[Mercy Ministries provides off-ship ministry opportunities for crew of the Africa Mercy that may not get to interact with the people who come to the ship for help (e.g., galley, stewards, H.R. etc…). The following is a good illustration of how many times those who serve actually receive]
You have to get to the sign-up book fast if you want to go with Mercy Ministries and visit the children at Lazare’s Orphanage. Our crew has fallen in love with 28 adorable children. We’ve been coming to the orphanage since last October and have gotten to know the kids pretty well. Enough to know that Esther and Hannah just need to be cuddled, Abu and Isiaga are going to quarrel over any and everything (just like brothers), Rashim (our little rascal) with his impishness and dimples will demand a lion’s share of attention (because he just needs it) and Dorcas with her indomitable spirit will walk!
When we first met Dorcas, who is somewhere around 2 years old, she could not even sit up. Her spine was sharply bowed and she seems to have some learning disabilities. She has progressed from only being able to roll about, to not only sitting up, but now, learning to walk. Our Rehabilitation Team has included her in their program and Dorcas now has special boots and a walker and weekly visits here to the ship for physical therapy.
She melts our hearts with her smile and sweet disposition and then she lets us know, she wants to WALK! We help her in her little walker, but what she really enjoys is storming the stairs. She will wear out 3 volunteers marching up and down and back and forth until her little legs are just trembling with fatigue. But with her spirit and the incredible progress she is making, there can be no boundaries to hold back this precious little fighter.
by Shelly Grivette, Mercy Ministries Coordinator