Sunday is a day to celebrate the strong women who have worked and sacrificed so much for the children they love. For mothers who serve onboard our hospital ship, life looks quite a bit different this Mother’s Day than any year before.

One of our volunteers, nurse Frances Clear from Great Britain, shares her experience raising her two sons onboard the Africa Mercy in the midst of challenges.

“My children keep me very optimistic and joyful,” Frances said. “In a situation like now where everyone is in a state of flux, the temptation is to get anxious and panic. But they don’t worry because, as parents, we are making decisions, and they trust us. It also reminds me that my heavenly Father has got this — God is big enough to figure things out.”

Frances and her husband, Stuart, have lived and served onboard the Africa Mercy for almost four years with their two children. During their time serving onboard, Frances says that one of her favorite things is watching her children interact with other crew members onboard.

“They have so many ‘aunts, uncles, and grandparents’ here, and that is beautiful,” she said. “It is wonderful to be a part of a community where your kids are loved well.”

For Mercy Ships volunteer and mother of three Tatyana Silva, serving onboard the hospital ship over the last 10 years has been a unique and rewarding experience. Tatyana’s husband, Rodrigo, is a maritime professional, so she has worked hard over the years as a full-time mother.

“Right now, I’m enjoying seeing them grow. I feel like I am helping raise good people into the world,” Tatyana said. “Living in a community like this allows our kids to have freedom and build close relationships, but at the same time, they get to know other countries and cultures. We live the small and the big at the same time!”

Our mission of bringing hope and healing would not be possible without the sacrifices and dedication of the mothers who volunteer with us! These women are able to impact so many through their service — those like young mother, Adama!

Adama was five months pregnant when the world around her started to flicker and fade. Soon, all she could see were shadows and shapes as clouded, disc-like cataracts developed in her eyes.

“Maybe it will clear up after I give birth,” she told herself, hoping that the loss of sight was somehow linked to her pregnancy. But once she’d delivered her twin babies, a boy, and a girl, Adama had to face the truth. She was blind.

She would never see the faces of her beautiful babies, and without access to safe, affordable surgery, she had little hope of restoring her vision.

The twins were 6 months old, their faces still a mystery to their mother, when Mercy Ships arrived. Adama’s surgery took about 20 minutes, but that was all it took to restore her future.

After a successful surgery, Adama began to open her eyes, and a smile spread across her face. Her family members, gathered nearby, were some of the first people to welcome Adama back into the world of the seeing.

Immediately, she reached for her twins, drinking in the details of their faces for the first time.

Adama cradled them both in her arms at the same time, eyes dancing between the two, and exclaimed, “I never expected that my babies would be so beautiful.”

The cataract surgery Adama received with Mercy Ships took less than half an hour, but the impact of her restored sight will reverberate throughout the rest of her life. There will be countless moments where Adama rejoices because of the ability to see again — but it’s hard to imagine a moment more meaningful than a mother’s patient love being rewarded with the sight of her children for the first time.

It is thanks to the generosity of so many — those like Frances and Tatyana — that lives can be changed! Thank you to all of the mothers who have given so much of themselves to raising the future generations! Happy Mother’s Day!