A global charity organization hosted a concert Saturday night in an effort to “bring Hope and Healing through Enduring Acts of Mercy.” The ‘Mercy to the World’ evening, hosted by Texas-based Mercy Ships, featured renown artists such as Point of Grace and Paul Baloche.
Mercy Ships, which has operated a growing fleet of hospital ships in developing nations since 1978, provides medical care, relief aid, and training for long-term sustainable change in developing nations, while mobilizing people and resources worldwide.
In a short video presentation of the work done by Mercy Ships, those who were in attendance Saturday night saw glimpses of Africa and Central America and the images of people helped. Point of Grace artist Denise Jones, who was deeply moved by the presentation, spoke on behalf of Point of Grace saying, “Point of Grace believes so strongly in this organization because of the extraordinary way they bring hope to a community through providing healing not only physically but of the heart.”
During the charity concert, Point of Grace sang their popular song ‘Circle of Friends’, and encouraged the audience to participate in the endeavors of Mercy Ships, helping ‘friends’ around the world.
Mercy Ships Founder Don Stephens addressed the audience and offered the opportunity to join as Shipmates, monthly donors that enable Mercy Ships to continue providing surgeries and other services, free of charge. He shared about the beginnings of Mercy Ships influenced by, “A storm, a ship, a son and a saint.” Stephens explained how the vision of Mercy Ships began during a hurricane, when he heard a prayer asking for ships to help the nations after natural disasters. He continued by mentioning how the ship Hope had fascinated him, and then how his developmentally handicapped son became a constant encouragement for him to find a way to help others who cannot help themselves, as he was also aptly told at one time by Mother Teresa.
Since then, Mercy Ships has performed more than 2 million services, with a value of 250 million dollars, and impacted over 5.5 million people. Some of the more notable statistics include:
- Performing more than 18,000 operations such as cleft lip and palate, cataract removal, straightening of crossed-eyes, orthopedic and facial reconstruction.
- Treating more than 300,000 people in village medical clinics.
- Performing 110,000 dental treatments.
- Teaching over 5500 local health care and professional workers, who have in turn trained multiple thousands in primary health care.
- Training local medical professionals in modern health care techniques to carry on after the ship leaves.
- Delivering more than $21 million of medical equipment, hospital supplies and medicines.
- Completing close to 350 construction and agriculture projects including schools, clinics, orphanages and water wells.
- Demonstrating the love of God to people in 95 ports in 53 developing nations.
Today, there are over 850 career staff and crew from more than 40 nations serving Mercy Ships, and more than 1,600 short-term volunteers serving with organization each year.