Pauline Barter

Pauline Barter is a UK volunteer in the supporter services department at the UK office of Mercy Ships. Pauline assists with admin and office tasks once a week.

I heard about Mercy Ships from their Finance Director who came to my church almost 20 years ago. He was asking for volunteers to go on a Mercy Challenge trip to Benin to help build a medical centre in Cotonou. I had no intention of going to Benin but I had recently lost both my parents who I had been caring for and had some free time. I asked him if he needed help in the office and I am still here!

(I did in fact change my mind and go on the Mercy Challenge trip to Benin which was an amazing experience.)

For me volunteering in a Christian organisation was part of tithing my time to the Lord. I have worked with many different people over the years and have really enjoyed being part of the Mercy Ships family and for me it is a wonderful way to help those less fortunate than myself.

Last summer at the Mercy Ships annual celebration I took part in the 10lb challenge. A young woman named Fanta had carried at 10-pound (4.5kg) tumor under her right arm for 10 years which she hid under draped shawls while she worked. I was only able to hold my arm outstretched for 20 seconds. For us it was a fun thing to do but for Fanta it was a shocking reality of everyday life.

It would be great to have more volunteers so more people can benefit from the free treatment and training Mercy Ships provides.

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