In life’s most important moments, in order to receive the greatest impact, there first must be a time of preparation. Athletes go into strict training before the championship game. Doctors go through residency before entering a fulltime practice. There is a season to prepare through education, apprenticeship, and equipping, so that individuals can go out in confidence and yield the greatest impact for their performance.

If we prepare properly, we will reap an abundant harvest in due season.

In the past year, much preparation has gone into equipping the Global Mercy™ so that the greatest impact can be achieved in African nations. Upon her arrival in Dakar, Senegal, the preparations continued so that we were ready to receive the very first patients on board.

The HOPE Centre, where patients stay for extended recovery and treatments, was prepared by groups of people who walked and prayed through every area. Senegalese nationals who serve as translators and in many other roles were welcomed and trained. Curricula for courses training national medical professionals were finalised. Engines were checked, equipment tested, and re-tested to ensure a safe environment on board. A multitude of preparations have been taking place throughout Mercy Ships for this very special time.

Amadou, the first patient on board the Global Mercy, and his caregiver, Mariatou, before being admitted for surgery.

As Amadou, the very first patient on the Global Mercy, walked up the gangway with his mother, there was much rejoicing that the day had finally come when all of the preparations paid off. Amadou received the first surgery on board and his life is forever changed. Because of the time and efforts of getting the hospital ready on board the Global Mercy, because of the training and experience of medical professionals as well as volunteer crew, and because of the care and support of partners all around the world, an abundant harvest is being reaped in Dakar, Senegal.

Jesus also went through a time of preparation before leaving the greatest impact possible on the world. Before He was born, Jesus was destined to take on the epic battle against sin and death. Before time began and eternity was already in place, Jesus was preparing for His moment on the cross. He studied in the synagogues, He built a community of supporters, “And Jesus increased in wisdom and in stature and in favour with God and man.” (Luke 2:52)

In the days leading up to His crucifixion, Jesus prepared His disciples for His death and resurrection. Although they didn’t fully grasp what He was saying and often asked questions, they were being prepared all the same. Jesus even prepared Himself for what He knew was ahead by getting alone to be with His Father and pray. All this preparation produced victory as Jesus defeated sin and death by raising to life three days after his death. He is alive!

This Easter, as we journey towards the cross and prepare ourselves for the celebration of Jesus’ resurrection, we invite you to do the same. Prepare your heart for the greatest gift you’ve been given — forgiveness and salvation! Just like the surgeries our patients receive aboard our ships, salvation is a free gift from God — it comes at no charge to the recipient.