My name is Kevin Abrahams and I am a fitter mechanic on board the Africa Mercy.
My journey started when the Africa Mercy came to Cape Town some years ago and was docked at the Waterfront. One day I decided to tour the ship with my grandson to see what it was all about.
Once on board I was so aware of God’s presence, and very impressed by the service of the volunteers. I was amazed to to hear that they had all given up their lives to serve the people of West Africa. After walking down the gangway, I visited the exhibition shed where I was asked if I would like to volunteer. I said no because I was already a part of a local prison ministry in Cape Town, but my grandson challenged me to live out my faith in Christ through volunteering on the Africa Mercy. I felt called to step out of my comfort zone and so two days later I signed up. After being accepted I joined the ship whilst it was docked in Durban for maintenance, and soon afterwards we began the sail to Benin – my very first field service.
After arriving in Benin, I was so overcome with emotion when I saw the first patients arriving. Living in South Africa, you are not often exposed to the kinds of medical needs that you see in West Africa. Patients arrive blind, with club feet, tumors, bowed legs, cleft lips and many other conditions. The tumors that I saw were so large that they sometimes covered half the patient’s face. It is hard to comprehend that some of these people have lived with these deformities their whole lives. However, when Mercy Ships arrives their lives are changed forever!
Although the focus of the ship is the hospital, hundreds of volunteers work in different departments that are crucial to the success of a field service. I work in the engineering department which helps to maintain the technical operation of the ship. I am also happy that I can train and equip future engineers with the tools to be successful in the workplace.
My experience on the Africa Mercy has not always been an easy one, but it has been a very rewarding one. I get to meet many people from around the world and learn from their different experiences and cultures. I am inspired by the volunteers who work to advance the Kingdom of God, not expecting anything in return.
I have been on board for more than 2 years now. As a South African I have really learned to appreciate my culture and background as I live and work in the different countries where the ship serves.
It is with expectancy that I wait to see how God will reveal himself to me, and those around me, during the rest of my time on board. It has been an exciting journey so far!