So far we’ve done 511 surgeries, which I think would be easy enough to tie directly into some statistic about how we’ve changed 511 lives so far this field service, but that would be short-sighted. One of the things that makes the impact of our work here on board the Africa Mercy difficult to quantify is the sheer magnitude restoring health to someone can have on the lives around them.
As an example, Paul struggled with deteriorating vision his entire life due to childhood illness, and then one day cataracts started to take what little was left.
Paul is the oldest son in his family. In Congolese society, Paul really is the “man” of the house – he’s expected to provide for everyone. Paul’s also really exceptional – he built his own house in spite of his illness. But long projects like that don’t bring money in.
Give Paul his sight back and it changes more than his life. It changes the life of his family. It affects his community. It adds back into the pool we all draw from. Paul is excited to get back and finish school, and he is so excited to finally be able to provide for his family.
Santurnin is in a similar boat, although much farther down the line. He has so many kids you almost need a third hand to count them on. He’s a soldier, and soldiers (believe it or not) need to see to fight.
Santurnin’s surgery came at just the right time to restore him to his post, and in turn just in time to continue supporting a family. Surgery on board the Africa Mercy changes more than individual lives, it touches entire communities.
I want to encourage you today that you might not have any idea what kind of effect you’re having with the good you do in any given day. You have no idea how far a compliment, a smile, or a generous extension of yourself will go. This is no reason not to give, not to put yourself out there – not to love whoever God puts in front of you today.
We’ve done 511 surgeries to date, but we’ve touched so many more lives. And you’ve been a part of that – so thank you.