Powering Hope and Healing as a Seafarer

Benji Aryee remembers the moment he first stepped aboard a Mercy Ship over 11 years ago. When he first walked up the gangway, he said to himself, “Finally! This is where God has led me.” He originally planned to spend six months onboard. Over a decade later, he’s what’s known around Mercy Ships as a “long-termer.” Only now, he’s transitioned to the newly built Global Mercy®, anxiously awaiting the maiden voyage to Senegal in 2022.

According to Benji, it was God’s leading that kept him on the Mercy Ships crew for so long, allowing him to be a part of this historic moment on the purpose-built hospital ship.

“Many times, I tried to go back to commercial ships,” Benji shared. “It never worked. And I realized, ‘Okay, this is where you want me to be. This is a calling.'”

Working in the engineering department on the newest hospital ship, Benji knows that he’s part of something special. The Mercy Ships fleet is growing and with that comes a need for a whole new crew of volunteers. Those volunteers, some in engineering roles like Benji’s, will enable the Global Mercy to bring a new wave of free surgeries and medical training to sub-Saharan Africa.

In his department, Benji and his fellow volunteers like to say they’re “powering hope and healing.”

“As technical personnel, you use your skills to bring hope and healing,” he said. “It’s a blessing.”

Currently, Benji is serving with the ship in Antwerp during the Global Mercy’s final equipping phase before setting sail. He plans to travel onboard as she visits the Netherlands in early 2022, lowering the gangway for a limited time to allow visitors to come on board and tour the hospital for themselves. Then the crew will set sail for Senegal.

Benji’s technical position on the Global Mercy is called  “hotel technician.” In that role, he helps operate and maintain a vast array of systems within the engineering department. But his role goes deeper than that.

“My ‘non-professional’ role on the ship is bringing people together,” Benji shared. “It’s a gift that God has given me, and I always try to create that atmosphere of peace and harmony.”

Benji knows his unique gift has made a difference in the engineering department.

“Sometimes, the officers and everyone will testify that they are happy t have such a person,” he said. “It’s not only about the work but also having a fun atmosphere.”

He also loves the uniqueness that each volunteer brings onboard. That’s why after over a decade with Mercy Ships, he still can’t wait to see who walks up the gangway next.

“I’ve been here for many years and so I know certain things,” he said. “But you also have something new [for others to learn].”

Are you ready to make your mark? Whether you’re a medical professional, an engineer, a mariner, a photographer, or a receptionist, there’s a place for you with Mercy Ships. With the Global Mercy joining the Africa Mercy® in field service, Mercy Ships urgently needs more volunteers to crew the two ships. Are you interested in joining the team? Find more information at mercyships.org/markyourmark