A native Texan, Donald K. Stephens is the founder and president of Mercy Ships, a global, faith-based organization bringing hope and healing to the world’s poor using state-of-the-art hospital ships to provide free, lifesaving surgeries for people where medical care is inaccessible. Founded in 1978, Mercy Ships has delivered medical care in 55 developing nations, providing services valued at more than $1.3 billion and treating more than 2.5 million people. As president, Mr. Stephens continues to inspire a workforce of over 1,000 professional volunteers from 45 nations with offices in 16 nations.
Three events in his life inspired him to start Mercy Ships. The first, in 1964, was the human suffering he witnessed following a hurricane. The second was the birth of his profoundly disabled son, John Paul. The third was a brief encounter with Mother Teresa of Calcutta.
His honors and awards include the U.S. Congressional Gold Medal nomination (2016); the Points of Light Award (2014); the Variety Club International Humanitarian of the Year (2009); the Commanders of the Republic Award, Republic of Benin (2009); and, from Food for the Hungry, the Two Hungers Award (1989).
Mr. Stephens is the author of three books: Ships of Mercy (Thomas Nelson, 2005), Mandate for Mercy (YWAM, 1995) and Trial by Trial (Harvest House, 1985).
He and his wife, Deyon, have four grown children and five grandchildren.
Please click on the link below to view a video that provides a brief history of Mercy Ships.
Mercy Ships History and Overview ➔