Saturday, October 9, 2010

Mercy Ships

So, what will this new phase of life look like?

Mercy Ships is an international, global charity that seeks to bring hope and healing to the forgotten poor of the world. The primary means of doing this is by offering free surgeries to those that have no access or means to receive this care on their own.

The areas of focus are based upon Jesus' incarnational (real, tangible, physical needs) model of healing laid out in Matthew chapter 11:

  1. The blind will see (cataract surgery)

  2. The lame will walk (clubbed foot repair)

  3. Those who have leprosy are cured (VVF surgery - vesicovaginal fistula repair - this is a condition where women leak urine or feces as a result of prolonged, unassisted labor, usually resulting in the death of the child. They are shunned for their embarrassing yet uncontrollable odor)

  4. The deaf hear (cleft lip/palate repair)

  5. The dead are raised (those outcast by disfigurement and tumor growth that have been written off by their villages can now return and function in society)

Added to these, Jesus says the Good News is preached to the poor. We see it modeled to the poor by this unconditional love. Surgeries for free - no strings attached. The only requirement for help, is willingness and need. Through this outpowering of God's grace and mercy, His gospel is exemplified.

Where Do We Fit In?

Dan, with his medical experience and background will be able to use his training now in a ministry setting.

The girls will attend Ships Academy, a school onboard for the 50 or so students who live full-time on the ship. The classes have less than eight students per grade, and are involved in the community of the host country as well as just their academic subjects.

I will be able to work while the girls are in school at a position suited for my administrative strengths, or possibly my teaching background.

As a family, we have committed to serving for two years and know these next two years will be life changing for all of us.

I could attempt to try to describe what life will be like on the ship, but I'll leave that to Don Stephens, founder of Mercy Ships, in this video. I also encourage you to check out the website as it has a wealth of information.


  1. Now to December: Sell our home in California, sell our cars, sell our posessions, wrap-up homeschooling, and head to Colorado for Christmas.

  2. January 8th: Report to Gateway, a four week training program including Faith Foundations, Working with the Poor, Personal/Interpersonal Development, and Basic Safety Training at Mercy Ships' Headquarters in Garden Valley, Texas

  3. February: Fly to Sierra Leone for a 2.5 week Field Service time to apply what we have learned.

  4. February 25th: Join the Africa Mercy at the port in Sierra Leone.


Unless you've randomly found this, you must have some interest in our lives (and for that, I'm grateful and flabbergasted!). Here are our needs for the present time:

  1. Processing through all our "stuff" with peace/clarity/unity as we decide what, how, and how much to sell of our things
  2. Prompt sale of our stuff, including our California home and our cars!
  3. Procuring a safe place for us to store some of our keepsake possessions
  4. Providing a new home for our beloved Jake, our 11.5 year old German Shepherd mutt who we rescued from the pound at age three months. He is easy-going, laid-back, hairy, but oh-so-sweet. We'd love to find someone we know who needs some companionship and would let us visit him when we are back stateside.
  5. Peace as we go through these many changes and transitions.
  6. Provision - we are working on our budget for life on the ship. We will be required to pay crew fees to live on the ship, in addition to travel to and from the ship, health insurance, and all the everyday cost of life. Obviously surgeries are not "free," so part of the way that these surgeries are funded for the patients (so they are entirely free to them) is by requiring crew fees for volunteers. Whether you're a eye surgeon, or a chef, you pay crew fees. We will be raising a team of supporters who will partner with us to help change lives in West Africa.
  7. Protection - as we step out in faith, we are more susceptible to the enemy's attacks of discouragement.

Thank you for your love and support! I'll probably revamp this entry several times trying to get it right, but for now, I want to get the word out so you can know how to pray for us. :) Love you all!


  1. Wow! You are amazing and I admire you and your family's faith. What wonderful examples you are and what life-changing effects your service can and will have. You and your family will certainly be in our thoughts and prayers. Reading your blog entry comes as a breath of fresh air!! I am excited for your updates!
    -- Jenny (Baker) Xanthos

  2. Timeline:
    6. Welcome Uncle Steve when he visits the Africa Mercy on March 11!!

    Surreal, ain't it? How cool is it going to be to see you guys in our old home, hanging with many of our old friends? Of course, we are so very thrilled to see how the pieces are coming together. God, who is good & faithful, will continue to be so in your lives and especially through the next few months. We're here for you.

  3. Ok, that should have been Timeline #5..., which can now be "Bake a nice treat for Uncle Teeb, for when he visits soon."

  4. What a great opportunity for your family. I will have you in our hopes and thoughts often. Thank you for doing this. It is hard to see children in such need...I am glad to know you will be helping do something about it.

    Sarah Buech