“The party continues.”

This is the oft-heard catchphrase of Lawrence Adjei, the volunteer bosun on the Global Mercy. Lawrence commands the deck department on the newest Mercy Ships vessel, currently based in Antwerp, Belgium, during its hospital equipping.

Lawrence’s journey began in 1991, when he joined the since-retired Anastasis, an early Mercy Ship that had docked near his home in Ghana.

Before serving as a volunteer with Mercy Ships, Lawrence’s job involved catching tuna for Japanese fishers. When he heard about the Anastasis, he thought it seemed worlds apart from his fishing boat.  But something caught his attention, and later that year, he went through training to embark as a long-term volunteer.

His wife Gina moved on board in 1995 and they transitioned a decade later to the Africa Mercy®, where they raised their son and daughter. Over the years, Lawrence sailed with Mercy Ships through England, Ghana, Guinea, the Ivory Coast, the Netherlands, Spain, and Togo.  He recounted, “We stayed on till 2010 when my late wife fell sick and we needed to leave the ship.” Lawrence and Gina hopped between England and Ghana for cancer treatments until she passed away in 2012.

“I never thought I was going to come back because having gone through all those changes, I needed a break,” Lawrence recalls. But by 2017 he’d come around to the idea of returning and received a timely call from the Captain on the Africa Mercy.

The very next day he took a vehicle straight to Benin and joined the ship.

Lawrence’s family has a long history with Mercy Ships after bringing his grandmother on board in 1995 for cataract surgery.

“She could see again after many years and that was something that stuck with me. I have seen a lot of patients recover because of Mercy Ships and have their life back, but this one is my family—my own grandmother.”

Thousands like Lawrence’s grandmother eagerly anticipate the debut of the Global Mercy® in Senegal later this year.

Lawrence has since remarried and now shares a family cabin on the Global Mercy with his wife and young children. The Adjei family will be continuing the party as Lawrence adds to his three-decade mission to provide hope and healing through the deck department.

What can you bring to the community on board? Would you like to gain experience as a deck hand working alongside Lawrence, or are you already a seafarer? Are you an electrician or an IT professional drawn to a joy-filed work environment?  There are positions for all backgrounds and a place for all skills, whether in or out of the workplace. Visit mercyships.org/makeyourmark to learn more.