Update from us - we are headed to the states for a leave of absence from Mercy Ships over the holidays! This has been in the works for some time, and we actually departed the ship yesterday evening.
Here's what is coming up for us:
1- Spend the holiday season in the United States, and have some precious, intentional time with family
2- Return to Guinea at the end of January
3 - Continue serving as Mercy Ships crew, but we will be located off-ship in the interior of Guinea for the remainder of the ship’s visit. We will be visiting Hope Medical Center (here’s their webpage), where Nick has previously taught the Ponseti method. (see more details below)
We knew that we would have this break coming up when we went into the busy season of Advance and program set-up here in Guinea. We chose to do this for a few reasons. We’re into the 4th year of our service since returning to the ship as a married couple. We love being here and serving here, but know that it’s also good to have time away from the intensity of life on board. We love our work, and we want to be wise in how we serve. We’re very happy to celebrate Thanksgiving and Christmas with family in the states- last time we had Christmas there was in 2013 before we got engaged!
|A recent photo of Nick at work in the clinic - I love the look that kiddo is giving him, haha! :-)|
The Ponseti program in Conakry is left in VERY good hands: Aisling (physical therapist from the UK who is leading the team), Ashley (Physical Therapist from USA) and Marina (nurse from Switzerland who has worked on the ponseti program for the last two years).
After the holidays and when we return to Guinea, we will be continuing our season “off ship”. We are still serving with Mercy Ships, but we will be working at a hospital in the interior of the country called Hope Medical Center. Hope has partnered with Mercy Ships in different ways over the years, and Nick went to teach the Ponseti method to some of the staff at Hope in 2014. Sadly, he was not able to stay and complete the whole program due to the Ebola crisis, which originated not far from the area. We are thrilled to be able to return there together, and continue the partnership that began in 2014. We want to support Hope in whatever ways we can so that they continue to have a flourishing clubfoot clinic! One important aspect of clubfoot treatment is wearing braces on a special schedule. In addition to treating patients together, Nick and another trainer will teach a special course on brace making. I will work together with Nick on the Ponseti program and other areas as needed.
Leaving the ship is bittersweet right now- I (Suzanne) am so looking forward to the months ahead, but I also dearly love my teammates and our community here on board the ship. To our colleagues on board – we want GOOD things for you, we pray blessings over you, and we know that God is with you in the coming months. When I think about you, Jesus’s words from John come to mind- “By this all men will know that you are My disciples, if you love one another.” I am cheering you on, Africa Mercy Crew – and may one of the ways that you love and serve the country of Guinea be your example of loving and serving one another. Know that we will be missing you!