1) When did Mercy Project begin and why? Mercy Project began in 2010 as a response to children I had met in Ghana, Africa who were suffering from the chains of child trafficking.
2) What is the aim and mission of Mercy Project? Mercy Project’s mission is to rescue children from slavery. We partner with families and communities trapped in the cycle of poverty, empowering them with sustainable economic solutions in order to free children from forced labor.
3) Has this vision remained the same, or has it expanded as you've grown? Our vision has definitely grown and evolved as we’ve learned more about the issue of child trafficking. Our initial focus was on the children, but we’ve since expanded that to tackle more of what we believe to be the root cause (poverty) of the trafficking. This includes empowerment of the fishermen who own the children as well as empowerment of the families once the children have been reintegrated with their families.
4) What resistance have you met, and how have you handled it? I don’t know that we’ve really met much resistance other than people who ask us why we don’t help people here in America instead of going all the way to Africa. We usually just tell people that we work hard to love both our local and global neighbors but that God had decided for our day time jobs to be with our friends across the ocean.
5) Can you give us a brief story of Kingdom impact that your ministry has been a part of recently? Our most powerful stories are when we get to see how the people in the fishing communities embrace us as friends and partners rather than adversaries. There’s something very kingdom and “heaven on earth” about getting to walk alongside people on the journey from shame to freedom. This is the ministry of reconciliation lived out. With this process at the core, we’ve been able to rescue 46 children and empower two fishing communities to learn new ways of fishing that don’t involve child labor. All of these rescued children have now been reintegrated back into their families.
6) What encouragement can you give others who have a passion to begin their own ministry but may not know where to start? I would just say be willing to take big risks in the name of Jesus and trust that God is faithful. Very few problems get solved when we sit on the sidelines and wish and hope things were different. And if you do happen to fail—that’s okay too. God can handle our failures and give us fresh chances over and again.