How It All Began
The Early Years...
Mercy Tech Mission was founded by Rick Cogbill, a licensed automotive technician and former shop owner. Rick is also an author and humor columnist; his monthly column The Car Side has been running in major automotive trade magazines since 1998.
Rick and his wife Nan first went to Africa in 1985, where they spent two years working in Northwest Kenya among the Turkana tribe. Rick oversaw all vehicle maintenance and repair for an ongoing building and relief project operated in that area by the Africa Inland Mission (AIM).
During that time, Rick taught his local staff the basics of mechanical repair and maintenance. He experienced first-hand the impact of helping local workers learn a trade, and how such training increased their ability to provide for themselves and their families.
Upon returning to Canada, Rick opened his own automotive repair business, which he operated for many years before selling it in 2000 to focus on his writing career.
In the spring of 2010, Rick returned to Africa, this time to Mozambique where he spent a month volunteering at ASAM, a Canadian missionary organization based near Chimoio.
During his time in Mozambique, Rick repaired a number of vehicles, generators and motorcycles, all the while teaching his assigned helpers the basics of automotive mechanical repair. It was during this trip that the vision for Mercy Tech Mission was born.
Over the next number of years, Rick and his teams made many trips back to Mozambique where they taught such skills as woodturning, mechanics, driving, and carpentry. A large mechanics shop was also built on the site, which provided opportunities to teach electrical installation, concrete finishing, welding and fabricating, and other major building construction techniques.
In 2013, Mercy Tech Mission officially became a registered Canadian charity. Its mission statement is: To take qualified volunteers to developing countries where they can teach employable skills to those living in poverty.
In the fall of 2014, Mercy Tech also began a mechanics training program at the mission base of One Life One Chance Ministries in San Quintin, Mexico. Welding and fabricating programs were added shortly thereafter.
In 2015, Mercy Tech opened a second training location in Africa at the Heart for Africa mission base in Swaziland. At this location (called Project Canaan), training is currently being provided in both regular and heavy duty mechanics, and in welding and fabricating. It also has potential opportunities for carpenters, electricians, plumbers, commercial bakers and cooks, farming and more.
Looking forward, our first training trip to Cambodia is planned for February of 2018. God continues to open new doors of opportunity for Mercy Tech Mission as we continue to “Change Lives, One Skill at a Time.”