before

meet Mariette

Country: Antananarivo, Africa
Age: 60
Surgery: General Surgeries

For 30 more years the mass grew. Finally reaching ten pounds—the size of a watermelon—it continually weighed on Mariette’s body, mind and spirit. When she tried to play with local children, neighbors would tell the children “the monster was going to get them.” For years, Mariette prayed to have the mass removed so she could be free from ridicule. “I just want to be free,” she said.

Good news from afar

One day Mariette heard about Mercy Ships on the radio. She prayed they would come to a location near her and she could finally have the mass that had plagued her for 30 years removed. One cold day her ship arrived.

Through freezing conditions, Mariette journeyed to the selection site in Antananarivo. She arrived at 3 a.m. on the first day of selections and waited for hours to be seen. She was overjoyed when she was selected for surgery—even though her surgery was scheduled for a future visit.

“I was happy! So happy! I was happy to be accepted,” Mariette said, but she knew the wait for her scheduled surgery would be hard. To maintain her patience until the ship returned, she entrusted her future to the Lord.

Liberated from her burden at last

At last Mercy Ships returned to Antananarivo and Mariette received the surgery she had long prayed for. “I’m so happy because it was disturbing my life and I was waiting for it to be gone for a long time,” she says. She gives so much gratitude to her surgeons. “Without them, I would never be able to remove that burden,” she says. “This is my liberation!”

Victorien’s brave journey

A boy can deal with many setbacks, but being rejected by schoolmates is a crushing blow. That’s what happened to Victorien. When a bump in his mouth started growing and his face became distorted, all of his friends shunned him and called him names. Victorien began living with a terrible fear. “I thought I was going to die,” he whispered to us.