'I honestly can't think of a better example of Heaven on earth...'


I’ve just returned from Guinea, West Africa, where I saw the Africa Mercy hospital ship in service. I was hosting the Bishop of Woolwich - Bishop Karowei - and his wife Dr Mosun, as well as JB Gill (Songs of Praise and CBeebies TV presenter) and Rev Celia Apeagyei-Collins. We met some incredible patients on the wards and spent time with wonderful crew members, including a brief breakfast with our very own Val Clarke!

Every one of the 450 crew are volunteers, from over 50 nations around the world. This amazing crew worship Jesus, pray together, live in Christian community, and heal the poor and afflicted. There was an incredible sense of God’s presence. I was especially moved by meeting Dr Gary Parker, who has been volunteering as a surgeon for over 30 years with his family. One of my guests asked him, ‘Why do you do this? You could be earning money, a lot of money!’ He answered beautifully, and said, ‘200 years from now, none of us will worry about the car we drive or the house we live in. We’ll all be saying – it’s the Kingdom. That’s the only thing that will survive.’

Mercy Ships Collage April 2019.jpg

I honestly can’t think of a better example of Heaven on earth, than this hospital ship crewed by Christians - volunteers from all over the world - providing free surgery for the poor!

Now that I’m back, I’m extremely busy juggling a number of projects and partnerships. I’d especially value your prayers for wisdom and clarity, about how best to use my time, and where to deploy limited resources, in order to faithfully tell the story of this inspiring crew and their brave patients.

Darren Richards
Mercy Ships | Church Partnership Manager