It’s time for 10 Questions with Mercy Ships ophthalmic senior technician Sandra Au! This is how Sandra brings hope and healing to the people of Senegal.
1. How long have you been serving with Mercy Ships? Five weeks.
2. When you’re not serving with Mercy Ships, what do you do back in Australia? I work as an optometrist back home.
3. Why do you love serving with Mercy Ships? One night for the worship on the dock, we heard the story of Acts 2: 42-47 which talks about the fellowship of the early believers coming together to pray, share meals, be devoted to the apostle’s teachings, and praising God. And I thought, this is what the Mercy Ships community is like and I love being part of that.
4. What do the people of Senegal mean to you? I have loved working with and getting to know the Day Crew who are the local Senegalese people. They are so warm and love to share their hospitality. They are so keen to learn, dedicated to their work, and passionate about helping their people.
5. What’s your favourite thing about waking up each day on board the ship? It’s been an amazing experience and an honour to have this opportunity to serve God and be part of the team to give sight back to so many people. To see the reactions of patients when they realise they can see again is so heartwarming. I feel blessed to share in their joy.
6. What one thing has surprised you the most about serving with Mercy Ships? I was surprised to hear how long people have been serving on Mercy Ships, either continuously, or how many field services they had been on. It really gets you hooked to come back to serve again. It’s also incredible how the local Day Crew from previous field services in their own country are now serving on the ship in other countries. Everyone’s dedication to the mission, their generosity and sacrifice to be away from home, family and friends is really inspiring.
7. Which on board tradition do you love the most? The Thursday night community gatherings and sharing ice cream together afterwards.
8. What has living on board a ship with 400 other people taught you? Living on the ship in the large community has reminded me that although it is important to do community together and join in the fellowship and activities, it’s also important to have time to yourself. Sometimes you can get caught up in the business and forget to take time to reflect on what you have experienced and what you have learnt.
9. Tell us one thing that you wish that you’d known before joining Mercy Ships. Serving for five weeks is too short! I wish I could have stayed longer.
10. What would you tell someone who’s thinking of joining Mercy Ships? Although the position I served in Mercy Ships is similar to my job back home, there are many people who are serving in positions which are completely different. It doesn’t matter what you do or work as at home, everyone can serve on Mercy Ships in one department or another.
Join Sandra on board the Mercy Ship at mercyships.org.au/volunteer