Emily Frazier Makes Her Mark

If there’s one person who knows the kind of adaptability it takes to be a Mercy Ships volunteer, it’s Emily Frazier.

Emily was supposed to join the ship in June of 2020. Then, the COVID-19 pandemic began, and her start date was pushed to July, then September, and finally April of 2021.

After all the setbacks, Emily was called and asked if she was sure she still wanted to go. “Yeah, I just sold my car!” Emily remembers answering with a laugh.

So she went, but there was another challenge ahead as Emily was the only communications volunteer boarding the Africa Mercy®. A photographer by trade, she discovered her first project would be a video.

“I thought, ‘I’m so over my head,” she shared. “It took me an hour and a half just to find the video camera in the office.”

Now, more of a multimedia team all in one, Emily is doing audio, video, reporting, vlogging, and social media work.

Soon after Emily arrived onboard the Africa Mercy, docked in the Canary Islands, her plans changed yet again. Emily was invited to join the Global Mercy®, documenting the beautiful new hospital ship on its maiden voyage to Europe.

She said yes to the adventure and after a long quarantine, she flew to Madrid, then Qatar, and finally Sri Lanka. When she boarded the Global Mercy, she didn’t have the luxury of a gangway. Instead, she took a late-night pilot boat and climbed a ladder up the side of the ship, anchored off the coast in choppy waters.

“After that I was seasick for a couple days, but then got my sea legs,” she said. “It was just incredible, every day waking up with a 360-degree view of just open waters.”

The ship is now in Antwerp. Currently the hospital is completely empty with white floors and white walls.  But as the equipment is installed, the ship will fill with volunteers who are ready to go make a difference.

For Emily, this transitional season with Mercy Ships has brought with it something special. The crew onboard have had to deal with so many changes and have proven their flexibility and dedication.

“That’s probably been the best part — just meeting people who really value the same things as me and who laugh in the face of challenges,” Emily said.

They may have joined the ship from different countries and backgrounds, but everyone shares one goal — getting to Africa so that hope and healing can continue.

Emily started as the ship’s photographer, but she soon took on another job as a bridge builder — bridging the gap between generations, occupations, and cultures amongst the crew. During her time at sea, Emily has found that she naturally connects with people from different departments, from engineers to deckhands and hospitality workers. She loves to bring people together.

And there’s no better place than international waters!

“When someone moves to another country, the host country has the upper hand,” she explained.

But in the floating space of the ship, no culture has the upper hand. All nationalities and cultures are together as one. When Emily’s team of 20 first joined the eight-person skeleton crew of the Global Mercy off the coast of Sri Lanka, many of them were meeting for the first time. As the new volunteers joined the old, a community formed, and their shared experience onboard would make them family.

“That’s what Mercy Ships is amazing at,” she shared. “Bringing people together!”

You can join this community of volunteers too! Are you a photographer, engineer, or hair stylist? No matter what skills you bring, there is a place for you. Whether you have two weeks or several years to give, you can Make Your Mark. Visit mercyships.org/makeyourmark to get started.