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10 questions with Mercy Ships clinical dietitian Jessica Mepstead

It’s time for 10 Questions with Mercy Ships clinical dietitian Jessica Mepstead! This is how Jess brings hope and healing to the people of Senegal.

1. How long have you been serving with Mercy Ships? Almost three months.

2. When you’re not serving with Mercy Ships, what do you do back in Australia? I’ve been working as a clinical dietitian in a couple of different hospitals in Canberra and NSW. I’ve also spent plenty of time playing sport and serving in the Hospitality team at my local church.

3. Why do you love serving with Mercy Ships? Because this is a totally unique environment! I love the opportunity to combine the job that I trained to do with the chance to live out the Great Commission, in a faith filled community… in Africa!

4. What do the people of Senegal mean to you? The people of Senegal pride themselves on being known for peace and hospitality, and I see that every day. Our day crew and patients give me a wonderful insight into the beauty and welcoming and inclusive nature of their culture.

5. What’s your favourite thing about waking up each day on board the ship? Knowing that each day I have the chance to share my knowledge. I get to educate and equip the people I meet, helping improve their nutrition and then see them on the other side of their surgery journey, healed and whole.

6. What one thing has surprised you the most about serving with Mercy Ships? I’ve been surprised at how easy it was to adjust to living here. It is a big change from home and we live in much closer quarters on board, but I’ve still found it easy to seek out my own space for alone time or be social and hang out with other people whenever I want to.

7. Which on board tradition do you love the most? I love Sunday worship. There is so much musical talent on board and it is a privilege to have so many different people share a message each week.

8. What has living on board a ship with 400 other people taught you? 400 people eat a lot of peanut butter!

9. Tell us one thing that you wish that you’d known before joining Mercy Ships. I wish I’d known that lots of people question whether or not they should be here. But the answer is always yes! Yes, if you are here, you are in the right place and God has a purpose for your time. So don’t let a fear of missing out or homesickness spoil what may be only a very short period of service, in the context of your overall life. Enjoy it and see what God can do.

10. What would you tell someone who’s thinking of joining Mercy Ships? Apply early. There can be a long wait for some positions on board. Even if you feel uncertain about if you can make it here or not, just apply anyway so that you can make a final decision with actual dates in front of you.

Join Jess on board the Mercy Ship at mercyships.org.au/volunteer