Your Story: Marlene Harvey

4 December 2015

GiftBasketPictureAs the Christmas season is now upon us, one of our wonderful donors, Marlene Harvey, reminds us what it means to give and receive.

Marlene is from Plum Pointe, Newfoundland. She is an Anglican Priest who, among many things, loves design and decorating – her home, table, gifts, herself, etc.

Marlene creates incredible gift baskets and raffles them off and has raised thousands for Mercy Ships this way. In addition to gift baskets, Marlene also creates prayer boxes, small packages that are on display in many homes throughout Newfoundland. When Harvey discovered Mercy Ships she adapted the idea to create ‘prayer box gifts’ as a fundraiser. The money from every gift sold goes to Mercy Ships,

“My creations may well have stemmed from walks in the woods with my dog, where I always delighted in nature’s art. And now decorating brown paper wrapped gifts, which my friends love, but never, never open. (The gifts; floral note cards, scented soaps, etc., have often been spotted in a place of honour in the friend’s home, unopened, long after…seems they are just too pretty to open!)”

Marlene has experienced triumph and tragedy in her life; surviving cancer in 1991 and the loss of her daughter in an accident in 1994. Through her creative pursuits Marlene continues to find healing and along the way has helped many others find healing themselves.

After completing her M. Div. at Huron University College and a Thanatology course at King’s College in London, Marlene began a Grief Counseling Practice at her church. This was the beginning of the idea of prayer box gifts – as therapy.

“As I began my ‘creations from nature’ in the aftermath of the tragedy in my life, I encourage my clients to turn to their creative gift…everyone has one. It is a breath of fresh air to witness the first tiny spark of a return to interest in life. There is something wonderfully comforting in working with one’s hands to create something beautiful that soothes the soul….whatever that something might be”

When Marlene discovered Mercy Ships she adapted the idea to create ‘prayer box gifts’ as a fundraiser to support the work of the charity, which uses hospital ships to bring free transformative healthcare to the poorest of nations.

The prayer box gift is too pretty to be opened, but inside is a prayer for Mercy Ships. The money from every gift sold goes to support, in the words of Marlene

“Those who need more than our prayers, those who need us to be the hands and heart of Christ.

DocksideMotelRaffleHundreds of prayer box gifts have been sold on top of the impressive gift baskets raffled off. Marlene and her husband Harold, also use and distribute Mercy Ships air-miles cards, postcards, DVDs, coin boxes, return address labels (made by Harold) and literature.

Their hope is to one day volunteer on board the Africa Mercy as Chaplains but for now, believe they are more valuable raising money in Canada.

As Marlene is well-known in her community and news travels incredibly fast in Newfoundland, she has been invited to speak to Women’s groups a number of times, helping spread awareness for Mercy Ships.

“It has been an incredible journey and my husband and I took it together, we share our passion for Mercy Ships, which is never stagnant; we are creative souls, always searching for another avenue through which to shed more light on this most wonderful ministry.

We are so grateful for Marlene, Harold and their whole community in Newfoundland who continue to make a difference with Mercy Ships in Africa!

One by one our donors give what they can, and one by one lives are transformed.  

If you would like to share your story or the story of someone you know, please contact us!