Mercy Ships - a legacy of hope and healing

40 STORIES OF HEALING: How it all began

A devastating hurricane, meeting Mother Teresa and the birth of a special needs son drove a God-given dream that would inspire bringing hope and healing to the world’s poorest people. Since 1978 Don and Deyon Stephens have been joined by thousands of huge-hearted volunteers from across the globe. They have quite simply made mercy happen for thousands of people living in extreme poverty who had no other hope.

Don and Deyon launched Mercy Ships – a floating hospital ship ministry for the poor – in Switzerland in 1978. National offices opened around the world to get – and keep – the ship afloat with donations and volunteers.

The first Mercy Ship Anastasis made a great impact in New Zealand during its year of Pacific field work – and Kiwis have been involved ever since.

Typically, around 40 volunteers from New Zealand join the hundreds from across the globe serving on board Mercy Ships every year in medical, maritime and operational roles every year, while thousands of others sponsor surgeries and health care programmes. The New Zealand office raises funds, recruits volunteers and brings the work  Africa Mercy and Global Mercy to the attention of Kiwis.

To date, the Mercy Ships crew have provided more than 100,000 free surgergical procedures in developing nations. 2019/2020 the Africa Mercy is docked in Senegal, West Africa where she will remain for 10 months. The volunteer crew are performing surgeries, mentoring local health care professionals, wrapping the broken in love and acceptance, and praying for all those who in their care. Together the impact is transformational.


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