By Marcos Dos Santos – CPC Mission Partner serving with Mercy Ships (Texas/Africa)
“I can do all this through him who gives me strength.”
Philippians 4:13 (NIV)
Mercy Ships is a unique organization that provides free surgery to those in need in Africa. The platform to bring hope and healing are ships with a fully equipped hospital. The combination of operating a hospital onboard a vessel is challenging. All non-medical crew members must comply with specific international maritime training. Supporting crew members working in the galley, laundry, housekeeping, and others must also comply. They must also receive basic maritime training, including basic firefighting, fire prevention, and sea survival.
The most challenging course for the African crew is the Personal Survival Techniques course because the practical exercise requires one to don a life jacket or an immersion suit and jump in a swimming pool or the sea. For most Westerners, this is not a big deal; for most, it is fun. However, some of our African crew don’t know how to swim, and some are terrified of water.
This was a reality for Yobi, a crew member who attended the Basic Training class in Dakar, Senegal. Her housekeeping and hospital laundry job are essential for the care provided to the patients. Patients experience God’s love not only through the life-changing surgeries they receive but also through the care that comes from the work of every crew member like Yobi, which allows the doctors and nurses to care for them.
She was quiet and anxious on the way to the famous Gore Island, where the water exercises would happen. One of the chaplains who was in the class as well as other crew members, assured that she would be okay because she was going to wear a life jacket the whole time, and there would be an instructor both in the water and on the pier to make sure she was okay.
Before the exercise began, she was told if she did not want to jump in the water, it was fine, but despite her fears, she was adamant about doing it, and she did. She did for herself, she did for the God she serves, and she overcame her fear for those she is called to serve. Yobi embodied what the Apostle Paul meant when he said: “I can do all this through him who gives me strength.” (Phil 4:13)
The Prophet Isaiah also says: “How beautiful on the mountains are the feet of those who bring good news, proclaim peace, who bring good tidings, who proclaim salvation, who say to Zion, ‘Your God reigns!’” Isaiah 52:7 (NIV).
Pray for the Lord to continue to call obedient and determined people like Yubi to serve onboard the Mercy Ships (www.mercyships.org)