Don Stephens first dreamt of a ship that would be a floating hospital when he was nineteen. He envisioned a ship travelling to the poorest communities in Africa and performing lifesaving surgeries for free to those who couldn’t afford them. Fourteen years later, he and his supporters buy a ship but it takes four years for it to be fitted out as a hospital. Initially, the ship is used to provide relief in times of natural disasters. After the ship has been in medical service for eight years, it eventually arrives in Africa—twenty-six years from dream to fruition. Ships of Mercy explains the reasons for the many delays.

The book provides a good overview of the history of the Mercy Ships ministry and the work they do in some of the poorest countries in the world. It’s interspersed with testimonies from grateful recipients of surgeries that wouldn’t otherwise have been available. The book explains Mercy ships land-based work and also provides information regarding fundraising, staffing and other operational matters. The book includes before and after photos of patients as well as photos and design drawings of the ships.

Overall, it provides good background information on the history and growth of this valuable ministry as well as their plans for expansion.