The story of Lara, a volunteer onboard the Africa Mercy.

It is difficult to walk along the hospital’s deck rooms and not be captivated by the activities and events that take place there. The heart of what we do, and the heart of God, lives on Deck 3 where Mercy Ships Hospital is located.

You can meet the eyes of those who have had their operations and are preparing to return home. Their joy is contagious and inspiring. You can hear them walking the halls, singing and dancing.

You can also meet the looks of those who have just undergone surgery and, if you are lucky, you can witness their reaction when they first see their renewed body after surgery. Although they are in pain, their relief is overwhelming and their joy is often contagious to the delight of the nurses and other patients.

If you could catch their eyes, you might find yourself in the gaze of those who have just entered the hospital, who are close to finding hope through their own surgeries. Shame and worry are evident in their eyes, but hope is also seen in them. In the beds in front of them, they can see patients who have already experienced what they are about to find.

I have cried with all my strength aboard Africa Mercy, but here too some of my tears were the happiest of my life. There is something so beautiful about letting the daily activities, the pressures and the stress go away, and looking at the world through God’s eyes, to see who He sees and how He sees them.

I have to say that I am truly blessed. I live in a place where I can be a part of hope and healing, even though I don’t belong to the medical profession. I live in a place where it is impossible not to see God manifesting Himself in miracles if you take the time to look.

I am blessed to have the pleasure and honor of working here with these people. I work alongside some of the most inspiring people, and for an organization that strives to love and care for those who need it most, not only physically, but emotionally and spiritually.

I am blessed to have the privilege of seeing our patients’ lives transformed inside and out.