I am part of a family of six who followed God's call to live on a ship, the Africa Mercy, in order to bring hope and healing to the poor of West Africa. Living here has shaped my character and strengthened my relationship with the LORD. Although my life journey has included excitement, adventure, frustration, monotony, joy, heartache, craziness,mercy, fun, pain, hope, and many other highs and lows, God has always come through for me in the little things and the big things. As I continue serving Jesus I invite you to join me, support me in prayer, and catch up on what is happening in my life from time to time.

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Goodbye France!

It is the last week of my stay in France! At times during these past few months, I have felt that my stay was dragging on, and at other times it has seemed that everything was happening too fast. I have had both good times and hard times, and I am thankful that I was able to have this opportunity to learn and grow. I am also thankful for the two families that opened their homes to me this year, and for all the sacrifices they have made to help make my stay in France amazing. I will miss them, as well as the friends I have made. I'm so glad I got to meet them all!

I will be returning to Seattle on Saturday, and will begin my online classes. I'm excited to see my family in the U.S, but I know that I will never forget my French/Italian family that has hosted me in Troyes for the past months.

Vive la France!

Saturday, March 1, 2014


For the past week I have been on vacation in the Swiss Alps! My host family and I, as well as some of their friends, stayed in a little apartment in the mountains. Most of the time my host family went skiing. I have never skied before, so I could not go with them, but I got some rest, looked at the view, and walked around. I did get on some skis once, just to try it. It was fun, but it was also a lot of work!


Sunday, February 9, 2014


Things here have been going well. I am getting along with my host family and I really like the town. The school hasn't been perfect, but you can't have everything. I haven't done anything specifically interesting, but in general I have been having a good time.

I have bought tickets to leave France a bit before originally planned, in early April instead of early June. This is because I need to take some online classes to catch up on schoolwork, as well as take an AP French test. I have had some hard times this year in France, but I have learned a lot and am glad I came.

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Bonne Année!

On the 30th of December I made my transfer to my new host family in Troyes. The journey was about ten hours long. At 7:00 am I went by train from St. Omer to Lille. Once there, I walked to another train station where I caught a train to Paris North. I was supposed to meet a man from STS there, but we never found each other. After waiting in the station for two and a half hours, I decided to just keep going. I walked to the Paris East train station. By then I had missed my train, so I rebooked my ticket. My new train was late, but it came eventually. I made it to Troyes around 6:00 pm, about one and a half hours later than I was originally supposed to, but I made it!

My new host family is Italian. There are two boys, who are 10 and 15 years old. The city of Troyes is very nice, with some interesting architecture. The school I will be going to is right across the road from the house. I am happy to finally be here, and am just beginning to get to know my new host family and my new city.

On the 31st of December I went to a New Year's party with my new host family. It was at the house of one of their good friends. I had fun and ate some good food. I also got a drum lesson from one of the boys that lived there and got to play Mario Kart on the Wii. We didn't get home until 3:00 am. I am starting the New Year with new people in a new place, and I have high hopes for the next year. I wish you all a happy 2014, or as the French say, Bonne Année!

Thursday, December 26, 2013

French Christmas

Happy holidays! This year I got to experience Christmas in France. The festivities began on Christmas Eve with a visit to Church. A lot of friends and family came. After an hour of mass, we had a long dinner party with lots of food and conversation. The meal was venison with cranberries and a celery root purée. The children went to bed around midnight, but the adults stayed up for desert, coffee, and gifts. At 2:00 am, we put the children's gifts under the Christmas tree and went to bed. In the morning, the kids opened their gifts. Then, everyone gathered their belongings and returned to their respective homes. It was tiring, and I missed my family, but I still had fun!

I have moved to a temporary host family for a week because my host parents have gone to England. I will stay here until December 30th, when I will be moving to a new host family in Troyes for the final half of my visit to France.

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Christmas Exams

The next major event in my life will be the Christmas exams next week. We will take a two hour test for each of the six core subjects, covering everything we have learned so far this year.

While reviewing for the exams, I discovered that the history test here will be very different from what I am used to (all the others are similar). On the ship, the final exam in history usually consists of several multiple choice, matching, or fill in the blank questions, a few short answer questions, and one longer essay question. Here, the entire test is one giant essay. We will be given a text about either Athenian democracy, Roman democracy, or immigration and the role of Europeans in the spread of people around the world. There will be a consigne (ex. after presenting the document, define the Athenien democracy as given by Aristotle and then explain his criticisms against this regime),  which we will have to respond to in essay form using quotes from the text and our understanding of our lessons. I'm fairly certain that this will be the most difficult history test I have ever taken!

In general, the French schooling system seems to be more rigorous than those of the U.S and Britain. For example, every student takes French, English, and at least one other language, the options being Spanish or German. Many students also take a third language, either Chinese or Latin. In the U.S, most people only take English and one other language. Also, at my school in France every Friday there is either a two hour long test on a certain subject or two one hour tests on two different subjects. On the ship, we only take two hour tests four weeks in the year for midterms and finals. School hours here are from 8:00 to 5:30, while on the ship they are from 8:00 to 3:20.

In France, you choose a track (ex. Physics and Biology, Literature and Languages, Economics and Social Sciences, etc.)  at age 15 or 16. In the first year of high school you receive a general education and in the second your classes are specific to your area of interest. The goal of school is to prepare students to succeed in scoring highly on their chosen Baccalaureate, a test which determines the person's level of mastery in their chosen area. Higher education institutions and employers choose whether or not to accept a person based on their Baccalaureate scores. In the U.S, you do not need to choose a major until you have completed two years of University. There are the SAT and ACT tests, but as far as I know they are not specialized and are much less important than the Bac.

This sums up what I have learned about the French education system so far. If you are American or British, be thankful that you don't have to learn a third language! If your country's education system is more similar than that of France, be thankful that you get to learn so much! :-)

Thursday, November 21, 2013


Because I have lived on a ship in Africa for the past seven years, I have not seen seasons recently. In Africa, there is the wet season and the dry season, but no summer, fall, winter, and spring. Here in France, I am seeing the seasons! It is fall now, and it is really cold. The leaves are colorful and it will probably snow within the next few weeks. To everyone who lives here, this is normal, but to me it is exciting.

I have noticed people look at me weird when I pick up red leaves to look at them more closely or try to step on every crunchy brown leaf I see. I think that the way the sun shines in at an angle instead of straight down is really beautiful and that the sky is a different color blue here now then it was in the summer. I feel like running around outside and jumping in the piles of leaves and singing Christmas carols. I feel like taking off my coat and feeling the bite of the chilly wind, finding a seat under a tree, and writing an ode to autumn. I feel five years younger. Of course, I can't actually act on these thoughts since I have to go to school and study and do homework, but I am still amazed at the beauty of seasons.

Seeing that most people here don't feel the same and simply take the changing of seasons for granted makes me wonder how many beautiful things I participate in on the ship that I take for granted. It encourages me to look more carefully at the everyday things in life and to thank God for them.

One thing that I will be more thankful of once I return to the ship is the sense of community. Living in a house on land with just one family has made me realize how blessed the crewmembers of the Africa Mercy are to live and work together. I miss the feeling that comes of knowing that me and my role is just one small part of something much bigger: serving God, serving the poor, and serving one another in the messy, crazy, unique, wonderful community we call the Africa Mercy.