3018 West Overland Road
Boise, ID, 83705

(208) 258-9251

Mercy in Action is a non-profit organization that focuses on the crisis in Maternal/Newborn/Child health care worldwide. A Midwifery School, as well as seminars and training retreats are held each year to prepare midwives, doctors, and nurses to meet the global shortage of skilled birth attendants, and to help primary health care workers prevent unnecessary child deaths. 

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Safe motherhood and child survival - one good birth at a time

Mercy in Action is a faith-based non-profit organization founded by the Penwell family over a quarter century ago dedicated to mercy ministry among the poor around the world. Mercy In Action exists to bring hope and healing to the poorest of the poor, wherever they are found, by serving with practical acts of compassion, as did the Samaritan in the story told by Jesus of what it means to "Love God and love your neighbor". Our focus has been on Maternal and Newborn Health, and Primary Health Care for Children under Five, because these populations are the most vulnerable and most likely to die in the poorer areas of our world. Because of our focus, we are involved in Midwifery education and Primary Health Care training.

The Vision

We believe God's heart is for us to care for the poor, especially the children of this world. One of Mercy In Action's main goals is to provide midwives and medics to meet the felt needs of the poor, by educating midwives, primary health care mission medics, and children's workers. Those dedicated to Biblical justice can learn practical skills to serve in the two-thirds of our world where people live in inhumane conditions of poverty and neglect. Currently somewhere around 32,000 children under five years old die each day in the third world, and over half a million mothers die from complications of childbirth each year. The vast majority of these deaths are unnecessary and easily preventable, and that is why we believe in training medical missionaries and public health educators. Orphans and the fatherless are on God's heart, and He desires that we would "do justice, love mercy, and walk humbly with our God". In a word, our vision is to rescue from death and suffering when we can, and share in death and sufferings when we cannot, in both cases offering the ministry of our presence, as a representation of Jesus our Lord. In doing so, we find that we meet Jesus among the poor and suffering, for as He once said so famously, what we do or fail to do with the poor, we do unto Him.

Our History

The Penwell family has set up charity clinics in Asia, Latin America and Alaska, with all services free to the people, and run these ministries with grass roots donations from caring individuals. We teach health care and mercy ministry all over the world. 2015 will mark the 35th year since the beginning of this ministry. In that time more than 13,500 babies have been delivered free of charge for the poor in Mercy In Action's Birth Centers and literally tens of thousands of lives have been saved or healed in the medical outreaches. Countless numbers have been prayed for and felt the comfort of love. In addition, hundreds of Mercy In Action graduates have been equipped and released into service around the globe.
Donor contributions help us buy medical supplies and food for the poor in the Philippines, and help us travel to train others in health care and midwifery in surrounding countries such as Nepal, Cambodia, and India.

The Team

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Vicki & Scott Penwell


Vicki and Scott Penwell founded the ministry that became Mercy In Action over 30 years ago. Vicki is a Certified Professional Midwife, Licensed Midwife, health educator, and humanitarian aide organizer. Scott oversees all aspects of Tech Support, Publishing and building and physical support for the mission. For years they have lived and worked in Alaska, Asia, and Mexico, setting up clinics, birth centers, medical mission outreaches, malnourished children's feeding programs and schools to help the poor. They live full time in the Philippines and travel back and forth to the USA to teach classes and visit family.

Vicki's educational background began in the 1970s when she was planning her own home births in Alaska. It now includes a Master's of Science in Midwifery, and a Master's of Arts in Christian Studies (seminary degree) with a major in Missions/Intercultural Studies. She is also an ordained pastor. Vicki teaches often in churches and mission's conferences on God's heart for the poor, and has been a frequent guest speaker at University of the Nations and YWAM's health care schools all around the world. She gave talks at the International Confederation of Midwives Congress in Vienna, Austria, and has attended other ICM congresses. She has published articles in both national and international journals on midwifery, human rights, primary care medicine and maternal/child health, and has a chapter in the book edited by Robbie Davis Floyd entitled "Birth Models That Work", and two chapters in the book "Paths to Becoming a Midwife: Getting an Education", published by Midwifery Today.  

Scott's educational background includes studying journalism at the University of Alaska Fairbanks. While at UAF he worked in the photography archive department, in publications for the Department of Natural Resources, and taught labs and classes at the university and the attached Tanana Valley Community College. Scott has years of experience working in Information Technology and oversees communication between the staff and students in the states and the Philippines. In prior years, Scott homesteaded in the wilderness of Alaska and is adept at building log cabins and subsistence living. Both Vicki and Scott know how to run a chainsaw!

Scott and Vicki have been married since 1978 and have three grown sons; Zak and Ian, and Sean, and now also two beloved daughters-in-law; Amanda and Rose, who are both midwives. All the family is  involved in various aspects of the family business of missions and healthcare. And, happily, now there are 5 beautiful grandchildren in the family; Zoe, Irie, Titus, Selah, and Jamen.

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Rose and Ian Penwell

Field Directors

Ian Penwell, the son of Vicki and Scott, and his wife Rose, help lead all aspects of Mercy In Action as co-directors, and help teach Midwifery classes, Seminars and Internships, and serve on staff of the Mercy In Action College of Midwifery. Ian Penwell is currently the President of the Board of Mercy In Action. Ian is cross-trained in many aspects of maternal child healthcare, and holds a Bachelor of Health Science with Science Emphasis (Premed) from Boise State University, as well as a Bachelor of Science in Midwifery from National College of Midwifery. Ian is a Certified Professional Midwife (CPM) and US licensed midwife, and formerly was a Nationally Registered Emergency Medical Technician (EMT),  and held National Certification as a Wilderness First Responder. He is currently in the application process for medical school. In addition, Ian Penwell is a Worship Leader and a licensed Vineyard Pastor.

Rose Penwell is a Certified Professional Midwife (CPM), an Idaho licensed Midwife, a graduate of the National College of Midwifery, and a graduate of Boise State University, earning two Bachelor degrees, one in Sociology and one in Midwifery. Rose is the Director of the non-profit, easy access Mercy Birth Center in Boise, and is an excellent teacher and is a passionate life-long learner. They have two girls, Irie and Selah, and a son, Jamen. The first was born in a birth center, and the other two at home (Selah was born in their island home in the Philippines.)

More family...

Zak and Manga Penwell

Support staff and advisors

Zak Penwell, the son of Vicki and Scott, is a world-class strength and conditioning coach. His wife Amanda (Manga) worked as a clinical midwife supervisor for many years with Mercy In Action before she ever married into the family, and at this time is working as a midwife for the birth center Vicki founded in Fairbanks Alaska in the 1980's. Manga has worked  with Mercy In Action over the years, filling different roles such as administrator and teacher as needed. Zak and Manga have two wonderful children, Zoe and Titus, both born at home with Vicki as their midwife.

Sean Penwell

MD and advisor

Sean Penwell, the son of Vicki and Scott, is a Harvard trained doctor working in California. He spent many of his pre-med years in the Philippines learning primary health care from Filipino doctors, as well as coordinating his own feeding programs for malnourished children. Sean also joined Mercy In Action's disaster medical response to Typhoon Haiyan in January, 2014


Past Administrators and Teachers

Ray and Mike Allen, the parents of Vicki, and Terri Woods, her sister, have supported the vision and work of Mercy In Action in untold ways from the day it was founded until their passing in 2015 (Mike) and 2018 (Ray and Terri). They are deeply missed.

Board of Directors

Left to Right: Rachel Williams, Kristen Benoit, Becka Frankie, Tim Herndon, Vicki Penwell, Ian Penwell

Left to Right: Rachel Williams, Kristen Benoit, Becka Frankie, Tim Herndon, Vicki Penwell, Ian Penwell

Rachel Williams Board Member; Kristen Benoit Secretary/Treasurer; Becca Frankie Board Member; Tim Herndon Vice President; Vicki Penwell Executive Director; Ian Penwell President

Ongoing Ministries

The Penwell family is based out of the Philippines, and Vicki, Ian and Rose return to the states once or twice per year for teaching. Mercy In Action is currently sponsoring several projects in the Philippines.

Mercy In Action mounted a Disaster Response to Leyte island after Super Typhoon Haiyan/Yolanda struck in November 2013. For two months we provided for the delivery of babies in the disaster zone, (more than 110 deliveries in 60 days)  in our birth tents, and provided medical emergency care and food to thousands of the survivors.

We have  a full-time, permanent charity birth center for the poor on Luzon Island, in the Subic Bay region north of Manila. This is where the Penwell family lives with four generations of our family.  We also built and sponsor Maternity Waiting Homes for rural tribal families so they can be near a skilled birth attendant when they go into labor. We do primary health care as needed, occasional water or building projects, and ongoing agriculture projects to grow food.

Since 1991 we have established several birth centers in the Philippines, and our former students have started numerous birth centers all over the world.  We have also helped other missions establish birth centers or clinics and are currently consulting on others. Since creating a culture of sharing knowledge is one of our values, we are proud to say that several of our former students have now established teaching centers, also. 

We hold on-going medical and midwifery training and outreach in the area of maternal/newborn health, and primary child health care, several times per year, in the Philippines. Many tribal people in our area live a day or more hike into the mountains. Part of our outreach is to bring vitamins or food  to the families with pregnant mothers or malnourished children, and to hold primary health care clinics in areas where there is no doctor.

Megan Allen Memorial

Megan Allen
April 8, 1995 - June 25, 1998

Vicki's beloved niece died in a tragic accident in 1998 at the age of three years old. Megan had a wonderful life--she never knew hunger or suffering of any kind, and was loved and cherished by all of her family. It is fitting that the memorial to her short life be one in which children who have suffered greatly find hope, healing, and love. Megan's Babies is a memorial ministry outreach to every baby we deliver. Our goal is to give a layette of a baby hat and a receiving blanket to each new family. Often the parents are too poor to provide even basics for their newborn, or medical care for sickness or birth defects. Babies who have special medical needs are helped with this fund as well, such as babies we deliver who need surgery but their parents cannot afford it and would have otherwise had to let them die. Donors can make financial gifts through this website,  or mail newborn items directly to our babies.

Mercy In Action
PO Box 062
Subic Bay Freeport Zone
2222 Philippines

email: info@mercyinaction.com