May 03 2012

Transformation Ceremony

The African dresses and head pieces are beautiful. I was able to see some African women all dressed up on the ship and their dresses were by far the most beautiful I’ve seen. Not so much because of the fabric or style but because of the women wearing them.

Before they get these dresses onboard – you have to hear how they got to this point. In Africa, childbirth is a lot different then in America. Doctors are rarely involved and many women are left alone to labor. Complications are common. If problems arise, the women almost always lose their baby and they’re left with a lot of physical damage. One woman I met was in labor for two weeks – trying to push out the baby while running from rebels during war.
With the damage, ladies are considered outcasts - disowned by their family and friends…sometimes left in the bush to live alone for years. The medical problems are usually either too complicated or too expensive tofix.
But Mercy Ships can help. Not only physically, but spiritually.  Throughout the entire process, the women meet with doctors for the surgery and spiritual counselors to help them rediscover their self-worth and significance in Christ. Once they’ve healed and are ready to leave, there is a “Transformation Ceremony” on the ship. This is were I spotted the most beautiful African dresses….and the most beautiful African women!

The ceremony is a pretty big deal…it symbolizes a new life for the women. They get all dressed up in a new dress and make-up (similar to a woman preparing for her wedding day). For some, it’s been decades since they’ve felt so pretty. There’s music, dancing, singing and praying at the ceremony and the women share their stories. All of them thanking Jesus for Mercy Ships, admitting because of the love and acceptance of the volunteers – they’ve been transformed from the inside out. These ladies are my heroes. Just look at the joy on their faces….and it’s all because of Jesus using a ship.



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Comments (7) -

5/4/2012 6:43:20 AM
Robyn Balcom United States
Robyn Balcom
I met my husband on board the Mercy Ship Anastasis. He joined in 1984 and I came along a year later. At times the ship has been called God's Love Boat - for many reasons! We left Mercy Ships in 2002 as our 3 children were entering Jr High. Our 17 years with the ship ministry was RICH and rewarding. We have a love for the lost and hurting ~ and our kids are passionate for God and for extending His love with their lives.  I love and appreciate the Stephens and all of our beloved shipmates who have served through the years!!  God bless Mercy Ships!
5/4/2012 6:55:38 AM
Lisa United States
It is a beautiful experience to attend a Dress Ceremony on the ship.  Renewal and Healing at its finest!   God is Good!!!
5/4/2012 6:58:28 AM
Audrey United States
My heart is full as you tell of these women that has endured so much and God has restored them.  Thank you for sharing.
5/4/2012 7:38:49 AM
Tracey United States
Thank you so much Amy for your sacrifice and your service to these people. I am enjoying the stories of your journey; however, selfishly I miss your voice on the radio every morning on the way to work. God Bless you and your family.
5/4/2012 11:52:06 AM
Michelle United States
Stting here in tears reading all your posts. Really makes you truly realize how fortunate we are here.
Thank you Amy for helping to spread our saviours LOVE and mercy. Will continue to lift you all up in prayer.
5/4/2012 3:21:13 PM
Lisa H United States
Lisa H
I am a very experienced RN of 20+ yrs. how do I learn more about possibly helping on Mercy ship?
5/4/2012 3:26:49 PM
Lisa United States
Ho to to view open positions and get in contact with a recruiter
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