewhere in western Nicaragua driving from Chinandega to Managua I had tears streaming down my face overwhelmed as I realized just how good God is.

PMI Nicaragua team Aug 2013

PMI Nicaragua team Aug 2013

Fast forward a few weeks and I am once again boarding a plane. This time to Pointe-Noier in the Republic of Congo.  I was terrified.  I didn’t know what I was getting myself into.  I didn’t know any of the 400 crew members on board.  I knew God had called me there but as I looked out the window and saw the Sahara desert stretching out vastly in all directions it hit me that I was going to Africa for the next ten weeks and I may just hate it.

Sahara Desert....sand, it's everywhere

Sahara Desert….sand, it’s everywhere

Lucky for me I didn’t.  It felt more like home than anything I had ever experienced.  One night I was laying in the top bunk of my cubby listening to music and “Rocky Mountain High” came on.  I was struck by the phrase “coming home to a place he’d never been before.”  Well it wasn’t summer at home but it was summer in Congo and I sure enough had come home to a place I’d never been before.  I was home on the ship.

When I left the ship in December I was torn and confused by the mixture of emotions.  I wanted to see my family for Christmas but I didn’t want to leave the new family I had formed.  I knew I would be back to the ship but didn’t know just how long it would be until I could return.

In January of this year I was offered and accepted the long term position of Senior Lab Tech.  Not only was I going home but I was going home for at least the next two years.

The spring consisted of one trip after another some for vacation some to say goodbye to friends and family.  I ended up in London, Rome, Pompeii, Keflavik for 24 hours but was too sick to leave the airport – wicked bummer, South Carolina, New York, Florida and different parts of Maine.  

London with friends

London with friends

saying goodbye

saying goodbye to my best friends in SC

By the time I was leaving for my training in Texas I was ready to just be stationary for a bit.   It took a little longer to finally arrive.  In Texas I was given a family of forty new people who I’m not sure I would be able to survive without.  They became my support and my strength. 

We left Texas for Port-au-Prince, Haiti at the end of July for a two week field service before all joining the ship.  We saw and experienced things that will have to be in its own blog because it was too amazing to sum up.  We flew back to Texas and scattered for the next week.  I was home in Maine; my real home – the only home I had ever called home – with my parents and I felt like I was lost and missing a piece of myself.   

My birthday was celebrated and the next day I was flying back to Texas to once again board an airplane and travel out of the country.   I have never felt so excited to be going somewhere that did not involve landing at Logan airport in Boston.  My home was in the Canary Islands for the time being and eventually will lift anchor and sail away with me and my new family on it.

So, as I look back over the last 12 months in which I was sitting on an airplane going somewhere in ten of those twelve months I realize that my twenty-seventh year was the busiest and consisted of the most change I have ever experienced.  Sure I didn’t end up in Colorado and I never saw it reigning fire in the sky but I sure found home and am happy to be here for as long as the Lord leaves me.

AFM docked in Tenerife

AFM docked in Tenerife…home sweet home

 

 

 

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