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Mercy Ships, Plowshares, & Faithful Servants PDF Print E-mail
Written by Sherry   
Monday, 13 August 2007 07:39
I just stumbled across an Australian version of Christianity Today online which will be a useful way to track events around World Youth Day which is less than a year away.

They are running an article about Operation Plowshare - Christian education for children of war.

"In the war torn West African nation of Liberia, children who were forced to serve as soldiers during the 14-year civil war are being offered an opportunity to replace the ruthless skills of war with a Christian education. Mercy Ships is raising funds to support a Christian school in the capital Monrovia, and Christian schools across Australia are being invited to participate in the project, known as Operation Plowshare.

Mercy Ships is raising funds to support a Christian school in the capital Monrovia, and Christian schools across Australia are being invited to participate in the project, known as Operation Plowshare. ‘They will beat their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks. Nation will not take up sword against nation, nor will they train for war anymore’ (Isaiah 2:4)."

Liberia, originally founded to give an African home to former American slaves, "is described as the classic ‘failed state’ in every respect. A great proportion of Liberia’s population is illiterate, living below the poverty line, unemployed, malnourished, lacking basic health care, and with no access to safe drinking water. Almost an entire generation has missed out on formal primary education, learning instead to live by a warlord culture where force is the response to many of life’s challenges."

This school is just one of the many initiatives of a remarkable ministry called Mercy Ships which runs a fleet of hospital ships that roam the world. Founded in 1978 by a couple, Don and Deyon Step, Mercy Ships is one of those extraordinary lay initiatives that many of us haven't heard about. Yet their impact has been considerable.

Performed more than 32,500 surgeries such as cleft lip and palate, cataract removal, straightening of crossed eyes, orthopaedic and facial reconstruction.

Treated more than 212,000 people in village medical clinics. Performed more than 183,000 dental treatments.

Taught over 14,500 local health care and professional workers, who have in turn trained many others in primary health care.

Taught 95,000 local people in primary health care.

Trained local medical professionals in modern health care techniques.

Delivered more than $60 million worth of medical equipment, hospital supplies and medicines.

Completed more than 900 community development projects including construction of schools, clinics, orphanages, water wells and agriculture programs.

Demonstrated the love of God to people in over 550 port visits in 70 different nations.

More than 850 career crew from over 40 nations serve today.

More than 1,600 short-term volunteers serve with Mercy Ships each year.

Be sure and take a look at this touching tribute to crew member Collin Carroll who drowned off a Liberian beach three days short of his 22 birthday. It captures the spirit of the whole enterprise and the quality of those who serve - even if, as in Collin's case, it was only for 6 weeks.

As Collin wrote in his application to serve with Mercy Ships:

"I have two options. I can start a meaningless job that I would soon have to leave to continue my education, or I can do something that will have a profound and meaningful effect on my life while glorifying God and helping those in need. I choose the latter."

Now, I would disagree with Collin that any job is meaningless - but I certainly understand the feeling behind that statement. But consider what kind of young man he must have been to write at 21: I want to "do something that will have a profound and meaningful effect on my life while glorifying God and helping those in need."

Well done, good and faithful servant.

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