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Thursday, July 11, 2013

Mercy Makes a Difference
‘60 Minutes’ to again feature Mercy Ships and their mission to bring hope and healing to the world’s forgotten poor

By Dan Wooding
Founder of ASSIST Ministries

LINDALE, TX (ANS) -- On Sunday, July 21, 2013, the CBS television program “60 Minutes” will re-air an inspiring 12-minute segment featuring Mercy Ships ( and their mission to bring hope and healing to the world’s forgotten poor.

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The special feature about Mercy Ships is hosted by Scott Pelley who said, “Spend a few days as we did aboard the Africa Mercy, and you will see how two worlds meet at the intersection of courage and compassion.”

Pelley discovered that the Mercy Ships team of dedicated and compassionate volunteers permits the pursuit of its mission to bring hope and healing to the poor, mobilizing people and resources worldwide, and during his time aboard the hospital ship, Africa Mercy, he said, adding that he experienced seeing that love in action firsthand.

Scott Pelley

The “60 Minutes” team traveled to the port city of Conakry, Guinea, West Africa, where they showed in the program a young man daring to glance in a handheld mirror after surgery. He gasped as his hand subconsciously reached up and touched his face – a ghastly facial tumor that had been slowly suffocating him for the past five years was now gone.

Meanwhile, in another ward on the ship, three siblings that were born blind, ages one, three and seven, each had their own “miracle moment.” After surgery to remove congenital cataracts, each opened their newly repaired eyes and gazed at their mother for the very first time ever.

Since 1978, Mercy Ships volunteers have performed these and more than 67,000 other surgeries, as well as helping deliver services and materials, totaling over $1 billion dollars, in developing nations.

Dr. Gary Parker

Due to the complex nature of Mercy Ships projects and programs, volunteer professionals are required to fill a wide range of skills. Dr. Gary Parker serves as an Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeon and is the Chief Medical Officer onboard the Africa Mercy. Dr. Parker started volunteering with Mercy Ships in 1986. After meeting his future wife on the ship, he married and has since raised two children while living and serving onboard with his family for more than 26 years.

Volunteers from around the world, like Engineer, Tom KenKnight, from the USA and or Sterilizer, Juan de Jesus, from the Dominican Republic, make the Mercy Ships mission a success. Some crew live onboard for several years while others volunteer for several weeks or months.

Volunteers fill roles such as cooks, schoolteachers, ward and operating Room (OR) nurses, pharmacist assistants, housekeepers, registered clinical dieticians, agriculture and nutrition facilitators, business analysts, anesthesiologists, hospital supply coordinators, plumbers, carpenters, IT managers, bio-medical technicians and orthopedic surgeons, to name a few of more than 100 different volunteer positions filled by 1600 volunteers annually from more than 35 nations.

Don Stephens being interviewed by Dan Wooding on a previous occasion

Don Stephens, President and Founder of Mercy ships said, “The results from the first airing in February exceeded our expectations in many ways – several thousand people donated online, downloaded applications and joined the conversation on Social Media. We couldn’t be more pleased!

“The feature on 60 Minutes allows Mercy Ships to share our story with a national audience. It also gives you an opportunity to share your Mercy Ships experience with those in your own circle of influence.”

The segment will be part of the hour-long program that begins at 7 p.m. Eastern & Pacific Time and 6 p.m. Central Time on a local CBS station.

Stephens went on to say, “Will you spread the excitement about what is happening in Mercy Ships, as well as get the word out about 60 Minutes?”

He asked people to watch the “60 Minutes” program with family, friends, and members of your congregation and community and also communicate information about the show "using email, Social Media, and channels at your church, school and work place."

Stephens added, “Meanwhile, please pray that the many people who watch the segment will consider partnering with us financially, volunteering with us, and remembering us in their prayers.”

About Mercy Ships:

Mercy Ships uses hospital ships to deliver free, world-class health care services, capacity building and sustainable development to those without access in the developing world. Founded in 1978 by Don and Deyon Stephens, Mercy Ships has worked in more than 70 countries providing services valued at more than $1 billion, impacting more than 2.42 million direct beneficiaries.

Each year Mercy Ships has more than 1,600 volunteers from over 35 nations. Professionals including surgeons, dentists, nurses, health care trainers, teachers, cooks, seamen, engineers, and agriculturalists donate their time and skills to the effort. Mercy Ships seeks to transform individuals and serve nations one at a time. For more information click on 

Dan Wooding, 72, who was born in Nigeria of British missionary parents, is an award winning British journalist now living in Southern California with his wife Norma, to whom he has been married for 49 years. They have two sons, Andrew and Peter, and six grandchildren who all live in the UK. He is the founder and international director of ASSIST (Aid to Special Saints in Strategic Times) and the ASSIST News Service (ANS) and he hosts the weekly “Front Page Radio” show on the KWVE Radio Network in Southern California and which is also carried throughout the United States and around the world. Besides this, Wooding is a host for His Channel Live, which is carried via the Internet to some 192 countries. Dan recently received two top media awards -- the “Passion for the Persecuted” award from Open Doors US, and as one of the top “Newsmakers of 2011” from Plain Truth magazine. He is the author of some 45 books, the latest of which is “Caped Crusader: Rick Wakeman in the 1970s.” To order a copy, go to: Caped Crusader - Amazon

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