Saturday, August 20, 2016

We've arrived in Benin!

We've arrived back on board the ship in Cotonou, Benin.

We had an 11 hour flight from Singapore to Istanbul, and then a 10 hour layover before our flight to Benin.  Busy airport, but we found a quiet spot to sleep for some of those 10 hours. Nick is way better at sleeping in airports than I am.  He has the gift of being able to sleep just about anywhere. :)

Half way through our last flight I opened my window and was completely mesmerized by what I saw below- an ocean of red sand.  I know I've flown over the Sahara before, but I don't remember being able to see the shapes in the sand so clearly. So amazing!

It was after sunset when we landed in Cotonou.  As we arrived there were lights twinkling below, white electric light mixed with the softer orange glow of cooking fires.  

At passport control we presented our documents and visa waivers.  All Mercy Ships crew get a letter explaining that our agreement with the government allows us to enter the country during the outreach.  The officer looked over the letters, handed them to his supervisor, and then in a business-like tone instructed us to wait aside because he had a few more questions to ask us. After the other passengers had passed through he called us back and said "My son has problems with his vision, can Mercy Ships help him?" We spoke briefly about how there are patient selection dates soon, but that Mercy Ships only can help with certain health conditions so we can't give a guarantee.

From the airport we hired a taxi to the port and found our way to the ship, and finally to our own cabin.  It feels really good to be back here, this place feels like home.  

Nick is hitting the ground running and heading over to Lomé, Togo to present in an orthopedic and rehab conference there.  He leaves tomorrow, please pray for safe travels and that he has the opportunity to make good connections with other professionals while he's there. 

Home sweet cabin:


Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Q+A time. Where are we?

Time to brush off the dusty blog, we are well overdue for an update.  I decided the best way to catch up is in a question/answer format- this is what people have been asking us lately:

Where are you?

At the moment we are visiting Cairns, Australia where Nick's family lives. Since leaving Madagascar it has been a bit of a marathon, we've been in...

Perth: I (Suzanne) needed to go to Perth for the classroom portion of a 9 week course to qualify for my nursing registration in Australia.  So many people have been praying for us about this. This process has been complicated and taken a long time! Being able to complete this course was an answer to prayer and a testimony to God's faithfulness in our lives!!  

Brisbane:  After I completed my 4 weeks in Perth, we headed to Brisbane (Nick's home in Australia) where I did my 200 course practical hours, and Nick was able to go back to work at the Royal Brisbane hospital for just under 5 weeks.

Cairns: Now that I've completed my course, we have some time to catch up with family in Cairns before beginning our journey to go meet the ship in West Africa.

We were able to take a few days off between Perth and Brisbane, and visit the beautiful Margaret River region of Western Australia:

Where are you headed next?
Cotonou, Benin in West Africa, and we can't wait! We will arrive in Benin on the 19th of August for a 10 month field service. Nick is going to hit the ground running: he is presenting in an international conference in the neighbouring country of Togo the first week we arrive. The conference is called FATO (Fédération Africaine des Technicians Orthoprothésiste) and will be attended by professionals in rehabilitation from throughout Africa.

What does the future hold? Are you ever going to settle down!?
We always just take things year by year. We love what we do, and our hearts are firmly planted in Africa. :) We're thrilled to be part of the Benin outreach which takes us through June 2017. We've also applied for my permanent residency/spouse visa for Australia (which means that we will have a country where we can both legally live and work, always a good thing!).

Are you fundraising for Benin?
We are not yet fully funded for Benin. We are well on our way, but if you would like to partner with us financially we would be very grateful for your help! Details can be found on the "support us" page.

Will Nick run the same clubfoot program in Benin?
Yes!  The program went very very well in Madagascar. The clinic in Madagascar is continuing to treat patients, and the clinicians have more than proven their competency in treating clubfeet. 
The goal in Benin is to carry out a very similar program. Please join us in praying for our new partners in Benin who we will meet very soon!

Thank you for being part of this journey with us!  

If you would like to contact us directly please always feel free to send us an email: