These people need our help ,Gods children in need is my mission indeed
Caring for another, giving of oneself, going the extra mile, listening carefully, and showing great mercy – these are the traits the care givers on the great white hospital ship demonstrate every single day, day after day. Volunteers all, the surgeons, nurses, lab techs, X-Ray technicians, medical support staffers, dentists, dental hygenists, ship’s crew, cooks,teachers, servers, coffee baristas, and cleaners actually pay their own way to be on this hospital ship in West Africa. Yes, you read that correctly. They are true volunteers in every sense, willing to spend their time and resources to do something positive, needed, and life-affirming.
The Africa Mercy is a state-of-the-art hospital ship; the only privately-owned and sponsored one in the world. She is staffed by volunteers; people such as you and I who realize that millions of West Africa’s people have no access to badly needed medical and dental care. Without regard to race, gender or religion, those in need are served. In Africa, 75% of the people live near a port city. The Africa Mercy comes into a port, providing a clean, controlled medical facility all ready to serve. The volunteers go out into the country to find people in need and bring them back to the ship for care. Radio advertising in the African country also helps to encourage people to come to the ship for help.
I have worked in and for volunteer organizations for all of my adult life, and it is my considered opinion that the volunteers I have met through my work with Mercy Ships are the most open-hearted, giving, generous, and caring I have ever encountered. There is an extraordinary spirit of “we CAN do it!” in the volunteers. I have been proud to be a part of the Mercy Ship’s volunteer staff, I continue to support Mercy Ships financially, and I represent the organization whenever I can to let others know about the good work being done.
Another aspect of Mercy Ships that should be mentioned is its highest rating by the Better Business Bureau as an accredited charity. Every dollar contributed is matched (one and one half times) by contributed goods and services, thanks to many generous corporate donations of medical equipment and other goods. Mercy Ships is financially transparent; its annual financial statements are posted on its website for the world to see. It is not as a Pollyanna that I affirm Mercy Ships to be honest and caring; I’ve seen the world, and the world is enriched by the work of Mercy Ships and her volunteers.
Our family of four was able to serve six summers (so far!) aboard the Anastasis and the Africa Mercy. We served in Europe, South Africa, Liberia, Benin, Sierra Leone, and Togo as leaders of the Academy's Summer Program. Our job enabled us to work with the ship children during the day, in daily activities with them as well as bringing the children to see the patients on the ward and at Hope Centre. As a family, we can not say enough good things about Mercy Ships. Each time of service was better than the time before. Imagine seeing the first patient arrive in Liberia for surgery on the Africa Mercy . . . imagine your children asking you each time you visit an orphanage or the ward if we could please adopt again . . . imagine see a glimpse of heaven on earth as people from every tribe and nation gather together to worship our God . . . imagine seeing the lame walk, the blind see, and those without hope receive hope. These were amazing times for our family and we all look forward to the day we can return to the ship and serve again!
My husband Frank and I spent 5 years as volunteers with Mercy Ships on the M.V. Anastasis from 1999 to 2004 (4-6 months of each year) and we are a donor to the ministry now and would love to serve again if we have the opportunity. We know that they need a ship especially designed for this type of ministry and we're told that plans are in the works to build one. The "60 Minutes" program had featured Mercy Ships twice and on the update it told of a couple that made a generous donation toward the construction of this ship. We have seen first hand the lives that have been saved and changed through the free surgeries, dental work, community development, etc. Through the building of clinics, wells, latrines and the education of Africans in basic hygiene, waste management and maintenance of a pure water supply, they have benefited West Africa in a most positive way.
My husband was able to observe several of the surgeries, and was most fascinated by that experience. He is a machinist and welder so he was doing repairs on the old ship that had to be retired. I did a different job each time we went back. I even cooked on the second trip. I love children so I worked in the pre-school 2 years. My college was in accounting so I worked in the bank on the ship helping exchange money and other money matters. We were involved as retirees and found it the most rewarding experience of our lives with many blessings and benefits we had not dreamed of prior to joining Mercy Ships. Serving as part of an international crew, we now have a wonderful international family that have learned the most important lesson in life....our life is not all about us and as we give of ourselves and our resources, we experience the blessings of God and the joy of giving to those much less fortunate than us. We are so blessed to have served with Mercy Ships
Frank & Wendy Barker Mesa, Arizona
I was very impressed with the entire organization. First and foremost, having the ship stay in one location for 9 or months provides continuity of care that many of the 1-2 week medical missions don't provide. This also gives sustainabilty for the longterm for the care of that particulr region where the ship is docked.
The focus on the mission of providing excellent surgical care to this very poor patient population is extraordinary. The logistics of getting there and having all the volunteers from all over the world work together in a friendly and focused manner says alot about the organization and the people who volunteer to work on the shipi.
Also, many thanks to the people behind the scenes at headquarters that help coordinate the thousands that make the commitment.
The experience (fall of 2011) I recevied during my stay was beyond expectations, and had me coming back this year for a longer stay and bringing a surgical resident to potentially develop a humanitarian surgery rotation.
My Wife and I wanted to serve with an organization that would allow us to bring our daughter. Not experienced at traveling and staying overseas as a family we wanted to find an organization we could trust should something happen. We were able to do this in 2008 - 2009.
Mercy Ships met that need. Not only were we able to serve as a family but we were able to engage in the culture in many ways.
Mercy Ships provides a safe mission experience. Great place for any person wanting to do something in another country for the first time.
I have served with this organization for over 13 years and have served both on board the ship - Africa Mercy and at the International Office in Lindale where I am still currently serving. I totally believe in the vision and mission of Mercy Ships and have seen first hand tens of thousands of lives impacted/transformed through the work Mercy Ships does. Mercy Ships cares for the whole person and makes a positive difference in the lives of those they meet. I feel honored and privileged to have a small part in what they do and to be able to say I represent Mercy Ships through my work.
I volunteered and served onboard MV Africa Mercy the summer of 2012 and it was the most rewarding experience of my life! To see the changes that the ship makes in lives first hand is amazing! To have the opportunity to make a difference was wonderful! There is close a knit community onboard ship with one goal, to serve people and improve the lives of the less fortunate. I feel very blessed for having been a part of that community for a short while!
I joined the Mercy Ships team over 10 years ago and lived on board one of the ships or 3 1/2 years and then transferred to work in the Texas International Operations Center. I enjoy what I do as it is behind the scenes, but it brings such great rewards to see the transformations in peoples lives when they receive a surgery that literally changes or saves their lives. I work with some really great people.
I've worked on the Africa Mercy once before, 5 months is Guinee. There I desided to come back for 3 months to the Republic of Congo. I'm a wardnurse, and worked serveral specialties like VVF (Vesica Vaginal Fistula), orthopedics and plastics. Very diffirent then the work you do at home! All the diffirent nationalities on one ward, lower complexity in patient care, but very good for spending real time with the patients and personal development. A very good experience for me, something that changed my life for ever! During the time with Mercy Ships you get to have time to really think what you want to do next and how you want and can serve God. The most importend thing.
I initially took a three-month leave of absence from work in order to volunteer with Mercy Ships. That three months turned into a total of 14 months while the ship was in Benin (2009) and Togo (2010). I started as a ward nurse but also worked as a charge nurse and helped coordinate the VVF (vesico-vaginal fistula) surgery program in Togo.
Most importantly, I re-energized my passion for nursing and discovered that there's no greater joy than using the skills God has given you to help others. It was both a joy and a challenge to live and work in such close quarters with an international volunteer crew.
My time with Mercy Ships was a watershed experience for me. I might have stayed longer, but I returned to the USA to further my nursing education with the goal of returning overseas with greater skills and training. I would definitely consider serving with Mercy Ships in the future.
I had known about Mercy Ships for many years but first had an opportunity to serve aboard AFRICA MERCY for three weeks in 2012. Since I am an engineer I worked in the engine room. I was awed by the experience of so many volunteers from all walks of life and over 30 counties applying their skills to make a first rate hospital accessible to so many people who otherwise would have no where to turn. It was a moving experience especially as one of the crew members I got to know had himself been treated by Mercy Ships to remove a huge life threatening growth on his face. To see him today, handsome, happy, and most importantly, paying it forward, is just one reason Mercy Ships my favorite charity.
I thought I wasn't Christian or Religious enough to work with Mercy Ships, so I would sit there and stare at this job posting for weeks not knowing that my life would change. I knew I needed a change in my life and my job, but I didn't know what. I had applied for so many jobs and got nothing, not a peep, so I applied with Mercy Ships. I was desperate. I had already given my notice and I was scrambling to find another source of income. At first getting the Job was it just a job.. but, all of 2 days later I'm going through patient stories and I just kept reading and reading some more.. It's like I couldn't stop, my eyes would fill up with tears and my heart would sink. I went home and hugged my babies so tight and thanked God for them both. Receiving the job here at Mercy Ships I realized that God had a plan for me. A bigger plan than any corporate ladder I could climb. I can't wait to wake up every morning and come to work. Being in the marketing department I get the honor of seeing the Africa Mercy Patients before pictures and stories and their after pictures and stories. I have caught myself crying at my desk and thinking what if that was my 2 or 6 year old baby boys. Mercy Ships is not just my place of employment, it has become my home, my family and MY LIFE. I am amazed everyday how God calls thousands of people together from all over the world with different languages, different cultures and different backgrounds.. how he brings us all together to help the medical, emotional, life-changing needs of others. To a country that has been forgotten by so many. It is my pleasure to say I work for Mercy Ships
I served on the Caribbean Mercy in Honduras in 2000 and it was an eye opener for me !I watched as hundreds of people lined up to get free eye treatments, some who could not see but after a quick surgery on the ship they regained their eyesight! I also took time off from my engine-room duties to go out in the countryside to assist in digging water wells. The joy of the local people seeing water gush out from the ground and knowing they will have clean drinking water was amazing.
I have volunteered with Mercy Ships a total of 7 times now. The first 2 were land-based operations, meeting the group in Honduras and working as a nurse in the Operating Room. The other 5 were on the Africa Mercy, off the coast of Africa. I just returned from the most recent trip 3 days ago and would gladly, greatfully do it again! You get a sense of helping people and camaraderie that you won't get anywhere else!
As a volunteer I saw firsthand the amazing impact Mercy Ships has on people and places around the world. My life was changed forever as I witnessed Mercy Ships give hope to the hopeless. This organization does not waste its time or your money. I would volunteer again in a heartbeat.
There is no better way of discribing MercyShips than to say that heaven came to earth in the form of a white ship. When working on board the Africa Mercy, there is such a sense of purpose and community. Everything done is done out of love for others. The crew, the patients and the community open your eyes to something greater and farther beyond yourself. It is an incredible work they are doing. They are changing lives; both those of the African people and those of the crew. There is nowhere else I would rather be.
I didn't want to volunteer for two weeks on a ship docked in Africa. I went because my husband wanted to go. I am not a medical professional, so I was given the task of housekeeping. It was hard work, but a wonderful experience because I got to know a lot of people, some from European countries, others from African countries. I took great satisfaction in realizing that though I was mopping floors and wiping down walls, that I had become an integral part of the mission. It was through that experience that two years later I was eager to return. This time, instead of doing housekeeping, I spent most of my days offship, assisting a team of volunteers. We went to the center where surgical patients stayed prior to and after surgery. We visited a hospital, children's homes and a self-sustaining village. I met a couple who were caring for many children who had become orphans because of the war. I met people during the time on the Africa Mercy that I would never have met. I walked in Freetown, Sierra Leone and Cotonou, Benin, countries, I never would have been inclined to visit. My experience with Mercy Ships opened my eyes to need in the world and the abundance that I have. Visiting those countries, caring for the people who traveled long distances to obtain medical and dental care was made all the more doable for me because of the staff and the organization itself. Mercy Ships provided a great deal of information ahead of time so there were no surprises. Also, there was always someone to meet us at the airports and assist us in getting to and from the ship. My days were organized with a mix of scheduled times and free times. I had the option to participate in additional activities off the ship. The meals were well balanced and tasty and the ship was clean.
I have had the opportunity to serve on the Africa Mercy twice, and once with a land based Mercy team. From the moment I left the airport, I felt welcome and protected. From my teammates in the OR to my international roommates, everyone was there with one purpose - serving others. And the worship.... unlike any you can find anywhere, full of passion and adoration for our God. Hoping to return, but meanwhile, I wear their logo and apparel proudly to tell others of their work and ministry. Great job team!!
I served with mercy ships 2 years ago as a staff nurse in the recovery room. I have a new perspective on the world after seeing the tremendous needs of the patient population. It was also a true delight to serve the world's forgotten poor with so many other international professionals. It was the international body of Christ in action.
I have volunteered on 3 of the mercy Ships in a variety of positions over a period of nearly 10 years. It has been my privilege to serve for 3 or 4 months at a time in hospitality, housekeeping,surgical sterilizer and sales. We are given the opportunity to work off ship, in a number of places. I have been in many orphanages, prison in Benin, villages and hospitals, including a leper colony.
Mercy Ships has a Christian foundation and we are given many opportunities to exhibit our faith , both verbally and through example. As a hospital ship providing free medical services to the poorest of the poor in our world, we see the worst deformities corrected and the lowest spirits raised. We are blessed to be able to give of ourselves to those so needy and worthy. However, most often, an equal, if not a greater, share of blessings comes to those of us who serve.
I went to Guinea to serve with Mercy Ships last year, and I didn't know what to expect. All I had was a yearning to serve and a love of travel. After setting foot on the ship, every wall is proudly displays thank-you gifts from patients that express their gratitude by singing the praises of the organization and its crew. Even after only two months in the pharmacy, I could see why. Every part of the organization is seeped in love for those that are forgotten and hurting, from the staff in the kitchen to those in the clinic to the wards. And my favorite part was seeing former patients and staff from past field services join the crew and travel with the ship, in essence wanting to continue the care that they experienced. I'm so thankful I was able to participate, and I hope to return soon.
I am a physician and a radiologist who enjoys doing global mission work, and Mercy Ships provides me with the opportunity to do so with like-minded individuals and professionals. The ship is a great environment for providing needed services to underserved Africans, and it is a privilege and honor to serve them in a Christian way. The ship also provides spiritual growth and physical security and room/board in places where that may be next to impossible. I have served 3 times on board, for short missions, and hopefully will do more next year, and the next, and the next..........!!
I went to Mercy Ships in Togo, Africa, in 2012 to work as a recovery room nurse. It was scary to go by myself for a month, but from the moment I arrived on the ship, I was treated so hospitably and caringly. I was amazed at how they run such a "tight ship" (no pun intended)....so organized and professional. It was a joy to serve the African people who would otherwise not receive medical care for some very serious conditions (in some cases, life-threatening) and to work with nurses and doctors from all over the world in such a wholesome, happy, helpful, fun, rewarding environment. The ship has everything you can possibly need: a library, a pool, a Starbucks, internet corner, movies, guest speakers, worship services, off-ship service opportunities, a store, etc. I made new friends, both co-workers and local African people who are hired to work on the ship. Food was pretty good (a little starchy for my taste) and abundant. I always felt safe and well-cared-for. It has been the highlight of my RN career!
United in amnesia the nations of the world ignore the plight of these forgotten poor, the obviously hideous to behold, the sanctioned cursed to avoid, and pungent to expel. For this is the desperate plight of those the Mercy Ships family make daily sacrifice for, serving those with deforming facial gliomas, cleft lipped babies and those unfortunate women with obstetric trauma (VVF). Restoring them to their humanity through making available all the modernities of an advanced health care system is Mercy Ships focus. All volunteers pay to help. Their mission and message is unique: we hear the desperate cry for help and we come to serve you, and when we do, we sacrifice a great deal by paying our own way. We love you so much we will pay to help you and we leave behind a plethora of missed worldly opportunities to do so. And you're worth it! As one Mercy Ships volunteer put it: 'I came expecting to give, but I got so much more (paraphrase) Humanity finds meaning in giving, and Mercy Ships excels as being a worthy vehicle to allowing mankind to do so. To receive by giving!
I had the live altering privilege of serving on the Africa Mercy for a year. When people ask me what I did, I reply, I watched miracles happen every day. Besides the endless miracles that happen in the hospital, there were endless miracles between the members of the crew. 400+ devoted people, from 38 nation cultures living and working together in a big white box; oh how beautiful it is to see. The miracles of the crew and the locals, exchanging, sharing, trying, supporting, and becoming one unit. I love, miss and still have my African friends in my life. Thank you Mercy Ships for changing the core of my life for the better! Please, if there is any way you can become involved with Mercy Ships-do it! You will come to know the greatest joy you have ever known, I promise.
I have had 30 years of doing volunteer medical missions and Mercy Ships is the most effective, productive organization I have wver worked with for making positive changes in the world and reflecting God's Love to a hurting world!!
To be able to touch so many and actually bring sight to the blind is amazing!! The organization and team spirit was like visiting Heaven here on earth.
We had some free time which was spent visiting shore projects and touring the local villages and beaches. It was fun to meet and make friends with shipmates from 40 different countries.
I would recommend Mercy Ships to every Christian who wants to be a positive force in the world and see Africa up close and REAL!!
In the summer of 2000, I knew that I wanted to obey God's call to help others know about His love for them. God loves all people and it breaks his heart to see the poverty and suffering in the world. He uses ordinary people to make an extraordinary difference in their lives. Mercy Ships provides a perfect place to reach these impoverished and hurting people. I had the chance to be the hands and feet of Jesus - to so many while serving with this ministry. The ships are floating hospitals - and I was not in the medical field. But like any hospital or ship - it requires people with many different abilities to help the ministry to function and to allow the medical personal to truly focus on helping those in medical need. I worked in administration and in the IT department while onboard the ship. I also met my future husband on the ship and we've now been married 9 years and have two beautiful daughters. We are looking forward to going back to Mercy Ships soon - to serve full time for many years to come.
Together with my wife, I went to AFM two times. We did work as nurses. Even though we had heard about what Mercyships is doing i Africa, and seen many pictures etc from the fields, it was quite different to actually be a part of the service.
There are a lot of people in a great need of help. Mercyships is doing a great job for many of those people - and it is good to be a part of this. The work is organized in a very proffesional way, and there is enough time off to recover.
Working and living with more than 400 people from approx 40 countries is a greate experience, and it is a good comunity to be a part of.
We do really hope that we will be able to serve at least one more time.
My time with Mercy Ships was the best time I've ever had! I wasn't sure what to expect when I first came on board, but coming turned out to be the best decision of my life! I've learned so much and I've seen so many wonderful things. I've been stretched to the limit and I've done things I never thought I would or could do, but it was amazing and it changed my life!
A wonderful nonprofit with an amazing purpose and goal! It's amazing to see so many individual hearts align for a common purpose: Bringing Hope and Healing to the World's forgotton poor! Mercy Ships makes a difference in hundreds, thousands of lives every field service and it is very inspiring!
Mercy Ships was a name I had heard about via a friend, but I did not know much about the organization. In 2006 I felt a strong calling to serve with Mercy Ships so after some research I know it was a great opportunity to serve people in away that would use my skills as an optometrist. I spend the most amazing 7 weeks in Ghana. I worked in the the ophthalmology department doing pre and post operative screenings. I also helped train fellow Ghanaians to do the test so that they could use their new skills in local clinics,
On a personal level I gained so much clinical knowledge from Dr Niel Murry the ophthalmologist and his amazing wife that ran and co-ordinated the department. The most amazing experiance of my time serving was seeing lives changed. One young man that I will always remember had a very large tumor of the eye, not something you see in a first world county. He was shy and had sunglasses on to stop people staring at him. Unfortunately there was no way for saving the eye and so his eye was removed. An artificial eye was then inserted, I had to choose an artificial eye that was a match to his other eye. He was given clear instructions on how to clean and look after his new artificial eye. He returned 3 weeks later for a check up. I have never seen a personal change in a young man in such a short length of time, he walked with confidence his head held high and a smile on his face, he still had sunglasses but this was more of a fashion statement now!
There are so many stories and amazing people that work on the Mercy ship, it is a floating village with the most amazing hospital!
I am an operating room nurse and first read about the start of this organization from a book. Later, a doctor I work with came back from a medical mission trip on the Africa Mercy, a hospital ship serving the poor in West Africa. I asked how did you get involved. He told me to get on line and apply. This November 2013 will be my third time serving with Mercy Ships. It is wonderful to know that I am making a difference not only in peoples lives physically, but emotionally, socially and spiritually.
Volunteer in the Techinical Dept. Made 7 Sailings on two of the Mercy Ships. It was a most rewarding experience and now I volunteer shoreside.
I spent three weeks in west Africa on the old Anastasis. I was a worker in the operating room area. At that time we had but three, but boy did we change some lives! It was great working together in one accord, helping the helpless, those who almost certainly would soon be succumbing to their life altering/limiting condition.
I also worked with them in a hospital in Central America. Again it was a life changing experience for not only the people we helped, but for myself, my sons and the rest of the helpers themselves.
I've been with Mercy Ships 27 years. I spent 8 years on board the M/V Anastasis, serving in over 12 countries, running the medical lab. I then relocated to the IOC in Texas where I have served as a part of many departments and presently I am the chief cook and kitchen manager.
Mercy Ships follows the example of Jesus like our Mission Statement says. The goals are to help the most needy, presently in Africa. In the kitchen we serve thr new staff becoming oriented before going to serve on our Ship, M/V Africa Mercy. The students are diverse and from different countries but all believe in our Mission Statement and try to live by it.
My family has been involved with Mercy Ships on and off since before I was born. The first time I ventured off on my own, I went to the m/v Anastasis (now retired) in Ghana for 4 months. Even though I worked in the HR offices on board, I still felt so connected to the mission of the organization, and seeing it's vision actualized day in and day out by the life-transforming surgeries was incredible. The other volunteers are quality people, caring, warm, and wanting the best for others. I've since returned several times but seem to have found my niche at their International Operations Centre in Texas. Great experiences.
I joined Mercy Ships in war-torn Sierra Leone and Liberia. It was a life changing experience. I served in capacities I never imagined using my skills and training. I felt I had finally found 'what I was born for,' serving the poor and needy in West Africa. I even met my wife while volunteering on the Mercy Ship. I now have friends from all over the world from my time with Mercy Ships.
I would like to mention that Charity Navigator is incorrect, the Audited Report is available: http://mercyships.3cdn.net/29c5eb610b985db705_l2m6bhzfe.pdf and the Form 990 is available: http://mercyships.3cdn.net/9c9655ba6df4283701_2im6itu0v.pdf ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Mercy Ships is one of the most unique organizations I have come across. While many NGOs supplement and supersede health care infrastructure, Mercy Ships builds on existing capacity, addresses back logs of surgical needs, and in general adds a booster shot to the health care system while focusing on the most vulnerable surgical patients. After its memorandum of understanding is up with the host government it is able to sail away to another welcoming country. This booster shot effect does not threaten the local health care market but strengthens the abilities of doctors, nurses and careworkers whilst leaving behind equipment. The patients who receive the services could not access the local health care system (if there is one) for the most part because of systematic poverty or lack of specialized services. Amazingly Mercy Ships does this with a nearly 100% volunteer crew on board its ship and almost all medical supplies donated. Running the world largest hospital ship requires fuel, but its undoubtedly less expensive than a land based hospital. The innovation of a hospital ship with first class care also gives short term volunteers a much easier transition and shorter adjustment time to be able to serve, something land based hospitals struggle with. Mercy Ships is of course limited to coastal countries and at the moment limited to one 500 crew ship, the Africa Mercy, but with the expansion of its fleet could really be the bridge needed between first class surgical care and countries lacking specialized practices that are locally accessible.
Review from CharityNavigator
I have volunteered as a relief Chief Officer and Captain with Mercy Ships for the past ten years. I would not work for a charity that allowed others to live a life of luxury with my free labor. I have always been impressed with the skill and dedication of the management and the volunteers. I feel comfortable that my donations are well used. The cost of maintaining and operating a ship in compliance with international regulations is very high, but Mercy Ships has done an outstanding job of keeping the ship safe without squandering its resources.
Review from CharityNavigator