We are so excited to share the news on the most amazing letter received all year!

We received a letter with this greeting at the top:
“Hello Ruben and Ivanna! Congratulations you have been accepted to serve onboard the Africa Mercy!”

The background story that got us to this point is a good one, but it might take a few different posts. For now I’ll stick with the basics.

What is Mercy Ships and/or the Africa Mercy?

Mercy Ships is an organization that follows the 2000-year-old model of Jesus by bringing hope and healing to the forgotten poor all around the world via a fully-equipped hospital ship. The Africa Mercy is where we will be serving aboard off the coast of West Africa.

How long are you planning on going?

We are planning, God-willing, to leave August 30th 2014 and come back May 23rd, 2015.

Wait, so what will you do about your jobs?

Well, Ruben parted ways from the Coast Guard in February and I’ve been working at the hospital. So that means Ruben is freed up, and I’ll be leaving my job in August to work with Mercy Ships. I’ll be a nurse on an adult surgical ward, and Ruben will be a deck hand.

Why would you leave your jobs to go work for free?

Mercy Ships is staffed entirely with volunteers, from the doctors to the nurses to the housekeepers and the engineers. This allows life-changing surgeries and direct patient care to be provided completely free of charge to some of the people who need it most. The true answer to this question will take an entire post to answer, but we’re headed in this direction because we felt like God was asking us to. We are usually at a complete loss as to what he is asking of us, but this time we took a leap of faith that we were hearing him correctly.

Our excitement hasn’t even had time to rise up because we can barely believe this is actually going to be happening. I try to imagine what it will be like, but I can’t; it’s so far beyond me. This is a dream come true for both of us, albeit in different ways. Take a look at this video to hear nurses from around the world hear about why they want to volunteer with Mercy Ships.

Do you want to learn more about this organization and the work they do? Check out the website!

We’ll be posting all about our experiences and challenges here. If you want to stay updated or know someone who might be interested in Mercy Ships, please share or subscribe in the sidebar!

Update April 2016: We never went to Benin because the Ebola outbreak was too widespread and it was not safe for theĀ Africa Mercy crew or for the potential patients travelling to the ship. However, we will arrive there in August 2016! The anticipation has been building!

5 comments on “Destination: Benin, W. Africa, 2014”

  1. I am so excited for you both! I know God has great things in stored for you. You are putting Him first! The rest is in His hands and he will provide. I am so proud of you! Xoxox

  2. I love your courage and vulnerability and your daring character to live and serve fully even with so masmasny unknowns. I’m inspired by your willingness to step into the unknown in faith..even if only a mustard seed. There’s a rawness in your writings that inspire me to look over the edges of my life.

    • Kathy, you are so kind and encouraging! It’s so cool to see how we all have different gifts because what people see as vulnerability in me comes so naturally, but other qualities I have to dig out from my gut.

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