Africa Mercy’s Testimonies


DAVID + BURDEN = Tumor patient , David, on the day of his admission to the Africa Mercy.


David at home after his surgery.

I am now a handsome boy,” says David, who is at home after spending less than a week on board the Africa Mercy. One free surgery and this boy is no longer an outcast.


To God be the glory.

Courtesy: Africa Mercy weekly scoop.

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Mary standing on the dock after recieving her surgury date.

When Mary first came to the Africa Mercy, she would barely look up. Her neurofibroma – a tumor connected to the nerves outside her brain – had been growing since birth. It flapped over her left eye so she could hardly peek out from underneath.

Mary used to come home from school, crying. Her classmates would call her ‘big eye.’ “Will this ever go away?” she would ask, looking up for her mother’s reassurance. “The day is coming when you will no longer have this,” her mother would respond. She was right…

Mary on the ward before going to surgery.

It’s the night before surgery. Mary has been sitting on her bed for the past hour, attentive to the intricate designs she’s coloring. Magenta, turquoise, violet – she chooses colors with intentionality, pausing for thought before selecting another.

Her tumor still hangs over her left eye – the tumor she’s peered through her whole life. She might be contemplating what it will be like to draw without having it block her vision. Or she might be so focused on her creation she doesn’t notice.

Later, Mary’s finished products hang proudly above her bed. “That’s beautiful.” A nurse stops to look. A smile plays around the corner of Mary’s mouth. That smile will turn out to be the first of many.

MaxFax patient Mary on her follow-up assessment after surgery.

Mary is about to leave the Africa Mercy, for good. “Do you have time for one more photo?” At the sight of a camera, she bounds out of the waiting vehicle.

The 14-year-old is hardly recognizable. Three weeks ago she would have looked at the floor, sinking deeper into the recesses of the van, hiding the tumor covering her left-eye.

Now, she looks straight at the camera. “We are very happy,” says her mother, “We are very happy with Mercy Ships.”

To God be the glory.

Courtesy: Africa Mercy weekly scoop.

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Tumor patient , David, on the day of his admission to the Africa Mercy.“David,” a name that means, “Dearly loved.”  This boy and his mother sat under a white canopy, waiting to be called. The idea of help from this large hospital ship was becoming more and more promising…just a few more steps, nurses, forms to go. Nervous anticipation should have been tempered by exhaustion from their persistent efforts, but it wasn’t. The two waited patiently to hear the name…“David…” Just a few weeks prior, Diane had brought her son – six days straight – to join the line of thousands at the Mercy Ships screening center. She returned each day, without fail, until they met with the medical crew. David’s case was something the ship could help with. They received a “yes.” They were now one step closer to David becoming free of the tennis-ball-sized mass that began growing eight years ago when he was only four. Eight years is just too long for her boy to face so many stares, comments and rejection. Diane’s determination to help her “beloved” speaks louder than words, something he will most likely never forget.


Herve takes moment to play as the first cast stage sets.“For the first time ever, Herve’s feet are at positive degrees.” Dean Hufstedler, Phyiscal Therapist aboard the Africa Mercy, looks up from recasting the seven-year-old’s clubfeet: “Since birth he’s supported his weight on the sides of his feet – but now he’ll be able to walk on his soles.” Dean smiles, as this likely means the end of much pain and limping for Herve. But the youngster isn’t listening. He’s busy drumming out a beat on pink balloon. “He learned at church – he’s very good,” comments his mother, Louise.  It’s easy to imagine him during the service, pounding out a rhythm with his fists – soon he’ll be able to do the same with his feet.

Elisabeth’s Last Hope

When Elisabeth was born with a cleft lip and palate, Thérèse’s neighbours were merciless in their comments. They openly laughed at the innocent baby’s face. Unable to successfully breastfeed, tiny Elisabeth began to rapidly lose weight. Soon, even her father thought she would die.

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Thérèse heard a Mercy Ship offering the free surgery Elisabeth needed was returning to Madagascar. She anxiously waited for their last hope to appear.  Baby Elisabeth was three months old when she was examined by nurse Ria Bos (NLD) at a Mercy Ships screening. The baby weighed a fragile 2.1 kg (4.6lbs) – less than an average new-born. The normal weight of a three month baby is around 5.8 kg (12.8lbs)

Elisabeth’s New Lip

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When Therese took her daughter Elisabeth home after her cleft lip surgery, her neighbours we astounded. They said ”This is not the same baby!” Elisabeth’s rose-bud lips have only the faintest trace of a scar - you have to know what you are looking for to even see it.

Therese continues her weekly visits to the Mercy Ships Infant Feeding Program to help her with dietary support. In a few months Elisabeth will be old enough to have the surgery which will restore her cleft palate and complete her physical healing!

Meet Muriella

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Meet Muriella, an incredibly brave 18-year-old who wants to pursue her dreams. But Muriella is challenged by an obstacle she didn’t ask for, and her class mates make fun of her because of the large growth on her cheek. She switched from one school to another twice the past 3 years. Muriella wants to go to university to study law; she has a passion to correct injustice. But Muriella failed her exams because of stress from her condition and the ridicule she experiences.

Overcoming Ridicule

© 2016 Mercy Ships, Photo Credit Ruben Plomp;

Muriella has a passion; she wants to be a voice for the vulnerable. She hopes to become a judge who can speak on behalf of Madagascar’s poor. But Muriella encountered an obstacle in her career-pathway that she couldn’t overcome.  A large cyst began to grow on her face and she became the target of cruelty from her classmates. “It kept growing and growing and growing,” the 17-year-old shares. The ridicule got so bad that she was forced to change schools twice in 3 years. Her dreams for the future were shattered until her mother told Muriella about the free surgeries provided by Mercy Ships. It all happened so quickly in the end and just 3 days after her admission, Muriella walked down the gangway without the mass that threatened to steal her future. She plans to return to school and prepare for university with a new-found courage and determination to pursue her dreams to be a judge.

Claudio’s Burden Removed

Cloudio 01Cloudio 02

When Claudio was three years old he developed a small mass behind his head. Although local medicine couldn’t remove it, his mother didn’t worry because it was very small. But when Claudio was 14 the mass began growing exponentially until it weighed an extraordinary 3.4 kilograms (about 7.5 pounds). Just recently Claudio had his burden lifted and was able to lie on his back for the first time in months!

Lalao’s New Look

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 Lalao lived for 13 years with a goitre – a developing growth in her thyroid. Eventually she could no longer turn her head or breathe easily lying on her back. But the biggest impact was the loss of her desperately needed job simply because of her appearance. The relatively simple, free goitre operation she received on the Mercy Ship brought immediate change for Lalao. She can’t wait to show her family- and get back to work!

Serafine’s Chance

image2016-3-11 11-53-47What began as a small lump in Serafine’s neck grew over 34 years until she looked like she had swallowed an orange. People would laugh at her deformity, so she wore a scarf around her neck in public, despite the intense Malagasy heat.  Five years ago the goitre finally prevented Serafine from bending to work in the family’s rice fields. Consulting a doctor was too expensive, so she visited a traditional healer. He charged a lot of money for bogus treatments and then left her in the same condition. She was out of options until she heard about Mercy Ships.   Free from her burden at last, Serafine says, “I had no money for surgery. Thank you for coming to Madagascar to take care of us. I am really, really happy and thank God for sending Mercy Ships.”

Thanks for reading Through, more Good News soon!

Courtesy: Africa Mercy weekly scoop.

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