This is the time of year I’m thinking of that familiar Enya tune …
Let me sail, let me sail, let the Orinoco flow.
Let me reach, let me beach, on the shores of Tripoli …
Sail away, sail away.
… because this is the time of year that The Africa Mercy hospital ship typically wraps up a year of service in one country, sailing away to be retrofitted, and then at summer’s end, beginning yet another year of ministry in a country that is woefully deprived of extensive medical aid.
Shortly, the ship will sail away from the port of Conakry in Guinea—where just this past week physicians accomplished the 100,000th operation done on a Mercy Ships floating hospital (!). Aissata, seven months old, travelled with her mother more than 200 miles to receive help for a cleft palate. (Who looks happier in the photo—the baby or the mother!)
After attending to the annual overhaul, The Africa Mercy will sail away to Senegal for its next mission. (By the way, if you’re like me, you might want to Google “Senegal” to make sure you actually know where it is! My sole experience in Africa was to Liberia with Mercy Ships … but even now, I need to remind myself where these countries fit into the “bulge” that is West Africa.)
In Senegal, the crew—a very multi-national one—will be ministering to a population of about 15 million people–94% Muslim. Here they will yet again demonstrate the mercy that Jesus exhorted be our Christian service (Luke 6:36).
So … this summer, when I am likely to hear the familiar Sail Away Song once again, I won’t be thinking as much about some exotic escape at sea. No, I will be reminded (as Don Stephens does in every Mercy Minute 1:00 feature) that even if it isn’t to produce a transformation like Aissata’s, I can show mercy in my world too. And be very grateful for those who are impacting lives (body and soul) for the Gospel like those who serve on The Africa Mercy!