Thursday, February 21, 2008

Lunar Eclipse

Lots to tell you about, but little time to write. Perhaps this weekend I can fill you in on screening, etc. Last night I dragged myself out of bed to watch the total lunar eclipse. While it was prime time viewing in the US, here in Monrovia, totality started at 0301, which meant it interfered with prime sleeping time. Earlier in the evening I had checked out a NASA website that provided details of 7000 years of eclipses. While standing on Deck 8, I couldn't help but marvel at the wonder of how God set everything in motion and they continue predictably today so that someone with a computer program can tell when eclipses occured in the past and will occur over the next three millennia. The writer of Hebrews says that through his Son, Jesus Christ, God made all things and the Son holds all things together by his word.

I also considered the words of Psalm 19, "God's glory is on tour in the skies, God-craft on exhibit across the horizon." (The Message) I hadn't remembered these later verses, but I think they will be my prayer each day: "Clean the slate, God, so we can start the day fresh! Keep me from stupid sins, from thinking I can take over your work." It's so easy to get caught up in the busy-ness of the days, I must often remind myself that I can't take over his work. I'm glad he wipes the slate clean and offers a new beginning each day.

I tried to get photos, but clouds moved in and there were only brief windows of clear sky. I haven't even downloaded the few I took to see if they turned out. Mostly I just enjoyed the wonder of the night and the reminder of God's steadfast presence.

President George W. Bush visited Monrovia today, so many of the streets were closed to traffic. We knew about this in advance, so we kept our eye patients overnight last night. Usually they arrive the morning of surgery, but we didn't want to take any chances with delays.

Liberian President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf came to the ship Tuesday afternoon and greeted the crew. She is the kind of woman one could put their confidence in as president. She has taken a stand against corruption and is making a difference in her nation.

Monday, February 4, 2008

Almost to Monrovia

We're on track to arrive in Monrovia tomorrow morning about seven. We were six hours ahead of schedule, so they've used the time to practice different maneuvers. It's a good thing everything is still tied down as we've made a lot of turns. Earlier today we had a swell from the starboard side, causing the Africa Mercy to roll from side to side. This ship is so stable that it likes to return to the upright position as soon as possible. That makes for a regular rocking motion.

I stayed up until three this morning to listen to the Super Bowl via NFL radio and watch the Game Center updates on the big screen. We don't have satellite tv during the sails, so there was no chance to watch it live. Our bandwith is minimal, so a few of us gathered in one place to listen together. Let's just say I was the only one disappointed in the outcome. When I checked my email this morning, I had one letter of condolence. Others offered their condolences throughout the day. A few people overheard and thought that someone in my family had actually died, so I had to tell them that it was just that the Patriots lost! I think I've done pretty well, considering I only managed four hours of sleep last night. A couple who arrive Friday night will bring a recording of the game with them and I've reserved the International Lounge to show it Saturday evening.

Busy day today, but somehow didn't seem to knock too many items off my 'to do' list. Worked through lunch (which ended early to accommodate our prayer time at 1245) and right after dinner I had to go to Toastmasters. I was just an Ah-counter tonight, to it was an easy night in that respect. Next week Monday will be even busier. I'm scheduled to give my 10th speech at Toastmasters in the evening and right after that the HealthCare Services Open House begins.

Good night!