Friday, November 17, 2006

Review: Ships of Mercy

Ships of Mercy by Don Stephens is a difficult book to review in that, while this isn't exactly the most literary effort I've read, the stories that are conveyed about the amazing work of Mercy Ships will stir your heart and bring tears to your eyes.

Don Stephens is the founder of Mercy Ships International who passionately followed up on an idea he had at the age of 19 while on a missions trip to the Caribbean. After weathering a hurricane that hit the Bahamas, Stephens heard one local survivor ask, "Wouldn't it be wonderful if there was a ship with doctors and nurses that could come in after such a disaster?" That is how the kernel of a dream was planted.

I've only recently come to hear of Mercy Ships but I have come to respect this organization as much as any other out there. The concept of a ship full of people, from line cooks right up to some of the world's top surgeons, volunteering their time to help those who have no access to proper medical care is astounding. In 2004 Mercy Ships celebrated their 25th year serving the world's poor from their floating hospitals that travel the globe. They have performed more than two million services with a value of over $250 million while not asking for a penny in return from those they have helped.

This book provides the reader with the history of Mercy Ships from the man who has been there right from the beginning. It was Don Stephens' dream to share the love of Christ in a practical way and Mercy Ships remains true to its original mission to this day. Check out their website for more information and for some remarkable photos of people who have regained their lives and their dignity after Mercy Ships came to town. You can also check out the blog of photographer Scott Harrison who is volunteering on board the Mercy Ship Anastasis as well as some of his photographs that have traveling the U.S. as part of the Mercy exhibition. A warning though...some of these images are very disturbing.

Pick up this book if you have an interest in aid & justice issues, an interest in medicine, or just a good read about the power of following your dreams. 5/5

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