Three flights and a little more than 24 hours later, I am back on the beautiful big white ship I call my home! What a relief to arrive. What a miracle to have all my stuff arrive with me at the same time!
Lufthansa was a dream to fly with. The crew were very professional and friendly. The planes were very comfortable as far as planes go. I had the pleasure of sitting in the emergency row on the first leg and the bulkhead on the second leg. More leg room than I’ve had in a long time, but I’m really looking forward to sleeping in a bed tonight.
Going through customs and immigration was surprisingly smooth on both ends. The only small blip was in the form of a customs agent here in Congo wanting to search the Mercy Ships bag of medical supplies. Once the woman realized what I was carrying and who I was carrying it for, she smiled and said, Mercy Ships! No problem. You may go.
On the other side of the exit, I was greeted by two ladies from the ship. We picked up two other crew members and made our way back to the ship in the dark African night. I’m looking forward to seeing Congo in the daylight tomorrow.
When we arrived back to the ship, we were held up briefly at the gate because we didn’t have ID. After checking our passports with the list, we were cordially welcomed and let inside.
The people here seem to be very open and friendly. I think it’s going to be a really good year! Thanks for all your prayers and support!
I got up early today because I knew we were sailing. Our departure date was supposed to be a secret, but when you live on a conspicuous white ship in Africa that is nearly impossible. The radio was telling folks our departure date! Ha! So we tricked them. We left a day early. Why would you trick the people Michelle? Mainly because we didn’t want to pick up stowaways. But that is for another blog post.
The deckies got to work. They loaded the last landrovers. The dive team pulled up all the intake filters. We had one last at sea drill to make sure everyone was accounted for. We had one last stowaway search involving all crew big and small. Then we made our way to deck 7 to watch as, one by one, the mooring lines were thrown off, the gangway lifted up, and the entrance sealed. The engines began their familiar growling as the ship moved away from the dock. Then the tugs came to push and pull us away. All the dock workers waved us goodbye with shouts and blown kisses. As we pulled out of the port, the tugboats chased us and blew their horns in a raucous goodbye. Finally, the pilot boat moved alongside as four pilots jumped off our ship onto their own.
As all the horns were blowing, I cried tears of sadness and joy. Au revoir Guinea! I will never forget you! I will carry you in my heart for eternity. You have given me more than I ever dreamed possible. Mercì! Thank you God for allowing me to know your beautiful Guinean people!
I am finally on my way to Guinea! We pulled away from Tenerife yesterday morning.
The weather was perfect for our first day of sailing, blue skies, smooth seas. I prayed for two weeks to have smooth seas. God is good!
As we pulled away from the port, there were folks on the dock to say goodbye. There was a man on the dock who sent us off by playing hymns on his trumpet! He played Amazing Grace and How Great Thou Art. I cried. I’m so excited to get to Guinea!
Since I get sea sick, I brought scopolamine patches. I’m so grateful to God they work! The Africa Mercy is an old train ferry with a flat bottom. It was never meant to sail in the open ocean. So when it is sailing, it rolls from side to side. I’m having a great time though because of that little patch.
Now that we’re at sea, the bow is open for dolphin and whale watching. We haven’t seen any yet, but I’m optimistic. It’s so nice to get on the deck and view the big wide Atlantic. It’s also crazy to be in the middle of the ocean with no land in sight.
Right now, the ship is holding more than 200 people, 20 landrovers, and 18 containers. It also holds more than one million dollars in fuel. I am completely fascinated by all things ship.
Please continue to pray for us, for a safe journey, safe arrival, and protection from any nefarious activity. Thanks so much for your continued support!
View of Tenerife from a great distance.