‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of Mine, you did for Me.’ Matthew 25:40

Whoever is kind to the poor lends to the Lord, and He will reward them for what they have done. Proverbs 19:17

Cycle Tours for the Poor

Dr Tertius Venter

Plastic and Reconstructive Surgeon

After graduating from University of Cape Town,  Tertius Venter moved with his family to East London, South Africa, and opened a private practice and all went well. But after a hard but comfortable 10 years a ship sailed into the port of East London and his life was changed forever.

The M/V Anastasis, a hospital ship that served the poorest of the poor of this world, needed some maintenance. This ship was then biggest of the ships of Mercy Ships Global (www.mercyships.org) Three months later Tertius served as a plastic surgeon on the ship in The Gambia, West Africa, for a short 10 days but enough for a total heart change; God and the desperate need of the poor radically changed his worldview, his life forever.

He spent more and more time working on the ship as volunteer every year and in the beginning of 2006 closed his private practice in East London, South Africa, to follow his call fulltime. The family moved to Durbanville, Cape Town. He then also got involved with other organizations serving the poor not only in Africa but worldwide: PAACS (The Pan African Academy for Christians Surgeons, www.paacs.net training surgeons in Africa for Africa) and Operation Smile (repairing cleft lip and cleft palates worldwide www.operationsmile.org)

The M/V Anastasis was replaced in 2007 with the new M/V Africa Mercy, a hospital ship with 5 operating rooms, a 90 bed hospital with X-ray, CT Scan, and laboratory facilities on board. The Crew of the Africa Mercy consists of volunteer Christians from all over the world representing an average of 40 different Nationalities - every crew member, from captain to cook and nurse to doctor, pay their own way to work on the ship.

Mercy Ships is about ‘A call to compassionate action in a hurting world brining hope and healing, restoring dignity and self-worth’ Providing free surgeries to those in desperate need.

Since 1978 more than 35 000 surgeries have been done on the ship such as cleft lip and palate, burn contractures, cataract removal, straightening of crossed eyes, orthopaedic and facial reconstruction after trauma or tumour resection.

The World Health Organization has identified that the majority of conditions amenable to surgery globally are mainly one of 7.

(Plastic Reconstructive Surgery is involved with the first 3 of the 7 conditions);

  1. Burn Contractures
  2. Congenital conditions; eg Cleft lip and palate, hand and feet abnormalities
  3. Trauma
  4. Eyes conditions; eg cataracts
  5. Obstetric Fistulas
  6. Club Feet
  7. Hernias and Goiters
  8. Global Surgery

- from The Lancet Commission on Global Surgery

All the above surgeries done by Mercy Ships.

To continue with this work Dr Tertius Venter raises his own funds in addition to families and friends that support him financially.

 (www.tertius26.org and www.globalreconstructivesurgery.org)

He has done a seven  long distance cycle tours from 2014  to 2017 with the aim to

1. Speak to people to know that the horizon of one's  future is as wide as one would allow God to take you if you are prepared to follow Him with all of your heart.

‘One of the greatest tragedies of life is to go through life and to expect a little from a great God’

"An individual has not started living until he can rise above the narrow confines of his individualistic concerns to the broader concerns of all humanity." – Martin Luther King, Jr.

Which really says; ‘Love your neighbour as yourself’

2. To raise awareness of the desperate need of the poor that share our world

3. To raise awareness of organizations such as Mercy Ships Global, Operation Smile and PAACS and what they do to alleviate this need.

4. To raise funds for his work.

The  six cycle tours were

1.From Amsterdam in The Netherlands to Stuttgart in Germany in October 2014. Solo, unsupported.

2. The second  was done in March/April 2015 from Pretoria to Cape Town in South Africa via the Eatern Cape – 1 872 km (1 170 miles)

3. The third was in  June and July 2015 from the east to the west coast of the United States. 6 500  km km (4 000 miles)

4. From Amsterdam to Belgium, via France to the UK, then Wales, Ireland, Scottland and back to Amsterdam, The Netherlands. 2-18 May 2016. 2 500 km (1 560 miles)

5. South Africa; Pretoria to Cape Town - different route than  in March/April 2015. 1 - 15 November 2016. 2 016 km (1 260 miles)

6. California, USA. From San Francisco to San Diego. August 2017.  979 km (608 miles) Solo, unsupported.