Mercy Ships Update | A 10-Year Dream Finally Comes True

It’s a pretty common saying that “good things come to those who wait.” for Ruth, it took nearly ten years to realize her dream of serving on board Mercy Ships, a floating hospital that provides free medical care to millions of people living near the African coast. However, this March she will be embarking on a trip to provide dental work and assistance to those who need it.

Ruth has always been drawn to helping others, and to making a difference in people’s lives. Even when we spoke on the phone, her passion for others was immediately apparent. “I guess it’s always been a part of me as a healthcare professional, wanting to help more is a part of [all] our lives,” she says. “I wanted to do more.”

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She’d reached out to Mercy Ships about serving nearly ten years before, but at the time, outside circumstances prevented her from pursuing the opportunity and she ended up moving from Atlanta to Mexico. Soon after she moved, there was a massive earthquake in a town nearby and Ruth decided to travel 10 hours to see how she could help. “Since I’m not a doctor I can’t necessarily prescribe medicine, but I can provide chit chat and sit down with people and give them hope,” she says.

Once she’d made the decision to go help, Ruth was overwhelmed by the support she received by the people around her. “I got the acceptance on Thursday night and left on Friday morning,” she says. “I posted something on Facebook and the next day I had people calling me — even moms from my son’s school were calling me asking ‘where can I send money?’ People want to help, but sometimes they don’t know how.”

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When she arrived at the site, she loved spending time with the people. “Whatever food or drink we gave to them, they would share it with us. They went out of their way to accommodate us,” she says. Throughout the trip, she was inundated with messages from supporters. “Every time I wasn’t sure what I was doing, I would get a message from someone inspiring me and it really restored my faith in people,” she says.

As soon as she came back, she knew she needed to do more. She looked back through her emails and found the one from Mercy Ships. She signed up immediately. “This time I didn’t ask anyone or tell anybody,” she says. “People have really surprised me,” she adds. “People you’d never expect to care enough or give anything help you and really restore your faith in humanity.”

Aboard the ship, Ruth is looking forward to helping people with dentistry and oral hygiene. “As a dentist, I love helping people smile,” she says. “I’m going to help these people but I know that I am going to receive more than I’m giving. For me, this is the life we’re meant to live.”

We’ve loved getting to know the amazing men and women serving on Mercy Ships and are continually inspired by their commitment, dedication, and love for those around them. If you want to give directly to Mercy Ships, head here. You can also read more about how your every interaction with Relode blesses those who serve on Mercy Ships, or read other volunteer stories.

Molly Powers