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Preparing for Missions

by | Fri, Nov 4 2022

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In 1978, Mercy Ships set out on its goal to help people in need by bringing them hope and healing. Every year, they deploy hospital ships staffed by specialists who donate their time and expertise to help children and adults who may not otherwise have access to life-changing procedures.

Dietitian Trina Laidlaw is set to begin her second assignment on board Mercy Ships. Trina recently joined us on Rise & Shine to discuss her love of missions and her commitment to provide comfort and hope to people in need.

‘I’ve been a dietitian in Australia for about 11 years,’ says Trina. ‘So I started looking into Mercy Ships and how my skills as a dietitian could fit with their vision and mission. In April 2018, I applied for a dietician role, which also involved feeding infants.’

God’s Provision

Trina says that through a series of prayers and miracles, she made it to West Africa, to serve with Mercy Ships on the African Mercy vessel for six months. It was only though God’s amazing provision that she was able to go.

‘Everyone who goes on Mercy Ships is a volunteer,’ says Trina. ‘So we need to raise support for insurance, flights, fees to live on the ship, vaccinations and personal expenses. So that’s one of my other big projects. People can either make one off donations, or pledge monthly.’

Trina has dreamed of being part of Mercy Ships since she was a teenager, but taking the first step to make it happen was one of the hardest things for her to do. She tells people who are feeling that pull in their hearts to keep going. If it’s the right thing to do, God will affirm it.

‘The stories of the patients are my reason for going,’ Trina says. ‘They just can’t get access to what they need. Their appreciation for what we do and their thankfulness is overwhelming. Some of them just cry with gratitude. Even if we only see them once for one appointment, they are so thankful.’

Hope and Healing

Trina’s most frequent task with patients is to get them well enough for surgery. Many of the patients have tumours on or near their faces, and they often have trouble eating. Trina works with them to get the vitamins and calories they need to gain weight.

‘Then a lot of babies come in with cleft palate,’ she says. ‘I assist them with feeding so they can have it repaired. I also follow those patients up after their surgery to make sure they’re eating okay, and doing whatever I can to help with healing and preventing complications.’

On Mercy Ships, a large group of people work together to give as much first-world care as they can. The ship has everything that a hospital in the west would have. There are many jobs for people who work in health care besides doctors and nurses.

‘Most of the time the ship will stay in one country for about ten months,’ says Trina. ‘But it’s going to be a little bit different next year. When I was in Senegal, I was able to witness the inauguration of their brand new vessel, The Global Mercy. I will go back onto that ship next year, and we’ll go to Senegal for about four months and then on to Sierra Leone for the rest of 2023 and 2024.’

‘I’m really looking forward to it, and I can’t thank everyone enough for their prayers and support.’

Listen to Trina’s full interview on Rise & Shine below, and to support her and the amazing work of Mercy Ships, click here.