Umm - this is our first blog post - ever! We hope it is okay.
Well, in two weeks time we, and Matthew our 18 year old son, will be in Dallas about to start our training before heading to Guinea on 28th October.
It has been four and half years coming and six months since we were officially accepted and our 'to-do lists' are nearly done! We've had a myriad of vaccinations, completed and signed many forms and policies, completed personality profiles, rationalised our bank accounts, sorted out mobiles, got our International Driving Permits, cleared and de-cluttered our house, revamped our garden to hopefully stop future flooding(!), bought luggage that will fit in our cabin (we hope!), checked our wardrobe complies with the Guinea dress code (very strict), spent £340 on Malarone (anti-malarials) for a three months supply for the three of us, booked our flights to Dallas, nearly booked a shuttle from Dallas to Mercy Ships HQ (must actually do that!), sold two cars, bought a new laptop, set up a VPN (what on earth is that?!), had a couple of short camping breaks on the Gower, a quick trip to Pembroke, had a fundraising tea and cakes afternoon, spoke at our church on a few occasions, went to the Mercy Ships End of Field Service celebration, set up a blog (what?), told people about Mercy Ships, had some get-togethers and tried to keep in touch with friends and family.
Intertwined with all this we have had some significant family life events:
Hannah (our oldest) graduated with a Masters in Civil Engineering after five years at Cardiff University
Matthew (our youngest who is also going to serving on Mercy Ships) passed his A Levels (hooray!) Matthew is on the left of the picture above looking very smart. (He has set up his own blog: matthewswestafricanadventure.blogspot.com )
|Zoe and Seth|
and Zoë (the middle child, as she keeps telling us) married Seth on 25th August.
Some fabulous family days!
Due to these events, our household has doubled in size recently with six of us now living in our house and the contents of two, or maybe three, university accommodations and wedding presents coming into the house too!
Oh, and we both finished our (paid) work - Lynne at the end of June (she had a party) and Stuart's self employment in July (couldn't have a party as he had no colleagues so he had one later with some previous work colleagues from his MOD days.)
Haven't quite mastered the art of positioning pictures! Hmm!
|Three Cliffs Bay|
|The parents selfie attempt|
|Sunset at Rhossili|
So, what's left to do?
We have our commissioning service tomorrow at Corsham Baptist Church and a final leaving party next Saturday. The realisation of goodbye is getting harder!
And, of course, we have to pack. Lynne really doesn't like packing and tends to keep packing until there is no more room! However, we have to make sure the cases fit in the car that Zoë will drive to take us to the airport. Had a test run this afternoon and we think six large bags, cabin luggage, Stuart's guitar and Matthew's ukulele will (just about) fit in Zoë's Honda Jazz! Oh, and final hair cuts as we don't know when we will get the next one!
We are looking forward to this new chapter in our lives with excitement and some nervous anticipation as we really are stepping into the unknown. How will we react to living on a ship with 400 other people from many different nationalities and living in a country so unlike England and where poverty is an everyday reality for so many and access to surgery that we would take for granted is non existent? We go with determination and a motivation to serve the people of Guinea as we believe we are going to where God wants us at this time. We so appreciate, and will continue to need, the love, support, encouragement and prayers of our family, church family and friends.
We will finish with the bible verse that has inspired us: 'And what does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.' Micah 6:8
Thank you for reading.
Everything communicated here strictly reflects our personal opinions and is neither reviewed nor endorsed by Mercy Ships. Opinions, conclusions and other information expressed here do not necessarily reflect the views of Mercy Ships.