Mercy Ships

Mercy ships enters a new chapter

Brenda has been with Mercy Ships since 1996, first on the Anastasis, then the Africa Mercy, and has headed the South African Mercy Ships since 2015

Contact Information:

P O Box 412 Muizenberg 7950



Brenda’s contact details:

Brenda van Straten is National Director of Mercy Ships, South Africa

Mercy Ships South Africa, based in Cape Town, is one of 16 national offices around the world.

Our International Support Centre is based in Texas, USA and our Global Office in Switzerland. Mercy Ships is an international faith-based organisation bringing hope and healing to the world’s forgotten poor. As many as 5 billion people lack access to safe, affordable surgical and anaesthesia services worldwide, and less than 6% of all operations are delivered to the world’s poorest countries. Marginalised populations continue to suffer due to a lack of trained healthcare providers, inadequate infrastructure, and disproportionate out-of-pocket healthcare costs. Mercy Ships programmes offer holistic support to developing countries striving to make healthcare accessible for all. Since 1978, Mercy Ships has delivered services to more than 2.71 million direct beneficiaries. The countries served by Mercy Ships are ranked as the poorest in the world by the United Nations Human Development Index.

In 1996, as a relatively new Christian, I took a leap of faith and joined Mercy Ships, believing this was God’s calling for my life.

After almost 18 years of volunteering on board our ships, and being right in the midst of suffering as I had never seen it, my passion for the poor grew in ways I never imagined.

Although it was difficult to leave my home and work on board the Africa Mercy, when I was asked to take on the role of National Director for Mercy Ships South Africa, I did not hesitate to accept. The work of Mercy Ships is supported from all over the world, and South Africa plays an important role in ensuring as many as possible receive free life-saving and life-transforming surgeries.

As National Director, my role is to:

  • Create awareness of the live-saving and life-transforming work of Mercy Ships in Africa.
  • Raise funding for the activities of our ships in West and Central Africa.
  • Recruit volunteers to serve on board our hospital ships.
  • Manage the activities of the ships when in South Africa for maintenance and PR.

Brenda also serves as a member of the CCK Missions Team and coordinates prayer requests from our CCK missionaries.

Hear more from Brenda
Chantelle Grenstead from CCK spent a short term placement on Mercy Ships and had to be repatriated this year due to the pandemic

If you would like to know more about short term opportunities with Mercy Ships, you are welcome to contact Chantelle on or Whatsapp +27 82 493 0918.

Learn more about Mercy Ships

Prayer Requests February 2021

  • The Africa Mercy is now scheduled to return to Senegal in June (as opposed to April). Please pray this happens as we have patients scheduled for surgery since March 2020 who are anxious for our return.
  • Crew joining the ship in Senegal need to quarantine for 7 days at a local hotel. This makes it very difficult for surgeons and other medical professionals who can only offer two weeks a year to serve with us. Pray this will not have a significant impact on our work.
  • Pray for our crew on board the Africa Mercy in Tenerife. It has been a long season for them – some who have not been able to leave the dock due to not having Schengen visas. Pray that this will be a time of refreshing as they deal with the extended time in Tenerife, and also that the authorities will give permission for ALL our crew to be able to move around Tenerife freely. They have been so faithful in staying onboard and serving with so much humility in the midst of a challenging time.

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