2 ½ months onboard the Africa Mercy is not nearly enough to satisfy a heart craving to see hundreds of lives changed and hearts renewed. But it does serve to quench the thirst a bit. It was hard for me to leave when so many of the patients I was caring for were still in the midst of healing. I hated knowing that I wouldn’t be there to see their skin grafts all healed and the function that they would gain from their newly changed limb or face. But I knew that I was leaving them in very skilled and qualified hands who would update me on the outcomes! All this said, it really wasn’t too difficult to leave the ship because I was so excited for what was coming ahead!
5 days before Dogara and I left Guinea on our way to Sierra Leone and Nigeria, we had a nice night out in celebration of his last day working on the ship. Over the past few weeks, we were both very feeling very tired of our time in Guinea; tired of the political difficulties in Guinea, tired of long work days, and tired of him living off the ship and me on the ship. So celebrating his last day of work was a nice sigh of relief. We dressed up nice and went for a drink at an open air- ocean side garden restaurant called Fugu-Fugu-Faga-Faga. Great name, huh?! It was a nice and relaxing place to sit and talk and debrief our time in Guinea and look forward to our trips to Sierra Leone and Nigeria. After enjoying the warm breeze and each other’s company, it was time to start heading back to the ship. We walked along the ocean until we came to a soccer field that sat on the ocean. We had never been there before, so we decided to go in and explore. Dogara’s roommate was also with us at the time, walking around snapping picture, trying out his new camera. After a few minutes, we stood at the side of the field by the ocean, and Dogara suddenly started talking real serious and saying extremely nice things about me and our relationship... I was starting to wonder if he was feeling alright. Then I realized what was happening—in this perfect place, with this perfect man—was about to be a perfect moment that I would never forget. I soaked in every detail of the moment as he got down on 1 knee and asked me that fateful question, “will you marry me?” “Yes, of course!” was my ecstatic response as his roommate started snapping shots left and right!
|Me at the soccer field pre-proposal|
|wondering why he is talking so serious...|
|The moment of truth|
It was that beautiful moment that every girl looks forward to and I couldn’t have asked for a better story to tell. We had discussed our relationship and future extensively over the few months before this, and God had made it very clear to us that marriage was the next step, so I had been anxiously hoping and waiting for this moment, and couldn’t have planned for a better time. I asked him later if he was nervous, and he said no, nothing could make him nervous again after having the “discussion” with my dad on the phone!
5 days later we left for Sierra Leone to visit some of my old friends and favorite places. After 1 week there we flew to Nigeria to spend a month with his family and friends celebrating the Big News with all of them, and on June 1st I will be flying home to celebrate with all of YOU!
|early morning departure from ship|
|Enjoying our friends wedding in Sierra Leone|
|visiting with old friends in Sierra Leone|
I have some serious prayer requests this time that I earnestly ask you all to help me with:
- - We have applied for a fiancé visa so that we can get married in the US. It’s not easy for West African’s to get visas to the States, but we are confident that our relationship is designed and encouraged by God and by His grace we will get the visa! We ask for your prayers in this, especially for a speedy process!
- - Also pray for wedding plans to come together smoothly, as there is a lot of unknown as to when we will get the visa, and once it is granted we have 3 months to get married!
- Last but not least, pray for our relationship- that we will not get bogged down with concerns about the visa process and all the logistics of the situation, but that we can continue to grow and remember why we are doing all of this!