Sea Mercy – Bringing Hope to the South Pacific
Sea Mercy – Bringing Hope to the South Pacific
God has been using the disciples in Oregon in some powerful ways these past few years. With the official launch of the University Church of Eugene in 2015, God has grown their fellowship from 14 disciples to over 75. He also has thrown opened the doors for them to plant churches in Corvallis (Willamette Valley Christian Church) and in Bend (Bend House Church) Oregon. However, not only are the Eugene disciples winning souls for Christ in Oregon, God is also using them as “Good Samaritans” (Luke 10:25-37) to impact the lives of those living on the thousands of remote islands of the South Pacific through a non-profit charity called Sea Mercy.
Although the people of the South Pacific have always held a special place in the hearts of Sea Mercy’s Founders (Richard & Stephanie Hackett), it was not until an anniversary sailing trip to the South Pacific that they discovered the incredible needs on the forgotten remote islands.
“There was a huge difference between the health, education and economic services available on the populated primary islands compared to those on the remote islands. Where the primary islands had hospitals, power, roads, running water…the remote islands had nothing. The more questions we asked and research we did after returning home, the more we realized that no one had a solution for it. We knew God had led us to our ‘Good Samaritan’ moment in life and felt we could not ignore it.” – Richard Hackett, President, Sea Mercy
Often separated by hundreds of miles, one of the greatest challenges to the survival of the thousands of "at risk" remote islands across the South Pacific is staying connected to the health care, disaster response, education and economic development services that are only available on the few primary islands. With a unique solution that relied on the simple belief that vessel owners and volunteers wanted to “sail with a greater purpose” but simply needed a way to do so.
In 2012, they began reaching out to the island nation governments, international yachting and health care communities. Since then, God has thrown open the doors for Sea Mercy and their partners to connect these remote islands to these much-needed services by creating a local Sea Bridge of volunteer yachts, captains and experts to assist our island nation partners.
- Free Health Care Bridge – Bringing reliable and comprehensive health care services (dental, medical and eye care) to the remote island communities
- Disaster Response & Recovery Bridge – Delivering emergency food, water, shelter, and medical aid following natural disasters (cyclones, earthquakes, tsunamis) and the tools and ongoing supplies needed to rebuild devastated remote island communities
- Education & Training Bridge – Providing local and international education, research, and training opportunities that brings balance and fairness to the remote island citizens
- Economic Development Bridge – Empowering those living on the remote islands to return to the healthy, self-sustaining and thriving communities they once were
Since Sea Mercy’s launch in 2012, their Floating Health Care Clinic vessels have visited over 200 remote islands (most multiple times) where over 350 volunteers (doctors, dentists, nurses, ophthalmologists, etc.) provided free care.
- 12,000 reading and 1,200 near-sighted glasses tested and distributed to adults and children
- 1,800+ dental patients treated (2,700 extractions)
- 6,500+ patients were screened and treated for diabetes
- 15,000+ patients have been treated by our healthcare teams.
Disaster Response & Recovery
Often the first to arrive and the last to leave following a natural disaster, their First Response Fleet of more than 60 Sea Mercy disaster response & recovery vessels were sent to the devastated remote islands following three of the largest cyclones to have hit the South Pacific (Ian – 2014 in Tonga, Pam – 2015 in Vanuatu, and Winston – 2016 in Fiji) delivering over $1.5 million in shelter, food, water storage and medical supplies.
Economic Development (RISE Program)
Sea Mercy’s RISE Program is a land-based program that strives to help return the islanders to the healthy, self-sustaining and thriving communities they once were through health, education and agricultural based programs. Their purpose is to inspire and empower the people living on the remote island of Batiki, Fiji (RISE 2017) to desire to change and then to maintain these programs once trained. Devastated by Cyclone Winston in 2016, there has never been a better opportunity and willingness of the people to ‘return to their roots’ and restore hope and a future.
Ready to sail with a greater purpose?
Sea Mercy works directly with their island nation partners through Memorandum of Understandings and each program is developed in response to their direct involvement and observation of each remote island needs. Unfortunately, with the effects of climate change and economic hardships, there is a growing urgency and magnitude for those needs.
There are currently 11 island nation communities (2,400+ remote islands) in the South Pacific that Sea Mercy is targeting for their Sea Bridge programs. The targeted island nations are (those in bold are currently being served):
- The Kingdom of Tonga (one primary island, 176 remote islands)
- The Republic of Fiji (two primary islands, 332 remote islands)
- Solomon Islands (five primary islands, 900+ remote islands)
- Federated States of Micronesia (four primary islands, 607 remote islands)
- Palau (three primary islands, 250 remote islands)
- Vanuatu (two primary islands, 81 remote islands)
- The Marshall Islands (one primary island, 34 remote islands)
- Kiribati (one primary island, 32 remote islands)
- The Cook Islands (two primary islands, 13 remote islands)
- The Mariana Islands (one primary islands, 14 remote islands)
- Tuvalu (one primary island, 8 remote islands)
As you can see the need is great and the workers are few (Matthew 9:35-38), but they are also getting help from disciples. Working with the leadership and disciples in Fiji (Suva and Nadi) for local support, they are also seeing more and more disciples from other churches joining their efforts. Disciples from Denver, San Diego, Eugene and Corvallis are now playing a huge part in their 2017 RISE programs.
If you are looking for a way to have an incredible Good Samaritan adventure this August, then volunteering for a week or more on a remote island in the South Pacific might be exactly what floats your spiritual boat. Visit Sea Mercy’s RISE Volunteer Opportunities page for more information on how you can volunteer. If you or your church would like to ‘adopt an island’ and/or volunteer for a future RISE or Floating Health Clinic program, then email Rich & Stephanie at firstname.lastname@example.org to get the dialog started.
This article is reposted from Disicples Today.