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Thoughts on thriving on board

The crew who call the Africa Mercy home are of many different cultures, family backgrounds and temperaments.  Thriving in our on-board community can look really different from one person to the next:  Some people find themselves energized by endless people-time, and others recharge their batteries more effectively alone. We all fall somewhere along this continuum, sometimes at different spots along it depending on what season we’re in.  I have found that comparing my own style to someone else’s just leads to feelings of guilt and burn-out, because quite honestly, after a busy day (which often, in my job, can include some fairly intense interactions), I’m often ready to get into my pajamas at 7:30 pm and cuddle up with my hot water bottle and a book.

 And you know what, that’s ok.

 Yes, I have to battle the FOMO (Fear Of Missing Out), wondering what games are being played in Midships or what great conversations could be had over a cup of coffee…  But ultimately what it boils down to is this question:  “How am I feeding my soul and my spirit?”  Yes, it is crucially important to invest in vulnerable, authentic relationships with others and with God, and I can figure out how to do that within the boundaries that I know help me to function best – because this isn’t a sprint, it’s a marathon; and I need to be able to sustain this pace.  This takes self-awareness (how am I really doing?), and of course a healthy dose of flexibility because life happens and crises come and our plans get changed all the time.

So, my version of thriving on board the Africa Mercy will probably look different to yours, because God has created us all with so much variety!  And one of the ways we can love each other in this floating community is to give each other permission – and hold each other accountable – to be intentional about feeding our souls.  



  • Donovan PalmerDonovan Palmer Posts: 17 - Current Staff
    It may seem intense to live onboard at times, but it is also immensely rewarding and IT IS POSSIBLE to thrive.  Great thoughts!
  • Dianna CashDianna Cash Posts: 11
    I appreciate what you've shared, Rachel.  I can definitely relate - and it always amazes me the number of introverts that God brings to this ship! Thank you for the reminder of not much Truth in that.  

    I love that we as Chaplains can be a part of helping others to "do well" and thrive in this beautiful community.  We've been resourced well with books and articles that speak to this (not to mention personal experience to draw on!!). "Soul Keeping" has been one of my favorite books lately...definitely lots of practical help and insight into this sacred task of engaging with God and taking care of our souls.  For anyone onboard, you're most welcome to come by the Chaplaincy office anytime - let us know how we can walk with you and help make your time onboard the best it can be!

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