24 Aug Teaching to Heal: a volunteer’s story
For over 40 years, Mercy Ships has been dedicated to providing hope and healing to those in need. Our mission would be impossible without the dedicated volunteers who serve on our hospital ships to provide surgical and medical care.
Today, we want to honour two such volunteers: Dr Glenn Strauss and his wife Kim. Dr Strauss joined the Mercy Ships volunteer family back in 1997 as an ophthalmologist onboard the Caribbean Mercy.
He and his wife Kim continued to support Mercy Ships and volunteer their skills for short-term missions; helping many find healing where there once was none.
Then, after years of serving, Dr Strauss and Kim decided to close their practice at home and commit their lives to serve with Mercy Ships full time.
“We felt like we were in a position where we had a lot of years that we could really be offering our best,”
This husband and wife team started volunteering full time in 2005. Dr Strauss performed the very first surgery onboard the Africa Mercy when the ship went into service. But he never forgot his first passion: teaching.
Together, the couple developed Mercy Vision: a training programme for surgeons and paramedics in Central America and sub-Saharan Africa. For years, Dr Strauss has been training professionals in countries where medical training was nearly impossible to find.
Over time, those students began to teach others, resulting in even more healing.
“I had ‘grandchildren’ essentially, since the surgeons that I had trained, were now training surgeons in Africa,” Dr Strauss said. “They were being very effective. And so there was a desire to see if we could maybe scale that or incorporate that into some of the other mentoring work that was being done with Mercy Ships.”
Eventually, Dr Strauss’ passion for educating and training took him away from the operating table and into the classroom. His last surgery was the final one performed in Senegal before the Africa Mercy departed West Africa to head to the shipyard for its annual maintenance.
“What is so interesting to me is that I’ve been part of the story of the Africa Mercy for all these years, and have been able to build a training program in ophthalmology that I believe has been effective both spiritually and professionally with the surgeons that I’ve been working with,” he shared. “Now I have the opportunity to expand that into other areas within Mercy Ships with the new training programmes we are developing for our future projects. I think it’s exciting to see that there’s a new area we’re able to tap into. To go far beyond what we’ve been able to do so far.”
We are so thankful for those like Dr Strauss, whose dedication to the mission of hope and healing will see generations changed.
If you would like to be part of the Mercy Ships family and bring hope and healing to people in desperate need, go to https://www.mercyships.org.uk/get-involved/volunteer/
Glen and Kim at the Mercy Ships celebration of sight.