04. 06. 2018 || A Call to Serve
When he was just 19, Don and his Colorado youth group were in the Bahamas when Hurricane Cleo swept through causing massive devastation. As the group sheltered in an old WWII aircraft hangar,
From a prayer request a 19 year old heard as he and his youth group from Colorado sheltered away after the Hurricane Cleo storm in the Bahamas that swept through causing a great devastation to being used to provide an answer; Don Stephens entered this huge risk with God and founded Africa Mercy with his wife, Deyon.
‘Wouldn’t it be a wonderful thing if a ship could come in after the devastation to provide the necessary medical care and supplies’ – This prayer stayed with him, challenging him provide an answer even though during this time, Don and his wife, Deyon, had a son, John Paul, born with special needs. John Paul’s condition reinforced their belief that they had to bring medical help to people with no access to any form of health care. Then came a visit to India, where he met Mother Teresa. She encouraged him to pursue the vision God had placed in his heart and soon he was looking for a ship. Together, Don and Deyon and a team of volunteers who shared their vision for Mercy Ships hunted through ship graveyards to find something they could turn into a hospital ship. At last the idea became a reality – and the risk a certainty – when, on 7 July 1978, US$1m was paid for a rusty old cruise liner. Volunteers converted it into a hospital ship with three operating theaters and a 40-bed ward and, in 1982, the first Mercy Ship, Anastasis, was deployed. Since then Mercy Ships has served in 54 developing nations around the world, directly helping more than 2.42 million people in desperate need.
Don and Deyon Stephens founded the charity together, spending ten years living on board the first Mercy Ship with their family before relocating to the International Operations Center in Texas.
Africa Mercy is an organization i look forward to working with, can’t wait to have them in Nigeria. They recently left Cameroun and are on tpo their way in Guinea by sea!