Fabien and Fabius

24 July 2012

This just came through the Mercy Ships Facebook page, and I HAD to share with my fabulous readers! This is why I LOVE working for Mercy Ships - we are all on the same mission regardless of our 'job'.  The Deck department is the people who move the ship, engineers, motormen, etc. 

DECK DEPARTMENT COMES TO THE RESCUE - Orthopaedic patients Fabien & Fabius receive walking frames made by the Deck Department. From Engineering to O.R., and every other department in between, all our volunteers are actively engaged in life transforming acts of mercy!

Money matters.

24 July 2012

I'm still flying high off the awesome Ragnar experience (see below for more info...) and finding it hard to focus on what I need to focus on right now - fundraising.


Yes, as a crewmember on the Africa Mercy I need to raise all my living expenses, crew fees, and transportation costs to pay for the opportunity to serve.  Many people have called me insane, or said that's stupid, or ridiculous. In some ways, I do agree, as it would be significanly less stressful for me to NOT have to raise the support; asking friends and family to part with their hard earned dollars is a humbling and fear-inducing act! However, it's an amazing thing when you are serving with 450 people from all over the world and every one of them is paying to be there.  Everyone has worked really hard to get there and we all are willing to give up everything, even our pride and self-protection instincts to leave the comforts of a regular job with salary and benefits to trust in the provision of God and our friends and family. 

My needs for two to two and a half years is approximately $30k.  This seems huge. However, break it down - it's about $1200 a month, or really, I just need to find 120 people who are willing to commit to giving $10 a month.  Just ten dollars a month! That's like two or three trips through the Starbucks drive thru!

Okay. So please consider this. Please consider supporting me in my calling, to follow my dreams, and help the poorest of the poor in Africa.  The link to give your 100% tax-deductible donation is tabbed above, as well as to the right of this post.

I'd love to talk to you, answer your questions, make a presentation, speak to your group, feed you some authentic African food, or whatever else it might take for you to be willing to join me in this adventure. Please contact me. Krissyonmercy at gmail dot com.  You'll also get an awesome hand made gift from African artisans, regular communications and updates from me and the team over there, and that good feeling you get when you know you are helping someone in need. :)

Thanks for reading. Now for a few photos. Because photos always make long, wordy blog posts better. :)

Sunset in the open ocean

Port of Sierra Leone

Me and a precious girl, Lucia. Thiss little one stole my heart!

Ragnar recap and photos!

22 July 2012

What an adventure! The Northwest Passage Ragnar Relay was exactly what I thought it would be - EPIC and AWESOME.  And tiring. :)

Thursday afternoon we got together and decorated the vans.  Our team name was One Man Per Van - as our team was ten women and two men, and there was one man in each van :) clever.  Once we were all packed up and decorated, van one (my new home for a few days) got underway! We went out to dinner at Bostons Pizza and then up to Ferndale to stay at Nikki's parents-in-law's house for the night.  It was late when we got there, and race jitters really set in for me, so I didn't get much sleep. Maybe a couple of hours.
Starting line!

We had to arrive at Peace Arch Park (the Canadian border) in Blaine by 5:45am, so we were up at 4:15.  I felt alright, had slept decently the week before so one lost night of sleep wasn't too terrible at that point.  It was raining, though, which was sort of a bummer, because part of the allure of this run was that it would be beautiful to run through that part of the state! Oh well.  We huddled under tents to hear the safety briefing, rules, etc. Then Jen, our first runner, started off at 6:45!  Yay! The 200 mile party has begun...

As each runner was going throughout the whole race we stopped along their route to cheer them on, give them water if they needed it, and just be encouraging in general.  It was super helpful as a runner to know that your team is cheering for you and supporting you if needed!  I was runner two, so about an hour after the start Jen was reaching the exchange where we made the handoff.  Instead of a baton, like in a regular relay, Ragnar uses a slap bracelet thing like we used to love in elementary school. Very clever.  My first leg was 6.8 miles, and I was REALLY nervous beforehand. I knew I could do it but was worried about how slow I would go, how the rest of my team was not only mostly strangers but serious runners, etc. I need not have worried. My first leg was AWESOME - I ran better than I have ever run before, even with huge bullet-like rain drops pounding me the entire time. I never even had to stop to walk, and finished strong, feeling great, and smiling. It was awesome. Before that, I wasn't sure if I was going to be able to finish. After that, I knew I could, and would!
Me after my first leg - smiling, soaking wet!
After the firxt six legs we handed off the 'baton' to the other half of our team who met us there, in van 2.  Then we had about five hours to rest, eat, or do whatever we wanted while their six runners took their turn. We showered, stopped for some food, and then went to the next major exchange to try to rest before our next legs. I got about fifteen minutes of sleep but it was nice to lay out in the quiet and rest my mind and body. All of these major exchanges took place at high schools, so there were showers and food available as well as large sleeping spaces either outside or in the gymnasiums.  It was really well done.

Once van two transfered the baton back to us we were on our way for leg two. It wasn't pounding bullet rain at this point, but it was cool and overcast and kind of misty. It felt good, actually.  My run was 5.8 miles and it wasn't as great as my first, I did have to fight fatigue and some soreness set in, but was pleased with my own effort. Everyone did really well, and there was a ton of laughter in the van which was really great and made the whole thing just so much fun.  Our last runners were in the dark but the majority of us were still in daylight which was great.  We handed off the baton to Van 2 around 11pm, I think, then we booked it to find showers, food, and some rest at the next major exchange. I got about two hours of sleep, I think, and was moving pretty slowly.

Sleeping in the gym... with a couple thousand other runners
Van got in around 5:30am I think, so we were off again. My last run was only 3.1 miles, but it was very hilly and I was really hurting by the end. I focused on finishing strong, and am proud to say I did it without vomiting and only a few tears. :) Again, everyone did great and we were really a family cheering each other on after this much time together in a small confined area. :)

Once van 1 was completely done we headed to showers and then the finish line. By this time the sun finally made an appearance and it was nice to rest, eat, and wait for van 2 to finish up.  We all crossed the finish line together and received our medals, then headed home.

Overall, it was an amazing experience and I've realized a few things.  One, it's true you'll never regret shared adventure with friends. Two, I'm really much stronger than I give myself credit for.  Three, I've officially claimed the title of badass. :) And four, not letting fear make decisions for you is an awesome choice. Always.

The finish!

 So huge thanks to One Man Per Van for letting me join you and for all the encouragement!  Anyone considering doing a Ragnar? Just do it. Seriously. And thanks also to my teammates who took these pictures, as I didn't take a single one. You guys are awesome.

Peace out. Krissy

Ragnar. (huh?) And, the difference between a 5k and 10k...

19 July 2012

Okay. If you're new to following me and my blog, you might not know I've picked up running... as in, I've become a runner. I'm training for a half marathon.  And as of now, I'm a crazy insane runner.

I've just agreed to run in a 200-mile, 12-person team race... that starts tomorrow.  Well, technically the race starts on Friday morning, but I leave tomorrow.  It's called a Ragnar.  After some crazy Scandinavian viking adventurer.  And in a strange twist, I'm also a crazy Scandinavian adventurer.  And a Viking fan? Maybe? That might be stretching it...

ANYWAY... I digress.  (I'm getting loopy and should cut this off....)

When did I become so spontaneously crazy?  And at the same time, while thinking I'm insane, I'm so excited and energized by the very idea of embracing this adventure. The stories I will be able to tell will be epic. "Remember that one time I jumped into a 200 mile race with absolutely no training and finished without puking?" (no guarantee about a puke-free finish, however...)

July 7th (was that less than two weeks ago?) I completed my first 10k.  Until then, the longest race I had run was a 4.5miler, and several 5k's (3.1miles).  10k is 6.2 miles. (For the mathematically challenged...)  There's definitely a difference between a 10k and a 5k, and I'm talking about more than a difference in distance.  No, the 5ks are usually full of newbies and beginner runners, or not-so-serious runners... and I've always finished somewhere in the middle, passing people throughout the race, and in general, feeling pretty good about myself.  But in a 10k? They're serious runners.  No passing of people for me... in fact, I was passed by an embarrasingly large percentage of the runners in the race. 

BUT, I finished.  And I was NOT last.  So it was a success.  It was HOT, too, and I was melting in the sun and humidity in Minnesota.

THIS WEEKEND, it will be cooler here, however, I'm running significantly farther.  I'm running three legs of a 36-leg relay (12 people on a team, each running 3 legs).  My first leg is 6.8, my second, 5.7, and my third is 3.1 (all in miles).  Now, none of those distances alone bother me, it's the ENTIRETY of that many miles within a 36 hour period with very little sleep that worries me. I have been assured, however, if I can't finish, there are other people on my team who can finish for me.  And I still get the medal at the end.  I'm all about the bling. 

So at this point, my goal is to finish without dying. I'd really like to find the energy and stamina within myself to finish all three of my legs.  We'll see how it goes, though. I'm also not in the business of dying or getting injured, and will ask for help if I really need to.  No shame. 

If you're the praying type, send one up for me. :)


Patient stories

18 July 2012

Here's a few short yet incredible patient stories from Mercy Ships patients over the years.  You can have a direct impact on these lives, too!  Click the DONATE tab above to find out how to support my service on board the Africa Mercy!


Fourteen-year-old Abu had a good life in the Ivory Coast. Then one day the right side of his nose began to swell. It continued to spread, disfiguring his face. It took an extreme effort to eat, drink and even breathe. A friend of Mercy Ships, Jonathan Erickson, brought Abu to a Mercy Ship in Guinea. Maxillo-facial surgeon Dr. Gary Parker and dentist Dr. Desmond Tham did the onboard operations resulting in Abu’s freedom to pursue a new life.
Success Stories - Abu BeforeSuccess Stories - Abu After

Akodekois was seven months old when she had an onboard operation on a Mercy Ship docked in Benin. This cute child will likely never remember the surgery that removed a frontal encephalocele from her head during her first year of life. However, her thrilled family will never forget and tells everyone who will listen how Mercy Ships brought hope and healing to Akodekois.
Success Stories - Akodekois BeforeSuccess Stories - Akodekois After

“The witch of Freetown” was what Aminata used to be called. The ameloblastoma tumor had completely eaten into her left jaw, pushed up the floor of her mouth and moved her tongue over to where it touched her cheek. It was difficult for her to speak and she drooled continuously. Then one day Mercy Ships Dr. Gary Parker removed her grapefruit-sized tumour removed and inserted a titanium jaw implant. Ten years later, Aminata is still tumor free and making a lasting difference in other people’s lives.
Success Stories - Akodekois BeforeSuccess Stories - Akodekois After

Angelle grew up as an orphan, shuffled around from relative to relative. People thought she was cursed when the swelling on the side of her face rapidly grew to the size of a melon. After a remarkable surgery by dedicated surgeons onboard a Mercy Ship, Angelle’s life was changed forever. No longer cursed she walks with her head held high.
Success Stories - Angelle BeforeSuccess Stories - Angelle After

A mutant tumour weighing more than 5 pounds caused Ce to live life as an outcast among his people in the small village of Lukele. No one loved Ce. No one touched him. No one would even come near him because of the putrid stench of the mutant tumor. Ce lived all alone. When he was 18, his uncle heard of a Mercy Ship coming to Conakry for an outreach. With heavy doses of love and care from the Mercy Ships crew and after two surgeries onboard, the 18 year old Ce remarked: “I will never forget what you have done for me. My time on the Anastasis has changed my life forever.”
Success Stories - Ce BeforeSuccess Stories - Ce After

Nine-year-old Edoh looked much younger due to the difficulty she had eating before Mercy Ships came to Togo. The huge growth distended the entire left side of her face pushing its way through bone. It destroyed her nose and filled her mouth. Edoh’s left eye was dragged two inches off centre and a new relentless growth threatened to block her airway completely. Dr. Parker and Dr. Luer Koeper removed the tumour and created an eye socket, a roof for her mouth and new nose. A few years later in Germany, Dr. Koeper performed another surgery to remove the stretched skin hanging uselessly. A minor surgery was done when the Mercy Ship returned to Togo seven years later. Out of deep gratitude for her life being given back to her, Edoh looks forward to finishing school so she can be trained to become a nurse.
Success Stories - Edoh BeforeSuccess Stories - Edoh After

Hugues, 24, considered his life-threatening tumour to be a curse placed on him by a voodoo priest. Its aggressiveness defeated two previous operations. After a difficult 13 hour surgery, with crew members donating 9 units of blood, Hugues regained the use of his eye.
Success Stories - Hugues BeforeSuccess Stories - Hugues After

Kids Camp

17 July 2012

I was a cabin leader in 2007 and 2008 Kids camp (4-6 graders) through my church and have been looking forward to going back there this summer ever since I knew I was going to be home this year - it did not dissappoint! The weather was perfect and my campers were so much fun.  Love it!!

The view from my window.

My girls coloring their bandanas. A great idea, thanks mom!

Silly girls on the last day.  Gonna miss you girlies! Love, Krissy

The Lake

16 July 2012

Best idea ever? Go to Lake Hubert, MN, and spend an entire week alarm clock free, no schedule, no plans, except to soak up the sun, run, shop, eat, sleep.... brilliant.

June 28-July 7, that's exactly what I did. It was glorious. It was warm and sunny, a lovely contrast to the cold rain we've had all spring in Seattle. I love the lake, oh so much. Most of my very favorite childhood memories occured at the lake, where there was always cousins to play with and water to play in, turtles to catch, sand castles to build, boats to sail, and games to play. I haven't been there for three years, which is just far too long. My heart loves this place.

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