Irik and Cathy Mallie have served with the Africa Mercy since 2009. Irik works as the ships chief engineer for the Engineering department and Cathy is the palliative care counselor for the Palliative Care department on the ship.
The Mallies are longer term crew and we’d love for you to get to know them!
Where have the Mallies served?
2015- Madagascar (Irik)
2012- Togo (Cathy)
2011- Sierra Leone
Q&A’s with Irik and Cathy
MSCA: How did you get involved with Mercy Ships?
Irik: Cathy and I were looking for volunteer positions in 2009. We first contacted the Operation Mobilization (OM) and they gladly had [a position for] me as Chief Engineer, but they had no space for Cathy as a nurse. It was suggested that we contact Mercy Ships. Although we had heard about the Anastasis, the hospital ship which retired in 2007, we didn’t really know what [Mercy Ships] did so we decided to call.
They certainly could use our skills and we volunteered that year for 2 months in Benin. In 2011, we were onboard again in Sierra Leone, this time for 3 months. Cathy helped again in 2012 together with our daughter Christa, who is an ICU Nurse at home. I volunteered in 2015 in Madagascar and so did our daughter, but her start date was a bit earlier than mine, so I didn’t see her onboard. In 2016, the Vice President of Operations, Jim Paterson, asked if I was willing to help as Chief Engineer on the new vessel, the Global Mercy. I had not thought about this at all and asked him if I could have 3 months to think this over and discuss it with Cathy, our children, and our church family. I also realized that I had to retire, so I had to look into this as well.
After 2 1/2 months, we came to the conviction that the Lord called us to do this and we informed Jim of our decision. As the delivery of the ship had been pushed back, I decided to retire earlier than planned to help on the Africa Mercy where we are now serving: I as Chief Engineer and Cathy as Palliative Care Counsellor. The Lord has blessed us during this time onboard here in Guinea.
MSCA: What is your experience on a ship filled with volunteers from around the globe over the holiday season?
Irik: in 2009, we spent the time onboard over the month of December. That gave us a taste of the different Christmas celebrations, from Sinterklaas, which is celebrated in Holland to Saint Lucia, which is celebrated by our Scandinavian crew members and a candle light sing song on the dock, which this year was led by the Australians. They also have special advent church services with candle lighting and special readings. We also enjoy the many Christmas decorations and the annual Christmas market, where crew members make or bake items to sell to the crew.
These celebrations have been similar this year and it is very special to be a part of it all. On Christmas day, there is a very nice Christmas celebration onboard for the whole crew. That is a special event, which feels special as we celebrate the coming of Christ with Christians from around the world. We also think about Christ’s second coming, which we eagerly anticipate. If He comes the work on this ship will cease to exist because everything will be perfect and everyone will be healthy as it was after the Creation. Working with crew from around the globe is very special, as we share the same Christ and serve His people wherever we are located.
MSCA: You will be working the Global Mercy, which will be joining our fleet. Is there any exciting news you can share at this time?
Irik: The Global Mercy will be a lot bigger than the Africa Mercy and is built specifically as a hospital ship. She will be 20 meters longer and will have three more decks than the Africa Mercy. Instead of 450 crew, she will have 600 crew. Instead of many cabins, which house several people at the time, some cabins up to 10 people, she will have only 2-person cabins, in addition to the regular family cabins and guest cabins. This ship will also have state of the art hospital equipment and, the ship’s bridge and propulsion machinery.
The ship will have diesel electric drive, which allows for the use of the engines for propulsion and the supplies electricity for the rest of the ship. This results in greater efficiency of the machinery and also reduces the workload as there is less equipment to maintain.
The team at the International Support Center (ISC) in Texas overseeing the new construction of the vessel in China is a very capable group of people who demand great respect. I look forward sailing the Global Mercy when she leaves the yard.
We are looking forward to having this ship coming into operation. However, we are going to need many extra volunteers – especially in the Deck and Engineering departments. So, if you feel the call to serve, do not hesitate and apply. Your reward is great.
We wish you all a blessed Christmas and the Lord’s nearness in 2019.