I'm at my church's family camp in the Santa Cruz mountains for a while. It's remarkably peaceful, even with hordes of kids.
Because I can, here's a quick plug for a very worthwhile charity: two fellow church members and their daughters gave a presentation about it yesterday. The charity is Mercy Ships, an organization that sends medical ships off the coast of profoundly impoverished societies. There the doctors, nurses, dentists, and specialists serve people who otherwise would have no access to medical care whatsoever. They do things like repair cleft lips and palates in children (which otherwise often leads to permanent social ostracism at best, and death by malnutrition for infants who cannot latch on to suck at worst), remove disfiguring tumors, perform orthopedic operations that can restore mobility and limb use, perform surgeries that restore eyesight, and otherwise offer a level of medical care that the Western world takes for granted and that can make an incalculable difference in the lives of the beneficiaries. They showed us pictures of some of the people they've helped; there's a video here.
Some medical professionals donate their time for a few weeks; others (as well as staff) accompany ships for a year or more. Our friends from church — who have two lovely daughters who were adopted from Africa — are starting a year-long mission. Donations help to run and supply the ships and make it possible for people to live on the ship for lengthy periods of time. It's an explicitly non-denominational Christian mission, but the focus is on the medical services provided, not on proselytizing. If you are in the mood to donate to a worthy charity some time this year, give them some thought. Thanks for reading.
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