Originally posted on https://www.esperanca.org/it-started-with-a-ship/
The spirit of Esperança has been present and growing in Phoenix since 1970, when Father Luke Tupper first began advocating for his medical campaign in South America. Mere weeks before “Esperança, Inc.” was officially incorporated, the Arizona Republic ran an article about Father Luke’s fundraising efforts to build a hospital ship. THE hospital ship. The “Esperança”.
After the story ran it took a few more years for him to acquire a ship and officially inaugurate it the first “Esperança”, but Father Luke was known for nothing if not his heart and ceaseless determination. The thought of the suffering he had witnessed during his military service in Brazil fueled his inner mission even further.
“As a Christian and as a doctor, I’d never seen such poverty and degradation. I love my brother and as a medical missionary in Brazil I can serve him best.” – Father Luke Tupper
And serve he did. His ship sailed up and down the Amazon for years, serving as a symbol of hope to the people of Brazil, offering free vaccines, surgeries, and dental care. When Father Tupper arrived, this large population of 230 thousand was served by 6 overworked doctors located in one city.
Father Tupper believed that no matter where you live, or what you do for a living, you deserve the opportunity to make it a healthy life. And Esperança holds true to those values today, caring for the most disparate populations around the globe, because, as Father Tupper said, “All they need is a chance.”