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  • Raeanne Newquist

2 Years of Yes

Dr. Sarah Kwok, Chief Anesthesiologist, and my dear friend

When we signed up to serve with Mercy Ships, I told the kids that this was going to be 2 years of saying yes! "Want to drive 8 hours to see a waterfall?" YES "Want to try new foods?" YES "Do you want to learn a new language?" YES Whatever opportunities come our way or whatever is offered to us, I'm encouraging us all to say "yes"!

It is similar to a little bet I had with my roommates many years ago when I worked at E! Entertainment Television. The bet was to see how many times I could get on TV! Which meant anytime a network-wide e-mail went out asking for someone to tap dance on Talk Soup or someone to do voice over work or act like a maniac chopping celery for a cooking segment - I said YES! Sometimes I'd be quick to say YES and then when the time came to perform I'd ask myself, "what were you thinking?"!

A month ago I received an e-mail asking if I was interested in leading a devotional for our OR team down in the hospital. Being 2 years of yes, I said YES. Then the night before the devotional I thought, "what were you thinking?"! What in the world do I have to offer these highly accomplished medical professionals? What could I say to men and women who are about to spend the bulk of their day in surgery seeing things I'm not sure the human mind has the capacity to comprehend or process. Maybe this should have been one time to say NO!

As I made my way down to the OR on deck 3 at 7:20am I felt more nervous than usual. You see, when you live and work on a hospital ship, you can' t help but feel a little "less than" when your main role is hanging out with your kids after school and coordinating photographers and writers while your kids are in school. Meanwhile, these folks are down on the front lines performing feats that are nothing short of miraculous. I see all of the medical photos that come in, the "before" shots of the patients, and some of the issues our surgeons are tackling are unbelievable. Now to stand before them, expected to say something that might encourage or inspire them, made me wish this was the season of "no thank you." I put on the paper gown, shower cap hat and booties you wear when viewing new homes, and I sat down in the hallway of the OR waiting for the doctors and nurses to arrive.

They started to come in, wearing their matching blue scrubs, bringing with them a gentle spirit of humility. And that dang lump camp into my throat once again. Shoot! I did not want to start crying in front of these people! We sang a few songs and then it was my turn to get up and share.

I stood where I could see everyone and certainly as I began, the tears came. "It is an honor for me to share with you this morning. I feel like I'm standing on holy ground," I began with. And it was true. I felt as though I were in the presence of Jesus. There was a sacred sweetness in this hallway, a nice aroma of grace, and a sense of peace that I haven't felt anywhere else on the ship up to this point.

I began to tell them that they were completely loved and enough in this very moment, before they've even performed one surgery. God's love for them was complete and unconditional and something they could never add to or take away from. God's love for us is not contingent on our career, resume, or achievements. Before you took even one breath, you were already completely loved by the God of the Universe.

We would never dream of telling our patients that once their tumor is removed, then they will be loved. Once their legs are straightened, then they will be accepted. When their burn contractures are removed, then they will be of value. It's unimaginable to think such things. I see our doctors and nurses look into the eyes of patients everyday, some grossly disfigured, and tell them that they are seen and loved. How much more does our Father in heaven say the same to us? With all of your faults and failures, you are completely accepted. In this moment, you are loved. You are enough.

I will say YES and amen to that.

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Kendall Cardenas

Absolutely beautiful!

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