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Dentist and Social Worker

Hi Everybody,

My name is Paul and I am an Aussie Dentist. My wife and I have always wanted to volunteer on Mercy ships and now our youngest son is old enough (14) and the rest have flown the coop.

Some questions..

Im a Dentist - and I want to volunteer for 2 weeks - 1 month (I have my own surgery, so its hard to shut down for long unfortunately)

My wife is a Mental Health Social Worker and the Mercy Ship counselling positions (within the chaplaincy section) are minimum 10 months.

Any thoughts on how we volunteer at the same time, same ship, with our son?

Thanks for being such a welcoming community.




  • AndreaSchmidAndreaSchmid Programs Senior Staffing Manager Posts: 202 admin


    Hi Paul,

    Thank you for your desire to bring hope and healing with Mercy Ships, serving as a Dentist! It is a wonderful thing that you want to serve as a family.

    There are a very limited number of family cabins onboard the Africa Mercy, and they are primarily reserved for our long-term crew. Also, only certain positions qualify for a family cabin. Unfortunately, Dentists do not qualify. I am very sorry to give you this disappointing news.

    In regards to your wife, as you have noted, Mercy Ships counselling positions require a minimum commitment of 10 months. She could apply to serve in a General role in Sales, Galley, Dining Room, etc; however, those positions generally have a minimum commitment of 3 months.

    All this to say that, unfortunately, we are unable to accommodate your request to serve as a family at this time. I hope you will still consider serving with us as a Dentist. I am truly sorry for this disappointment.

  • pauls_47pauls_47 Posts: 6

    Hi Andrea,

    Thanks for the post, its good to know where we stand, and I believe that all things are possible through God, so something will come up for our family to serve him together at some stage in our lives.

    My wife would be willing to come for whatever period necessary in order to serve, however as mentioned, my maximum leave time is one month, as I have my own business and a lot of staff.

    Could my wife serve as a Social Worker and take our son, and perhaps I could come half way and service for a month? Just toying around with options.

    Thanks again,


  • AndreaSchmidAndreaSchmid Programs Senior Staffing Manager Posts: 202 admin

    Hi Paul,

    I appreciate your enthusiasm and understand your desire to see what might be possible. Serving together as a family is a wonderful experience.

    Unfortunately, the scenario you mentioned would not work for a few reasons. The chaplain roles onboard do not qualify for a family cabin, except for the Senior Chaplain. The Senior Chaplain role requires that the individual be Mercy Ships alumni. Also, the minimum commitment for chaplaincy roles is two years. We have a spousal separation policy, which prohibits spouses from being separated for more than three months.

    Another reason is that it is not possible for a single parent to serve with Mercy Ships onboard. We require that one parent be a primary care giver for children under the age of 18, only working part time, and this would not work.

    The one thing that could work is if your wife is willing to work in a general role, such as in sales, the dining room, hospitality, etc. for up to three months, she could come and do that, but not with your son, unfortunately. You could come and serve as a dentist during that time, but again, not with your son since these positions do not qualify for a family cabin.

    I'm very sorry for giving you disappointing news again. If you and/or your wife would like to come serve alone, that would be the only possibility.

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