Elements of a Memorable Story

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May 18, 2018 by kshearon12

A note about this post:  I started this entry many weeks ago and am just getting it finished now.  I flew out of Cameroon about a week ago to get home in time for a friend’s wedding but the sentiment remains the same.  Read ahead too for some ‘official’ news!

Life is a series of creative moments and good stories contain memorable scenes.

I must confess that the last few weeks have not been particularly memorable.  On the surface it seems when you are working overseas and live a life such as I do that each day should be marked with the extraordinary, but this is not the case.  Don’t get me wrong, I love what am doing (even on the hard days) but you can easily fall into a routine and I think that is just a normal part of life and making a home somewhere.

I recently reread one of Donald Miller’s books (A Million Miles in a Thousand Years) and in this book he weaves the elements of a good story with his life after the huge success of his earlier work Blue Like Jazz and the writing of the movie script.  It is a good read, I would recommend it (I have read it more than once so that should tell you something!) and he has some nice thoughts on memorable scenes from your life and the impact they have on your future.

One of my favorite quotes of the book is:

“I don’t think memorable scenes help a story make sense.  Other principals accomplish that.  What memorable scenes do is punctuate the existing rise and fall of a narrative.”

It is okay if life is not always drastic mountain peaks and valleys.  There is priceless normalcy in the day to day that encourages life to keep moving forward.  Memorable scenes are what make that perfect video clip or Kodak moment possible but it is in the mundane day to day where the faithfulness is found.  As my time in Cameroon quickly comes to a close I am reminded of a few (of many) of the memorable moments from this field service:

  • Getting the laboratory setup and welcoming our first patients
  • Reaching the summit Mount Cameroon at over 4 thousand meters
  • Women’s Health dress ceremonies
  • Seeing a blockbuster like Black Panther in Africa
  • Coming up with creative solutions to supply shortages
  • A women’s retreat geared toward women working overseas coming at the perfect time

Ten years down the road I am sure I will look back at this time serving on the Africa Mercy as a very memorable moment and turning point in lots of ways and I am excited to officially announce (even if this has been in the works for a while now) that I will be returning to the ship to serve for the next field service.  The ship will be heading back to Guinea, which is where the ship was docked for 9 months in 2012-2013 and is where I first served on the AFM.  It seems like a full circle that I will be heading back there to serve again.  I am looking forward to see what all has changed in this beautiful country that stole my heart 5 years ago.  I will continue to work as the Senior Medical Laboratory Scientist and have the privilege of installing at least one new instrument which will be a new adventure and challenge.

So what has happened since writing this post?  I arrived back to the US from the ship on May 12th and am in my dear friend and college roomie’s wedding on May 19th.  I will be splitting my time between my parent’s in Fergus and staying with friends in Duluth until early July when I journey back to the ship.  I would love to meet up with as many of you as possible to catch up a bit and see what all has been going on at home while I have been away.  I am looking forward to a bit of rest after a particularly challenging and demanding field service so I am fresh and ready for Guinea.

Here are a few before and after photos of some of our patients in Cameroon.  It was a honor to be a part of one of their memorable moments when they stepped foot on the ship’s gangway.  I am excited to think of what their futures will hold!


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This is my personal blog. I am serving with the organization Mercy Ships but the views, thoughts and opinions here are my own. For more information from the official Mercy Ships site please go here:




Sending mail to Africa can be a challenge. Here are a few ways to contact me while I am away:


Crew Mail: Letters, cards and other flat things

Kathy Shearon — Hospital
M/V Africa Mercy — Crew Mail
P.O. Box 2020
Lindale, TX 75771

Container: packages of any kind, please note these will take up to 2-3 months to arrive to the ship

Kathy Shearon — Hospital
M/V Africa Mercy — For Container
P.O. Box 2020
Lindale, TX 75771


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