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Introduction and question

Hello to all, My wife and I are retired missionaries to South America and I am an ordained Baptist pastor. I also was a Systems Engineer for IBM for 28+ years. I would like to know if evangelism is actively practiced onboard the ship or if Mercy Ships is more of a social ministry.

Respectfully in Christ,

Ed Royals

Comments

  • DawnCrowtherDawnCrowther Surgical Staffing Manager Posts: 35 - Current Staff

    Hello Mr. Royals,

    Thank you for your email. Evangelism is practiced in Mercy Ships, but it is done in a way that might be different than some may expect it to look like or be done. 

    Our Mission Statement is, “We follow the 2000-year-old model of Jesus, bringing hope and healing to the forgotten poor.” The Vision statement is, “Mercy Ships uses hospital ships to transform lives and serve nations, one at a time.” So, how is evangelism done in light of the Mission and Vision statements for Mercy Ships? One example is through the unconditional and high-standard care our medical staff provide to the patients. Someone who may have been ostracized for years from their community due to their physical deformity (such as cleft palate) will now have people dialoging with them, looking them in the eye when spoken to, acknowledging their existence, and caring for them unconditionally. It is not uncommon for a patient to ask, “Why are you here? Why are you helping me?” This opens the door for heart-felt conversations and answers. Ultimately, it can lead to sharing that we are in their nation because we serve a God of love, and He has called us to help others. If there is a desire, the patient can choose to talk to one of the Hospital Chaplains and learn more about Jesus. When possible, and if the patient is interested, we try to connect the patient with a local church. It must be clear, though, that care is given to anyone who has a medical condition that fits into our scope of clinical care. The religious beliefs of a potential patient have absolutely no impact on whether or not they will receive surgical care. During their course of time with us, if they choose to ask about our beliefs, then we are happy to engage with them.

    Another example of what evangelism may look like could occur between the volunteer crew. While most of the volunteers who serve do believe in and have a personal relationship with Jesus, not all short-term volunteers do. During their time onboard, they may wonder why someone is more peaceful in a tense, challenging moment or why they are more quick to let go of an offense. Again, viewing actions of another crew member could lead the non-believer to ask why/how the other crew member responded the way they did in a situation. Or, they may wonder and ask why they choose to read their Bible or do a devotional. Seeing life lived differently can lead to questions and dialogue that, ultimately, lead to how one’s trust and belief in Jesus shapes their worldview and how they respond to circumstances in life.

    There is a Chaplaincy Department on the ship, and they are always available for any crew member who either would like to know more about Jesus or is looking for guidance as they continue to build their personal relationship with Jesus.

    For more information that could help to answer your question, I suggest that you also refer to:

    ·        another myMercy post: “Questions regarding church on the ship”

    ·        https://www.mercyships.org/volunteer/learn-more/faqs/ :  “Applying to Volunteer”, section and the question, Can I apply if I am not a Christian or currently not attending a church?

    ·        https://www.mercyships.org/volunteer/learn-more/guidebooks/  Volunteer Guidebook, sections Spiritual Life, Community of Faith, Code of Conduct on page 6


    If you have any additional questions please our recruiter, Sheryl at [email protected]

    Sincerely,

    Dawn Crowther

    Surgical Staffing Manager

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