life overseas

Travel Lesson

A Travel Lesson: How To Be Ruined Gracefully

travel lesson #1: Travelling ruins many. I suspect I was ruined before I started, and travelling has made it worse.¬†Mercy Ships was not to blame. It was a trip to Spain during sophomore year of college that set off the craving. However, Mercy Ships has been the vehicle, literally and figuratively, to carry me farther […] Read more…

Inspiration at work on the Africa Mercy, Mercy Ships

Inspiration at Work in the Africa Mercy Community

working with real people Some people are never happy. They are always looking for the next “big thing”. The next job or house will make them feel like they’ve made it. Or they’re constantly hiding. They are always trying to cover up their mistakes, defend their actions and poor decisions even when they know where […] Read more…

Round Up Post including depression while travelling and global health

What Caught My Attention in April

I look at the calendar every day and wonder how it can really be mid-May, because it doesn’t feel like it! Here in Madagascar, the seasons are changing and we are approaching winter. It’s gotten cooler and the past few days have let down buckets of rain and lots of cloud cover. Cyclone season just […] Read more…

How to Survive a depressing Christmas; Provocativejoy.com; life overseas; depression

5 Ways To Survive a Depressing Christmas

There is something special about the Christmas season, even prior to Christmas Day. There is anticipation and excitement. There can also be a building feeling of dread. As Christmas traditions trigger memories of years past, it gets increasingly difficult when you know something is missing, like your family, or the ones you really want to […] Read more…

8 Days of Ocean

It has been hard to keep current. Internet is so slow. Sometimes it’s impossible to access Facebook, Gmail, really anything besides my Mercy Ships email. So my thoughts have been piling up inside. Luckily, I think 3/4 of the ship is sleeping right now, so the world wide web isn’t as clogged up as it […] Read more…

Plans Change. God’s Call Remains

It’s all so ironic. “Irony: a state of affairs or an event that seems deliberately contrary to what one expects and is often amusing as a result.” And it’s definitely amusing. Ruben felt the nudge, or maybe a push, last summer to do something more significant with his life. He knew God was asking for […] Read more…

Ship Life

Today marks a week since we arrived in the Canary Islands. It is just the weirdest life we are living! We have entered into a completely different world. A different dimension where most meetings start with worship, and my peers come from all over the world. I’m loving all of it, but I’m still surprised […] Read more…

Accepted to Mercy Ships and excited to serve in Benin, West Africa.

Destination: Benin, W. Africa, 2014

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 […] Read more…

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