Aha Moment #1: “For such a time as this.”
It’s becoming more apparent to me that my life experiences have been preparing me for right now. Each day of learning at Mercy Ships on-boarding is giving me a strangely cool feeling of refreshingly reassuring relatability (say that five times fast). During these recent “aha” moments, I’ve come to recognize that the circumstances of my life up ‘til now have played a critical part in preparing me “for such a time as this.” Here are a few examples of how things in my past have prepared me for my future:
- The years I spent in Human Resources, which included developing an understanding of the areas of business operations and how they all play a part in the overall success (or failure) of an organization
- Opportunities to learn about organizational development, design, structure, data and analytics
- Being able to work with all levels and types of people within an organization
- Interviewing people regarding their concerns and facilitating conflict resolution
- The struggles I faced when transitioning out of HR, dealing with some pride issues, and the journey of learning how to function in a new role
- Learning and understanding communication and culture
- Networking and collaborating on various projects with a variety of people, personalities and skill sets
- The experience of a company acquisition and the impacts of change on different people
- Exposure to many knowledgeable and influential people and the privilege of learning from them and their different leadership styles
- Gaining an awareness of the importance, impact and influence of leadership (good and bad)
- Experiences working with faith-based organizations like Tres Dias – such as:
- Getting to know a bunch of strangers with different faith backgrounds
- Dealing with the “fear of the unknown”
- Learning how to work together to achieve common goals
- Listening, being silent, dealing with conflicts, working through challenges, leading following, serving
- Getting to know a bunch of strangers with different faith backgrounds
- Attending different churches with different styles of preaching, music and traditions
- Organizing music for church retreats, teaching Sunday school, leading youth groups
- The relationship challenges I’ve faced, which have brought about clarity and new perspectives
- Being alone to learn about myself and what’s most important
- The circumstances I’ve experienced that allow me to relate to others who are experiencing similar things
- The personality tests and traits I’ve learned about and how people have strengths and weaknesses which impact how they interact
- The benefits of journaling
- The joy of expressing thoughts through words
- The benefits of speaking to a trusted friend about stuff
- Learning about love languages
- Continuing to learn French in college
- Learning so many things “the hard way”
- My parents – my family – and their courage, patience, support and unconditional love
As I’ve been enjoying my first couple of weeks of on-boarding at Mercy Ships, I can’t help but be reminded of Mordecai’s words to Esther in chapter 4. It encourages me to know that through a series of circumstances, life experiences and learnings, one can land the right place at the right time…or, “for such a time as this.”
Aha Moment #2: “Some Answers to Prayer Aren’t Limited by Time”
This past week, we heard from one of Mercy Ship’s dearest women, Nancy, who shared about answers to her grandfather’s prayers that occurred after he passed away. It became apparent to me that some of my own father’s prayers, things he asked of God on my behalf, are happening now. I’m pretty sure he asked for me to be able to fulfill my God-given purpose, to use my unique talents and abilities, to have an abundant life, to be protected, to know I am loved, and to have great joy. I see these things happening in my life now. And of course, as I thought about this, I was then asked to read aloud a verse from Psalm (19:14): “May these words of my mouth and this meditation of my heart be pleasing in your sight, Lord, my Rock and my Redeemer.” My dad made it a goal to pray this verse every day, and I just happened to be the one selected to read it in class as I was processing thoughts of his prayers for me. It was really beautiful to know that what we pray for can come to fruition long after we’re gone.
The Latest and Greatest Most Embarrassing Moments:
OK – enough serious talk. Now for the raw, unfiltered stuff.
#1 – Booty Coughs.
You know how little kids think they’re invisible when they close their eyes? Well, when I’m wearing noise-canceling headphones, for some reason, I feel as though no one can hear the sounds I make. Unfortunately, this is not true. I was recently lying in bed reading and wearing my noise-canceling headphones while my roommate was resting in her bed. It was so quiet in my private world of silence that I decided to release a “booty-cough” (a.k.a. “fanny beep” or “heinie hiccup”). I soon realized that just because I couldn’t hear it, didn’t mean she couldn’t. (I’m sorry, Nicole.)
#2 – Mighty Teamwork Bugs. We took a little “silent retreat” at a nearby state park. At the end, we spoke of all the special moments we experienced. Of course, I decided to share several things (because I’m seldom silent) about the nature around me – including this cool spider spinning its web:
I also felt it noteworthy to mention the three little bugs I observed working in
unison to move a rock around. They were a beautiful emerald green and very busy little critters, showing some massive heavy-lifting and teamwork skills. However, I later learned that they are called “Dung Beetles.” (OK, so that was not a rock.)
A Few More FAQs:
Is the ship safe? Yes. There’s a team of safety personnel who are in charge of all that stuff and take it very seriously. I’m impressed. There are even Ghurkas on board – supercool.
What’s your favorite extracurricular activity? Hmmm…Walmart trips? Not kidding, each week, about 20 of us go to Walmart to pick up stuff we want/need – snacks or things we forgot for the trip. My go-tos have been chocolate and fireballs. And chocolate. I also finally bought nail polish for my toes. (The more I learn, the more I realize that I don’t have to be completely without pretty stuff on the ship.) We can send a bunch of stuff to the ship in advance, which is really nice. We’ve also had some fun heading to other towns and eating out and doing fun stuff:
Have you learned a new language yet? Nope. But all of us are practicing French (the native language of Benin) using Duolingo…and there’s a bit of a competition underway, one that I’m losing. What has been really beautiful is hearing people pray in different languages like Swiss-German, German and Spanish. I really love it.
Do you like everyone you’re spending all this time with? YES! I’m surrounded by an incredible group of people. We’ve already become somewhat of a family. I love the stories of how each person ended up coming to Mercy Ships. I love hearing everyone’s culturally-specific ways of doing things and saying things. We’re all so different. So extraordinarily beautiful. Everyone respects each other’s need for space, but there’s also always a group doing something fun – playing a game, watching a moving, going for walks, swimming, working out, or sitting on the couch and talking while “devicing.” We all have responsibilities and take care of our living area to keep it clean, stocked and comfortable.
Have you seen any wildlife? Yes! I’m addicted to birds now. There was a family of adorable baby birds all packed in a nest which I visited daily:
Little by little, the babies started moving out of the nest, and finally, they were all gone! So sweet to watch and enjoy.
I also came across a decent-sized snake while walking in the woods one evening. No one believed me until I pointed it out on my phone…but if you look closely at this pic, you can try to find it!
There have been three scorpions in one of the family houses. Scary, but apparently fairly common.
We also saw a skunk the other night but kept our distance. (No photo, sorry.)
So, needless to say, I’m loving my time here and feel so fortunate to be in this environment, preparing to do some tough but rewarding work. Thanks for your thoughts, prayers and support!