[Pacific Lutheran Scene]
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-- Alumni --

Chuck Cooper '77 is making a difference with Mercy Ships

Chuck Cooper ' 77 stands aboard Mercy Ships' Caribbean Mercy, when it was docked in Seattle this spring.

With two out of every five people on the earth malnourished and more than one billion living in absolute poverty, Mercy Ships, a nonprofit Christian relief agency, has sailed to more than 70 ports around the world providing medical care, relief aid and long-term sustainable change since 1978.
      In 1991, Chuck Cooper '77 and his wife, Rebecca, lived on board Mercy Ships flagship Anastasis for a three-month-long Discipleship Training School.
      "Life on board the nine-story vessel with 400 missionaries from 30 nations was challenging and rewarding," Cooper said. "During our schooling we lived in Poland, the Netherlands, Norway, the Ukraine and the Soviet Union. We left the ship in Estonia just three days before the coup closed Tallin's Harbor. For several days, Soviet battleships prevented the Anastasis' departure." Two additional months of Christian outreach followed the school phase.
      After completing the training, the Coopers knew it was their calling to serve the poor and needy through the work of Mercy Ships. In 1993 they sold their house in Colorado and moved to Texas to volunteer full-time at Mercy Ships' international office. Chuck's work in the video production department has taken him to Mexico, the Dominican Republic, Guatemala and Nicaragua.
      "My greatest challenge as a videographer is catching God at work on board the ships and within the remote villages that we serve," Cooper said.
      Last year alone Mercy Ships' three-fleet operation, which is staffed by international crews of nonsalaried professionals, brought free medical care and relief to Lithuania, Nicaragua, Guatemala, South Africa, Vanuatu and Papua New Guinea. Over the past 20 years, volunteer surgeons have performed thousands of free operations, from correcting cleft palates and crossed eyes to removing tumors and cataracts. In addition, more than 100,000 people have been treated in village medical and dental clinics.
      A native of Salem, Ore., Cooper earned a BBA in business administration from PLU and earned a MBA from the University of Puget Sound. Chuck and Rebecca have two children, Dustin, 5, and Jason, 3. They are expecting their third child in September.

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