Springing into Hope
Spring has arrived, and futures are bright. We have begun our first full field service featuring the Global Mercy, and so many lives have been impacted. From the volunteers serving throughout the ship to the patients receiving life-changing surgery, to the medical personnel participating in training,every person who walks up our gangway has found their lives touched in some way. Hope and healing abound.
We hope as you read this edition of Waves of Mercy that the following stories of hope, healing, and lives restored touch your heart in the same ways they have touched ours.
Welcomed at the Well
Even at his young age, Hamadou knew there was something different about him from others in his village. The cleft lip he had been born with kept him living on the outskirts of his community, discouraged from even drinking at the same water pitcher as others.
His mother feared that Hamadou’s future would remain burdened by his condition… until they found hope. Thanks to the generosity of our partners and the dedication of our volunteers, Hamadou was brought onto the Africa Mercy, where he received free surgery to correct his cleft lip.
While on board, the little boy’s courage shone brightly, amazing the many volunteers who found themselves touched by Hamadou’s story.
“Sweet Hamadou… was a 4-year-old with the courage of a 24-year-old,” said volunteer nurse Mary Toupin. “I asked his mother several times, ‘How did you raise a child that was so strong and brave?’ …he was very exceptional.”
Now fully healed from his surgery, Hamadou has the opportunity to use his courageous heart once again, this time to make new friends as he begins his first year at school!
Bravery and Strength
“I was trying to save my brother.”
This is the reason 31-year-old Coumba gives for the pain she has lived with for over 27 years. Despite the pain and limitations her scars presented, Coumba refused to let them define her. That brave young girl grew into a strong woman, wife, and mother.
When she came on board the Africa Mercy, that strength was vital to finding healing at last.
“I see this is helping so many people,” she shared. “Before the ship, I spent more than one year in a hospital, and I never saw any change. When I came here for the first time, I saw people going onto the ship and coming back, having changed from their surgeries. I am happy for them. This kind of help is a good thing.”
A Unique Calling
Nearly every volunteer who steps on board our hospital ships, the Global Mercy and the Africa Mercy, believe they have been led there to make a difference in someone else’s life. But over the last 40 years, we’ve heard many stories of how their own lives have been impacted.
This moment of realization happens throughout our ships in almost every department. Sometimes it’s while working in the galley, encouraging a new volunteer while scooping yet another serving of vegetables. Other times it occurs in the quiet time of a late shift when a patient asks a nurse for prayer the night before their surgery.
These life-changing moments and many more like them impact so many and encourage volunteers to stay the course for hope and healing — those like Jane White, volunteer Ward Manager, who originally signed up for a short time and just celebrated 15 years of service on board.
We are so thankful for friends like you who have made Hamadou’s and Coumba’s futures brighter. And though there is still much work ahead, we believe that together we can make a world of difference to those living in areas without access to healthcare. Thank you to everyone who plays a role in renewing the lives of so many.
“Let us hold tightly without wavering to the hope we affirm, for God can be trusted to keep His promise.”
— Hebrews 10:23