02 Feb Leap of faith: How a step into the unknown for Matt reaped many rewards
Matthieu Bhoyroo is about to head to Senegal, West Africa, to take on a role at an extremely exciting time for Mercy Ships – and for him personally. Here is his story.
As the pandemic took hold in 2020, many found themselves in a period of self-reflection. Homeworking was a new reality many of us abhorred and it was easy to become restless or scared.
For 26-year-old Matt Bhoyroo from Watford in Hertfordshire, it was a time that saw him realise he needed change and fast.
“I really struggled to work from home. It was draining and I was very unhappy in my work. I asked God if I was right for the work in this job and I decided to quit in the summer, and a felt a tremendous sense of relief at the prayerful decision. Mercy Ships was at the top of my list.”
Matt had gained a theology degree from the London School of Theology in 2018 but was unsure of what path to follow next. He was born in Mauritius and moved to the UK aged five and becoming a Christian as a teenager had made him feel he wanted to make a difference to others.
Matt said, “I felt a calling to do overseas work but I sat on that for a while and worked as a recruitment consultant for a couple of years and then the pandemic hit in 2020.”
He remembered hearing of Mercy Ships while at the Christian festival Spring Harvest as he represented the London School of Theology years before. Mercy Ships had the next door stand and he felt drawn to both the cause and the friendly stand’s representatives.
“I applied to Mercy Ships in summer 2020. I told them I would take whatever job they needed someone for.”
Matt took up his volunteering post in the housekeeping and dining room team from mid-August until mid-October.
“The first time I saw the ship was great. I had never been on a ship that size before – only boats – it was quite amazing. I remember how small I felt next to it. It felt like a new adventure at a time I had quit my job so I was open to all that it offered and excited and joyous.
“I had limited contact with other people because of COVID-19 and spent a lot of time initially washing dishes. But as the rotations happened, I became a team leader and became responsible for setting new protocols and decisions. I felt very blessed.”
He said he built great friendships over the next ten weeks and that cemented his desire to give more time with Mercy Ships.
Matt said, “One of my favourite times of my life was uni and the sense of community. Any time of day you could find someone awake – someone doing an all-nighter finishing an essay in the library for example! The ship was like that! It is like a village on a ship and there is always life, which I love. Everyone is there with the same mentality and there is a real vibrancy.”
After his trip, he says he sought other overseas work and used his spare time to reflect and pray about his future.
Matt said, “It was during a hike in the evenings I felt God wanted me to go in the direction of healthcare, agriculture and education.”
Applying again, he found the role he is set to relish – as assistant to the director of the Mercy Ships Medical Capacity Building (MCB) Programme based in Senegal. The programme delivers critical capacity building to support and strengthen surgical health systems from grassroots to Government by empowering individuals and governments through training and mentoring. It was exactly what he was looking for.
“I feel I want to support others to support themselves – so the job as MCB assistant seems so fitting and I feel God opened the door for me. Sustainable development is such a passion of mine – the MCB really does cover all these areas I care most about. It gives me great enthusiasm to take on the role,” he said.
Matt is set to fly to Senegal on Sunday January 30 and start a two-year commitment. Here he will play a vital part in ensuring Mercy Ships delivers educational courses and mentoring to help increase the knowledge and skills of healthcare professionals. He also hopes to play a part in the Food for Life programme, which helps participants rebuild, restore and renew their land and communities through agriculture training and development.
“I feel a bit apprehensive as I’ve signed up for two years and it is a big change, but I am also excited for what God is going to do. I aspire to give my absolute best.”
Leap of faith
Matt has experience in adapting to new challenges, having moved from Mauritius to Harrow in North West London as a boy and has also worked elsewhere overseas. He encouraged others to volunteer for Mercy Ships and take a “leap of faith”.
He enthused, “I would say to anyone considering it that this is their chance to experience completely unique. You can keep experiencing the same, safe mundane world or you can take a leap of faith. You might not land on your feet right away, but it could change your life for the better – it has mine!”
Can you use your professional skills to transform lives, like Matt? Find out how you can help some of the world’s poorest people, click here.