A New Kind of Love Boat

Was this your first mission trip?
“No. I have been involved in missions work quite a while. About 13 years ago, my parents took six of us kids to Hawaii to do similar work. They didn’t go on the outreach phase because some of us were too young. When I returned to Colorado I became involved in Kings Kids, which was a performing arts team. We traveled around the U.S. performing dramas and sharing the gospel.”
How was this different?
“This was my first trip to another country. I have never been outside of the United States before and it really opened my eyes. Not just towards missions but towards all the needs that are out there. The people with their different language and the way they live greatly impacted me. There is a huge world out there and I never really grasped that before.”
How were you motivated to go on this trip?
“I am 27 and the training is intense and takes a certain level of maturity. I went to nursing school and found a job right away, at the age of 23 and was living a steady lifestyle. But this year I was ready to go. I was
hungry to learn more about God and head to another country and give of myself. I knew that God blesses those who are obedient to Him. I heard that small voice calling me.”

What were the first steps you took in order to get started on this trip?
“A lot of prayer. I needed to raise my own support for this so I sold my car. I had some money set aside from working. I sent out support letters letting all my friends (Christian and non-Christian) know what I wanted to do. A lot of people partnered with. Many people gave their support financially as well as encouragement and prayers. Even the
non-Christian friends were supportive.”
Did you stay the entire time on the ship?
“The entire trip was five months. We stayed in a hotel for three months.
The ship came in after two months once the entire crew was assembled. Even
though the ship was originally scheduled to be there the whole time, I’m
glad it didn’t arrive until two months into it. This allowed us to get
plugged into the culture more. The ship stayed in Honduras the entire time
we were there. They had vans we could use to go to outreach locations.
Life on the ship was pretty cool. It was kind of like a small U.S.; if you
didn’t want to leave, you didn’t have to and everything you needed was there
on the ship. It had a large kitchen serving buffet-style meals. It was
docked along the shore and on the dock they had a pool they built and eye
clinic where I helped out. Every profession imaginable was represented,
from all kinds of backgrounds. In order to be there, each person had to
raise his or her own money.
Was that disappointing that the ship stayed in one location?
“At first. Then when I saw all the needs that people had, my perspective
changed, so not staying on the ship became insignificant.”
Were there any families on the ship?
“Yes. There were about eight families and they had a school onboard with a
full time teacher.”
Talk about your first stop. What did you first see when you arrived in Honduras?
“A lot of exhaust coming from vehicles because everything ran on diesel.
Sometimes you would rather smell that then the body odor. Many of the
rivers are sewage so that smelled too. There was a lot of trash on the side
of the road. On the way to the hotel from the airport there were young
boys with donkeys pulling karts with items to sell. There were a lot of
stray, malnourished dogs running around. There were bums on the side of the
road begging for help. Some were injured by machete accidents and others
had various diseases and deformities. Many looked like they were near
death. There was dust everywhere because of the dirt roads. Some positive sites were the beautiful, lush and green mountainous terrain and the amiable
“When you read brochures about the Caribbean you see white beaches and
beautiful oceans. I thought that was how it was going to be. But this is a
third world country. They have a lot of raw sewage that pours into the
ocean. The ocean was brown and green and was very murky, and was so still
you never saw any waves.
What about El Salvador?
“When visiting El Salvador we stayed in the city and with all the malls it
was very “North Americanized”. There were some really rich areas and right
next to it were poor areas where people lived in huts. There was no middle class.”
What about Guatemala?
“There were a lot of Indians with colorful clothes. You could tell what kind of tribe they were from by the color they wore. It was rich with culture. “All three countries put their pastors on a pedestal. I had to wear earplugs to the different church services. They were very loud trying to compete for who was the loudest. Everybody plays guitar down there so the music was very good.”
What was the music like?
“The music at Christian churches we visited sounded like Maranatha music. They were shouting to the Lord and clapping loudly. In the Catholic churches it was very formal but still loud. They are very enthusiastic about there worship, so it was very encouraging.”
In what ways did you see yourself impacting others?
“I received an e-mail from a guy who is a full-time volunteer aboard the ship. He was with us throughout our trip. He recently met with the pastor in Guatemala whose home we stayed. The pastor said he has seen many changes in the community since we were there. One man, with whom we were disciplining, gave his life over to Christ and is going to church regularly.
Among other projects, we painted over a gratified wall on the main street soccer court. We wrote the scripture (in Spanish), “You shall know the truth and the truth shall set you free,” John 8:32. We painted a picture of chains that were broken. Many people in the community helped. Well, the pastor said the other day, some men came to graffiti over what we had done. But some other men came up and said, “That wall is in memory of the group that stayed here!” Then they forcefully ran them out of the area.”
In what ways did you see the Lord at work?
“We reached out to the families by going door to door and doing laundry or childcare and fixing their homes. A woman in a village needed a title in order for her church to be able to make repairs on her home since her husband left she and her kids. It seemed impossible with the language
barriers as well as needing the money for the title. I returned to the ship and told everyone of her need and they gave money, clothes, toys and then someone from the ship who spoke the language came along to get the title for her. The Lord was there through the entire process. Then it just happened and that was the Lord.”
“There were several open basketball courts around where the locals played “poppy” soccer. We would get together for worship time and prayer for the community. People from drug dealers and prostitutes to grandparents and children gathered around even when it was dark and the services were in English! They wanted to know about Jesus. God’s hand was definitely in that.”
What would your recommendations be for those considering a Mercy Ship mission?
“Find the plans that God has for you first. Pray about it and get counsel from mature Christians who have gone before you. Lay down your expectations before going.”
Anything you would like to add?
“It’s amazing how you never know what kind of an impact you will have on people. It’s encouraging to hear follow-up stories from people who witness first hand the impact we had through Christ. But I guess we’ll never really know the full impact our lives had on people until we get to Heaven. As
long as God knows, then that’s all that matters.”
For more information about Mercy ships, check out their web site at


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