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Chester County Press

Mercy's Vessel

02/06/2018 12:55PM ● By Steven Hoffman

For more than a decade, Dr. Gary Moore has been involved with efforts to send teams of doctors and nurses to support the work of missionaries who are serving in Central America, South America, and the Islands of the Caribbean.

Moore, the pastor of the Nottingham Missionary Baptist Church and the director of GPA Mobilization Ministries, is looking forward to the day when Mercy's Vessel is launched.

Mercy's Vessel is a ship that was purchased about four years ago as part of GPA Mobilization Ministries' ongoing efforts to support the missionaries that are serving in areas from the Gulf Coast of the United States to the Islands of the South Caribbean by sending teams of medical professionals to provide much-needed care and medical supplies to impoverished areas. It's expensive and time-consuming to transport the doctors and nurses to those areas that need the medical clinics the most.

With the addition of a boat, GPA Mobilization Ministries could have a mobile medical clinic that will allow the medical staff to spend more time doing the very important work.

Moore has personally been on at least two dozen mission trips over the last decade. During these trips, he has seen many people, especially children, who need medical attention. In Panama, for example, he recalls seeing children who had never been able to be treated by a dentist, and who have many cavities as a result. He recalls seeing a girl who was wearing a snow suit in 100-degree weather because it was the only decent clothing that her family had for her. Being able to help people in need is at the forefront of GPA Mobilization Ministries' work.

“When we see what the children need, and we are able to give them what they need, that is an inspiration to help others,” Moore said. “Over the last five years we have seen about 2,000 medical patients a year. We’ve had a handful of instances where we have saved a life because the doctors got there just in time and they were able to get a person to a hospital.”

Mercy's Vessel, when it is launched, will increase the speed with which help can be provided. The dream of launching the Mercy Vessel is close to becoming a reality, and could be accomplished later this year. According to Moore, the ship will make it possible to reach thousands of people with the hope and help of the gospel each year. But it has taken a lot of work and a lot of effort to reach this point.

Ever since the boat was purchased several years ago, workers have carefully scraped and painted the ship, and undertaken the extensive renovation work that is necessary to make the boat suitable for its new purpose. GPA Mobilization Ministries fundraised to pay for the complete refitting process, and about $50,000 is needed to complete the project.

Moore said that the estimates are that it will take about eight or ten more weeks of work to complete the work and get Mercy's Vessel ready for use. The boat is currently at Yank Marina in Tuckahoe, New Jersey.

“They are close to finishing the work,” Moore explained.

Once the work on the boat is complete, it will house a fully equipped clinic and pharmacy for the medical teams. There will be dorms for 12 intern workers, cabins for eight crew members and staff, as well as a galley and a dining area. Evangelistic teams of up to twenty workers can visit two or three ports of call during each trip. This would greatly improve the ability to assist each missionary and give the workers a much broader view of missions.

Moore explained that GPA Mobilization Ministries was started as a result of a strong desire to help the missionaries that are serving in Central and South America with the Gospel Preacher Association and other like-minded mission organizations. Some very dedicated medical professionals from the area, including Dr. David Rooney, a doctor with Southern Chester County Family Practice and nurse practitioner Judi Gawlikowski, have participated in many of the mission trips through the years.

Individuals, businesses, and a lot of churches have helped with those efforts by providing the resources that are necessary to transport medical professionals and medical supplies to areas that need them.

“We feel that the Lord has really blessed us with the opportunity to be involved,” Moore said.

An annual dinner has been held for each of the last nine years to raise money to support the work of The Mercy Project, which is the name of the various initiatives that are underway.

“It’s a big event for us,” Moore explained of the fundraising dinner, which will take place at 7 p.m. on Thursday, March 15 at the Palm Court at the DoubleTree Resort in Willow Street, Pa. (formerly Willow Valley). The dinner is free, but you must request tickets that can be obtained by calling 610-806-6555. Monetary donations to support the completion of the work on Mercy's Vessel would be greatly appreciated during the dinner.

Moore said that any help with the effort to launch Mercy’s Vessel is very much appreciated.

“We’re always looking for people to go on these trips, too,” Moore said.

To contact Staff Writer Steven Hoffman, email [email protected].