Unexpected Changes Once Again
Once again I am being taught the lesson of patience and flexibility. For the last two years I have had this lesson reinforced time and time again. After my latest knee surgery, during my recovery, dealing with the unknown about what my next steps were after finishing my degree, and when I was plucked from the Africa Mercy and sent to the Global Mercy in December. And now it’s time again for me to practice this lesson I know all too well.
Friday 8 April, I was pulled into the crew doctor’s office with a chaplain counsellor. I knew that I had a medical review coming up but this was unexpected. I was told that I am being sent back to Canada on a Medical LOA (Leave of Absence) because the service I need for my medical review is not available on the ship nor the island of Tenerife. I don’t want to go into the specifics of what it is that I need treatment for but just know that it’s not serious.
The only reason I am coming back to Canada briefly is because there aren’t the resources here to treat me in order for my extension to be complete. I will be continuing my work remotely (thank goodness for Teams and internet!) so nothing is changing except my location. This is something I need to do if I want to make Mercy Ships my long term goal which is something that I want for myself. I feel like the mission is too good to give up and I don't want to leave the work I'm doing until God himself calls me home.
Before I say anything else I want to put emphasis on the “briefly” part of the initial statement. This is not going to be permanent. This is not the end of my mission with Mercy Ships. This is simply just a brief reprieve before going to Senegal. It’s a leave of absence and not a dismissal. I am still actively working with the team to get the ship up and ready for patients in its first field service.
Thankfully, because the issue isn’t severe enough, I am able to finish out my time in Europe with my lovely parents. For months they have been planning to come to the Islands to visit the ship and meet all the wonderful people I have been connecting with while on the Global Mercy. So on 10 April they arrived and we had an amazing week on the island together. I packed my things in and amongst the adventures and then off we went to Paris.
We spent a whole day just touring Paris and seeing as many sights as we could in just one day. We managed to see the Louvre, Pont de Neuf, Notre Dame, Shakespeare and Company, Museum of Orly, Eiffel Tour, Arc de Triumph, and the Opera House! Twenty thousand steps, 12 km, and 86 flights of stairs later we all collapsed on our respective beds in the hotel.
With Papi tucked in and Mom resting her feet I got one final burst of motivation to go down the street to get some authentic French crepes. While listening to classic French music we devoured our crepes. They were a delicious last hurrah to end out our time in Paris.
The next day we hopped on a high speed train going through Belgium to Amsterdam where we spent our last day in Europe before heading back to Canada.
After an amazing day touring the tulips at the famous Keukenhof we gathered all our things and prepared for a very long day of travelling back to Canada. We arrived at Schipol Airport right when there was a strike happening so it took us 3 hours to go through check in alone. Then it took us about another 45 minutes to go through security and immigration. Thankfully, KLM delayed the flight by an hour so we still had some time to relax and get some food before the 8.5 hour flight back to Calgary. Eventually we arrived back onto Canadian soil and began the final leg of our journey. The roads were clear so the drive back to Medicine Hat was smooth.
It really is bittersweet right now. I had a blast with my parents exploring these places with so much history but I am also sad to be back unexpectedly. I am holding onto the hope that I get to continue supporting the team as they build up the ship as it prepares for starting it’s long life as a hospital ship. It’s getting close to being ready and I can’t wait to be there for the first field service on the Global Mercy.