In an environment where life is of little value and open evangelism is not tolerated, mercy teams can make a difference in individual lives by preaching the Gospel through our hands and hearts.
China's one-child policy and the cultural preference for baby boys lead to many girls and disabled children being abandoned. Many end up living in very deprived conditions in orphanages.
Mercy teams help the children by washing them, feeding them, tending to their wounds, cleaning the areas in which they live, providing medical treatment and physiotherapy, and generally showing in practical ways that they care.
Mercy teams also help children in foster care situations and the poor and needy in remote villages. We are able to bring in health and medical expertise, agricultural help, educational opportunities and relief.
"Why are you doing this?" is a common question asked of the team members. They can happily reply, "God loves me and He loves you. He wants you to know that He cares and that is why we are here."
Over the years, we have seen individual lives touched and changed as a result of the mercy teams' work. One bright little orphan girl remarked, "I never wanted to play with the smaller children because they always smelled, but now I can because they smell nice after you have cleaned them up." This same little girl is now happily picking up the smaller babies and kissing them as if they were her little brothers and sisters.
Here's what one mercy team member had to say: "In comparison to Western standards, the orphanage was extremely basic and very dirty. There were a number of children who were suffering with dehydration and malnutrition. In addition, we spent much of our time with the disabled children, many of whose lives would have been improved had they had greater access to medical care. I was greatly encouraged when I realised that the visits by AM-CCSM had improved the children's living conditions in exactly these areas. By the end, I realised that I had probably gained as much as I had given. I was not in a place where I was hearing about the suffering that there is in the world and feeling that I could do little, but I was doing something about the suffering I could see."
Other short-term teams: