It’s no secret that travel is a big part of Mercy Tech Mission – before we can share our skills, we have to go to where the students are.
That, of course, sounds pretty obvious, but when you stop and consider how many miles MTM volunteers have put on since we began travelling in 2011, it’s mind-boggling. By the time you read this, there will have been over 18 trips to places like Mozambique, Swaziland and the Baja, with over 20 different volunteers taking part.
To bring you up to date, 2016 saw four Mercy Tech training trips to the Baja and one to Africa. And thanks to some amazing Team Leaders, I only took part in two of these five trips; further evidence that the work of Mercy Tech Mission is growing.
For 2017, we have already been back in the Baja (March), and during April and May I will be leading a team of four Canadian volunteers to Swaziland, Africa (Craig Skinner, Justin Taylor, Phil Cote, Anthony Ellendt). The focus of this 7-week trip will be on teaching mechanics – both automotive and heavy duty – as well as welding and fabricating at the Heart for Africa mission base.
One very exciting aspect of our Africa trip this year is that we will be joined by one of our early Mozambican students. We began working with Prosper Fernando back in 2011, and this year we are bringing him down to join us in Swaziland to teach mechanics for a one week period. This is truly amazing, that in so short a time we are seeing one of our African students teaching other Africans in a neighboring country. This is the kind of outcome we are aiming for in all of our training locations; local people learning skills that they can then pass on to others.
And the opportunities keep coming. Already we have plans underway to begin working in Cambodia in the spring of 2018. Other countries have already been discussed over coffee, and as we look to the future, the possibilities are limited only by our ability to keep travelling and in finding the right volunteers who will build life-changing relationships with students around the world.
Humanly speaking, it can be tempting to put a limit on this growth, as it certainly can get tiring! But instead, we at Mercy Tech choose to look at this as God opening opportunities to impact lives in a practical way; to have a part in loving the people that God loves. We have the privilege of building into the lives of others, and in doing so finding purpose for our own.
Thank you to all who are partnering with us to make this happen. Whether you support us financially, pray, spread the word about our work through social media, or perhaps even volunteer for a trip yourself, you are all an important part of what makes this whole thing work.
Together we are changing lives, one skill at a time.
Rick Cogbill, Mission Director