2013 Africa 1200

Changing Lives, One Skill At A Time

The Honest Truth


Many of you have been following the ongoing activities of Mercy Tech Mission for quite some time now, and it occurred to me the other day that it’s time I shared with you the honest truth.

Okay, I’ll bet you weren’t expecting me to say that.

No, I haven’t been telling lies in the past, and I’m also not referring to what recent politicians have labeled as “alternative facts”. (And actually, if you think about it, the phrase ‘the honest truth’ doesn’t really make sense unless there really is something we could call ‘dishonest truth’. But I digress...)

The truths that I’m referring to are the small but important things that go on behind, or perhaps along with, the larger events that occur...

Here are some examples: 

Truthful Event: At the end of August, volunteer instructor Todd Green did a solo trip down to our Baja location to teach mechanics for 10 days. It was a great success and a real blessing to both Todd and the staff at the One Life One Chance base in San Quintin.

The honest truth: I was glad I didn’t have to go! Due to a busy travel season and a heavy work load back at home, I was feeling quite worn out and exhausted. So I was thrilled to have it confirmed once again that Mercy Tech Mission does not need me to be on every trip we take. Thanks, Todd! You’re a real MTM veteran.

Truthful Event
: On October 22nd, one of my first automotive students from Mozambique, Prosper Fernando, made his second trip to teach mechanics for one week at the Heart for Africa mission base in Swaziland. This involved two-day bus rides each way, finding hotels, and negotiating border crossings. Although Mercy Tech covered his expenses, Prosper conceived, planned and executed the trip all on his own, and used his holiday time to do so.

The honest truth: I had no idea that something like this would ever happen when I began training Prosper back in 2011. It never entered my mind that one day one of our students would be travelling to other countries and sharing the knowledge that they had been given. Yeah. It’s pretty exciting stuff. Blessings to you, Prosper; you rock!

Truthful Event: In February 2018, Mercy Tech Mission will make its first foray into Cambodia. The two-man team will be led by Phil Cote, a return volunteer from Alberta who made his first trip with MTM this last May when he accompanied me to Africa. The team will be providing training in mechanics and photography while in Cambodia.

The honest truth: I am not the least bit disappointed that we are starting a brand new training location in a country that I won’t even visit until sometime in the future. In fact, my schedule is already so full, that if Phil wasn’t leading this trip, it simply wouldn’t be happening. You’re amazing, Phil! God bless your heart for the Cambodian people.

Truthful Event: I am writing this update from the Baja, where I’ve again been working with Isaias Vasquez in mechanics training. But this trip has been different. Over the past few days, we have spent more time on the computer learning theory than actually fixing broken vehicles. Isaias completed his first online exam on braking systems and did well. With the consent of his employer, One Life One Chance Ministries, he has committed to spending one day a week on concentrated course studies, sending me regular updates on his progress along the way.

The honest truth: We at Mercy Tech are slowly learning that our training trips MUST focus more on long-term training and growth than on mechanical triage. So many times when we arrive at a site, there is a long list of projects waiting to be done. Because our volunteer instructors are doers at heart, the danger is that our students become production workers during our stay, and not the true learners of knowledge that they need to be. On this trip, Isaias and I deliberately slowed down and spent time where it was needed – going over things like braking systems until he reached a point where he really understood it and was ready to move on to another system.

The bottom line? This year it’s become increasingly clear that the work of Mercy Tech Mission cannot, and should not, be done by me alone. It takes guys like Todd, Craig, John, John 2, Bob, Bob 2 (and Bob Sr!), Prosper, Justin, Anthony, Phil, Don, Rich, Dave, Darwin, Fast Eddy, Michael…okay, I’ve missed someone for sure. 

The point is, this sharing of the load is a good thing. Yeah, it’s important that I’m here, but even more so it’s important that I don’t get in the way. 

It has often been said that if you want to go fast, go alone; but if you want to go far, go together. And that’s what I see happening now, and what will happen more and more as Mercy Tech continues to grow, continues to open new locations, continues to find new volunteer instructors, and continues to change more lives, one skill at a time.

And honestly, that’s all I really want. Thanks for partnering with us. We couldn’t do it alone!

If you would like to get involved with Mercy Tech Mission, here's how:

  1. To make a donation that will help change lives around the world, please visit our Donation page.
  2. If you would like to learn more about becoming one of our Mercy Tech Volunteer Instructors, please visit our Volunteers page.
  3. If you know of someone who might be interested in making the trip of a lifetime to share their skills, please share this post with them or send them a link to our website. 

Rick Cogbill, Mission Director
Mercy Tech Mission


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