He studied diplomacy and public relations and says it was expected in his culture to return home, find a good paying job and care for his family.
However, Femi had a curiosity about missions and pursued training at a Disciple Training School through Youth With A Mission in Ghana.
There he met many Mercy Shippers who were committing to Mercy Ships long-term. They shared about Mercy Ships mission of bringing hope and healing to the world’s forgotten poor.
“It was hard for me to picture a ship, treating people but I began to look into it. I went on the internet and I looked at pictures of patients before and after and they were almost unbelievable for me. I couldn’t believe it was true.”
Femi decided to join the ship in Benin in 2009 as day crew and after serving two field services as day crew he decided that he was being called to the ship full time. He served for 15 months as a receptionist before moving to the deck department.
“I had no knowledge of what the maritime industry is like, I knew almost nothing about sea faring.”
Two years later and Femi has climbed the ranks from deckhand to deck rating working towards an able seafarer license and will soon be able to apply for an officer of the watch license. Femi has had the benefit of training sponsored by Mercy Ships, which he can use internationally should he decide to pursue a career as a sailor.
“The good thing about working in the deck department is that there is opportunity to learn every day. Just when you think you know it all there is still an opportunity to learn.”
According to Femi, it is the drive to excellence that sets Mercy Ships apart from other organizations.
“I see excellence in all that we say and do. People’s motivation and creativity is normally tied to the income they get and here is a place where you serve without being paid yet you strive to do everything with excellence. That’s really special.”
We are so proud of Femi and all volunteers onboard the Africa Mercy, they truly are the lifeblood of Mercy Ships!
Are you interested in volunteering? CLICK HERE for current opportunities!
We are excited to announce our new partnership with Eat. Feed. Love.! Eat Feed Love is committed to feeding a person in need with every purchase made, and was created with the purpose of aiding in the fight against world hunger through the discovery of great food.
Through Artisan Snack Box Subscriptions to the Taste Club!
Dandelion chocolate. Rhubarb relish. These carefully curated boxes boast every culinary must-have your cabinets desire.
– The Taste Club delivers a box of hand-selected and hard-to-find snacks (like Mast Brothers chocolate, Stumptown Coffee Roasters coffee, and L’Epicurian jam) to you every month. Hunting down new culinary treats is now a thing of the past.
– Not yet a pro in the kitchen? Have no fear. Each carefully curated box comes with recipes that feature your new ingredients – and will also inspire your inner chef.
– For each shipment sent to you, Eat. Feed. Love. donates proceeds to a different organization or cause.
For two months of the year the Tasting Club will feature Mercy Ships and the country we are working in.
You can sign up to have an Artisan Box delivered to your door monthly which will contain all you need to host a dinner party during the months we are featured – complete with recipes!
This December the theme of the box will be Madagascar, with food items and recipes hailing from the beautiful island nation. This is a great opportunity to bring friends and family together to enjoy delicious food and learn more about where Mercy Ships is serving and what we do (a letter will be included in the box).
Get 50% off the first month with the coupon code: mercyships
A big THANK YOU to everyone at Eat. Feed. Love. we are grateful to have the opportunity to partner with you and can’t wait for others to get involved to help improve nutrition and bring food to those in need!
The morning sun is already hot, and the lines of people waiting to have their dental problems relieved are long. In the island-nation of Madagascar, dental care is expensive and beyond the reach of most. Outside the local hospital gates, 17-year-old Ronaldo stands with the men, waiting in a line to be examined by the Mercy Ships dental team. Next to them stretches a restless queue of children of all ages accompanied by their mothers.
In the final column, the women patients stand beneath the shade of their colorful umbrellas. From the crowd of approximately 300, about 65 hopefuls will receive dental care today. The rest with treatable conditions are given colored wristbands for dental appointments on following days.
Every eye is on the handful of little yellow appointment cards held by dental team supervisor Robbie Lerma as she begins screening and selecting patients. She randomly stops at one line and then another, examining patients here and there.
Her seemingly haphazard selection makes it pointless for people in line to “save a place” for someone else. The result is that each person waiting has an equal opportunity to receive dental care. Balancing these kinds of factors requires God’s daily wisdom when faced with so many in need.
Ronaldo lingers in line with his schoolbag slung over his shoulder, hoping for an appointment ticket and the opportunity for serious decay around and between his front teeth to be treated without charge. He explains, “I have a sister who came here before. She said, ‘Go there if you want to fix your teeth.’ So I came to see what they can do. I thought my front teeth would fall out. I don’t have money to spend at a dentist. Thanks to God I’ve been received. I did not expect it because it was a long line, and I was at the end.”
When asked what caused the cavities in his teeth, Ronaldo replied, “I don’t really know, but one of my friends said it’s because I’m drinking really hot water and, after that, really cold water. I often do that.” Ronaldo no longer feels pain in his front teeth, so he does not realize that his health is a ticking time-bomb. He is just concerned about preserving his fabulous smile.
After receiving his numbered appointment card, Ronaldo strolls into the Mercy Ships purpose-renovated dental clinic within the Malagasy hospital. He is examined by lead dentist Saulo Gamarra Gonzales (PER) who is pleased that Mercy Ships gives quality dental care to the poor. “I will treat these patients the same way I would treat my patients at home,” he declares.
Dr. Gamarra explains the seriousness of Ronaldo’s condition to him. Decay has eaten away at his front teeth’s enamel and caused a major infection to spread from the damaged nerve. As a result, there is now a fistula or split in his gum above the affected tooth.
It requires immediate intervention. After considering Ronaldo’s age, the dentist decides to perform a root canal to save his front tooth from extraction. He will also fill the other cavities.
Antibiotics to control the severe infection accompanied the dental work, and Ronaldo got the result he really hoped for – the restoration of his engaging grin.
He is graduating from high school soon, and Ronaldo hopes for a career in Customs and Immigration. He has leadership ambitions, and he really feared entering his adulthood and future profession with his front teeth missing. “I’m not going to lose my teeth when I’m older! Thanks for helping us in need!” he said.
The delighted Ronaldo gives a relived laugh and scrutinizes his stunning smile from all angles in the dental clinic mirror. “My teeth are not bad! I can smile with people, and the girls like it!”
Story by Sharon Walls
William patiently waits as the bandages from his right eye are removed. The 29-year-old sits perfectly still as his eye is wiped clean. He slowly opens his eye as everyone in the room, including his wife and five-year-old son, wait with bated breath. Silently everyone wonders the same thing: “Did the surgery restore William’s vision?”
Three years earlier William could see just fine. He owned his own business – selling clothes in the local markets. His home life flourished with his wife and a two-year-old son. And then William began experiencing trouble with his vision. At first, cloudiness developed over his right eye.
Eventually William could only see shadows. A few months later the same thing occurred in his left eye. William could no longer distinguish one person from the next. He could no longer work.
Limited by his disability, William stayed home and contributed by making the meals. His wife, Elisa, worked as the sole provider in their home. At the age of three, his son Unida shouldered the responsibility of being his father’s eyes.
Unida would make change at the markets, hail down transport and warn his father of objects in his path. The burdens placed on his wife and son overwhelmed William, who wanted to provide for his family and lead his home.
“I suffer in my mind knowing that I have to depend on my son. Here at home, I’m supposed to be the man who takes care of them, but it is the opposite! I’m supposed to be the strength, and now I’m the one who needs help. It’s really hard for me.”
William searched for a cure for a full year. Finally, a physician diagnosed him with diabetes, a condition that affects how the body processes sugar. The damaging effects include the development of cataracts – as in William’s case. Insulin brought William’s diabetes under control, but it could not remove the cataracts.
Local ophthalmologists examined William’s eyes and gave him heartbreaking news – they could remove the cataracts, but the surgery would be very expensive. A surgery would cost William 600,000 ariary (the equivalent of $240 US) per eye.
The news devastated William. Without work, how would he ever afford such a costly surgery? The average income in Madagascar is $260 per year.
William was desperate.
Then he heard the announcement that Mercy Ships was offering cataract removal surgeries at their eye clinic – at no cost.
As soon as he heard the news, William traveled to the Mercy Ships land-based eye clinic. Dr. Ralph Crew, a volunteer ophthalmic surgeon from the United States, evaluated William’s eyes and approved him for surgery within 48 hours. William rejoiced. He eagerly anticipated his sight returning even before he was admitted for his operation. “Me personally, I am sure. I believe that as soon as they will take it (the bandage) off, I will see!” he said.
Twenty-four hours after William’s simple 20-minute surgery, the Mercy Ships eye team and William’s wife and son gathered together to witness the results. The outcome was evident within seconds. Once the bandages were removed, William’s surgically repaired eye adjusted to the light.
He looked around the room, and his eyes rested on his son, his guide for the last two years – a son he had not been able to see.
William flashed a big smile before saying, “I can see my son!”
A mixture of cheers and cries exploded throughout the room. An eye test later revealed that not only could William see, he could see incredibly well – just as he said he would. One 20- minute surgery made possible by donors and volunteers from around the world, along with William’s faith, restored one home in Madagascar.
Before he returned to a house he had not seen in two years, William shared this message for the donors that made his surgery possible: “I wish them to continue the good action that they do. Those people that they help will never be able to respond to the good things they receive. For example me, I’ll never be able to respond to the good action they do for me, but God will do that.”
Story by Tanya Sierra
And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.
1 Corinthians 13:13
For the month of November, the Christian Book & Music locations in Victoria & Nanaimo are having a special promotion. Purchase a Bible (minimum $12.00 value) and $2.00 of every bible purchased will be donated to Mercy Ships- to support their life transforming work in Madagascar.
This wonderful offer is even extended to their on-line sales! Give a gift of faith to someone you love, and pass on the gift of love to someone in need in Madagascar!
Many thanks to Mike Easton & his team for their generous support of Mercy Ships.
Victoria- 3090 Nanaimo St.
Nanaimo- #2-1200 Princess Royal Ave
Purchase online at: www.christianbookandmusic.com
Christian Book & Music has been in business for over 75 years, providing Christ-honouring products that meet the spiritual needs of communities.