Don Stephens standing on board a ship with the sea in the background

The Man Who Has Made Waves For 42 Years!

In Articles, Direction Articles, Faith by Peter WoodingLeave a Comment

Peter Wooding caught up with Don Stephens to find out how he pioneered the work of Mercy Ships following a life-changing encounter with Mother Teresa, who asked him three questions...


“I’ve known since I was a little boy that God had a call on my life,” says Mercy Ships Founder Don Stephens. “Even then I was searching for a purpose,” remembers Don who grew up in a Christian family in the mountains of Colorado.

“Fast forward three decades later to a meeting in Calcutta with Mother Teresa, who asked me three very important questions. First of all, she asked me ‘Why were you born?’ I explained to her a dream that I had about a hospital ship for Africa.

“She gave me several gifts – and one of them was she didn’t laugh at me. I don’t have a maritime background. I’m not from a family that knows the sea and I’m from a rural area thousands of miles from the sea.

“The second question was ‘Where’s your pain?’ She quickly let me know that God often uses pain as preparation for purpose. I didn’t want to talk about it, but my wife Deyon and I have four children.

“The third in birth order is our son John Paul who has special needs. That was the source of my pain and Mother Teresa helped me understand that perhaps John Paul was part of God’s preparation for purpose, and he certainly was.

“Finally, she asked me ‘What are you doing about it?’”

This article was taken from the December 2020 issue of Direction Magazine.

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