Friday, September 9, 2011

The Pain of Living Life Together

Community.  It's a great word, isn't it?  It sounds so inviting and together.  I mean, "unity" is built right into the word, so it must give you warm fuzzies all the time, right?  Currently there are about 370 crew members living on the ship.  In addition to this we have another 194 employees who live in the Freetown area who come onboard to work with us.  So, in a ship that is 499 feet long, this means there is not much time or space to find yourself alone.

In addition to this, part of the beauty (and pain) of living in community is that your life is shared with others.  You know the excitement (who got engaged last weekend?  You're going where for your vacation?  You are extending your stay?), and you also feel the pain.

We've experienced some of the normal pain of saying goodbye to those whose time on the ship has come to a close.   With new crew members arriving and departing nearly daily, goodbyes are inevitable.

The more painful moments though, are when we share in the loss with crew members.  And it seems to come in waves (as I'm sure you've noticed in your life).  This week we are joining in prayer with several of our crew as they are suffering.  Don Stephens, the founder of Mercy Ships, was in an ATV/four-wheeler accident with his son last weekend.  For nearly twelve hours they were pinned underneath the four-wheeler.  Both are in (separate) hospitals in Colorado being treated.  At nearly the same time we heard of a sudden and tragic loss of life of the mother of another crew member who has been here with us since this spring.  The following day the brother of another crew member was in a severe bicycle accident at home and was put on life support.  An OR nurse was diagnosed with gall stones and needed to return home to the US for surgery.  And this happened in the course of four days.

So, we feel the pain of these friends.  And while at times it seems a heavy burden, we are grateful to be able to stand together with them and share the load so they don't have to carry it all.  We ask that you would join us in lifting up our fellow teammates in prayer.  I don't think it's a coincidence that we are bringing "hope and healing," and those are the areas that seem to be under attack in the lives of those working with Mercy Ships.  Lord, may you be glorified in the midst of suffering.

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