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Monday, January 04, 2010

Encouraging email received today!

Just today we received an encouraging email from a lady who is filling out her application to come serve on the Africa Mercy!  Our pastor at Lakeshore UMC met this lady while in the Emergency Room with a family member.  She was one of the ER nurses and he happened to talk about Mercy Ships.  God is incredible and uses us when we least expect to be used to accomplish his will!  She wrote to us back in July asking some questions about serving with Mercy Ships and today sent us an email to let us know she is ready to come and is working on her application!  We hope to meet her when we get back to Florida in March!  Unless of course...she is serving on the Africa Mercy!

This is an article about another nurse that served with us in 2009 for 10 weeks.  Her hometown newspaper, Pochahontas Times, published the following article.  

Wednesday December 02, 2009
Henry sails to serve those in need
Suzanne Stewart
Staff Writer

Serving 10 weeks on the Africa Mercy, of Mercy Ships, Ginger Henry helped several patients of Benin, Africa, with their surgical needs. Photos courtesy of Ginger Henry

Most adventures are embarked on to gain fame or fortune. But Ginger Henry’s adventure on the Africa Mercy was to serve those in need.

The Africa Mercy is a former Danish rail ferry that was converted into the world’s largest non-governmental hospital ship by global charity
Mercy Ships.  Since its inception in 1978, Mercy Ships has served in more than 150 ports in developing nations, providing surgical needs and community

Henry first heard about Mercy Ships through former classmate Jessica Walkup who served on the Anastasis, another ship in the Mercy Ships
fleet.  “I followed along with her stories through email and always knew I wanted to go myself someday,” Henry said. “As a Christian, I want to use
the skills and talents I have to serve others. I think Mercy Ships is a great organization that combines my skills as an operating nurse, my desire
to serve people that don’t otherwise have access to healthcare and my faith in a way that brings hope and lasting change.”

Henry began her journey on the Africa Mercy in January 2009 and spent 10 weeks on the ship in Benin, West Africa. She volunteers her time as an operating room nurse and must raise $500 a month to live on the ship.

According to the Mercy Ships website, the on board hospital consists of six operating rooms, recovery/intensive care and low dependency wards
with 78 patient beds.  The Africa Mercy boasts an on board school to serve the children of its volunteers and a soccer team. Typically, the ship docks for nine months and takes three months for repairs. It houses 484 volunteers from more than 30 countries.

In her 10 weeks on the ship, Henry said she embarked on experiences she will carry with her forever.  “The experience was unlike any other,” she said. “Each day was an adventure. Whether it is in the operating room straightening a child’s bowed legs or removing an enormous tumor from a person’s face, celebrating on the ward with patients who are in various stages of healing, or simply walking to the market to take in the sights, sounds and smells of Africa, the experience of serving with Mercy Ships is life-changing. I would recommend it to anyone.”

Ginger Henry assists with a surgery during her time on the Africa Mercy ship. The work is balanced with times of celebration with those who are healing.

Henry is returning to Mercy Ships in 2010 to serve Togo and South Africa. In order to prepare to serve long-term on the ship, she attended a training program at the International Operations Center for Mercy Ships in Green Valley, Texas.  “This training included personal development classes, team building exercises and faith and values classes,” she said. “It also included basic safety training to learn fire-fighting skills and water survival skills.”

Armed with her former experiences and new training, Henry is excited to return to the sea.
“I am very much looking forward to serving the people of Togo and South Africa,” she said. “I also look forward to reuniting with friends I’ve met on the ship and in training.”

Henry is a 2000 graduate of Pocahontas County High School and is a member of New Hope Lutheran Church.

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