- Raeanne Newquist
It's All Her Fault
About 14 years ago God brought twin sisters into our lives, an no, I don't mean our twin sisters (who are only 13)! Beth and Kate Kirchner were Pepperdine students attending a retreat that Roger and I were speaking at, and we met them as they came up to receive communion one night. I was then newly pregnant with our twins and everything about these sisters intrigued me! God would cross our paths several times in the years to come until finally we decided that we were all meant to be dear friends! And that is exactly what has happened. Beth and Kate are dear friends of our family and are most beloved by my twin daughters, Emma and Georgia.
3 years ago Beth decided to go serve as the kindergarten teacher on board the Africa Mercy. She invited us to support her financially as Mercy Ships has a unique business model where all the volunteers pay to work on the ship. The captain, the doctors, nurses, teachers, chaplains... no one receives a paycheck, but instead they all raise support to fully pay their way to serve on the ship.
We had never heard about Mercy Ships, but through watching Beth's journey we began to learn. We were amazed by this incredible ministry and joked that it would be awesome to do something like that one day. But we're not doctors. We're not teachers. We have 3 kids. I've never been on a cruise for a reason! And Roger is rather conservative and safe, I doubt he'd ever take his kids to live on a ship in Africa! That would be crazy!
Beth served for one year and then came back to the states to be with family and teach back at a traditional school. But the year quickly passed and she once again longed to be back on board the Africa Mercy, teaching and serving. So Beth signed on for 2 more years and returned last year to Guinea.
At that same time, Roger discovered that Mercy Ships was hiring a chaplain in 2019.
I thought it was such a long shot, both for Mercy Ships to hire us and for my husband to actually do something like that! But I encouraged him to apply - why not?! As we completed the application process, talking about the possibility of going was almost a joke. This was just too far out of the realm of possibility. A few months passed and as more questions arose in our minds, I needed to talk to Beth and let her know we were applying. Well, once Beth heard Roger applied for the chaplain position, she began to pray. And her on board community began to pray. And her family began to pray. And her community back in the states began to pray...
The deeper we got into the process, the more and more our hearts began to beat for this ministry. With each interview we had, we cried over how incredible these people serving are and were overwhelmed at the possibility to be counted as one of them. It came down to the cabin. It seemed that Mercy Ships wanted to hire Roger and bring our family on board, but housing a family of 5 on a ship isn't easy. There are family cabins, but they are few and far between and when they are open, they become a hot commodity! So we prayed. And our family prayed. And our community prayed. And Beth and all her warriors prayed. We knew that if this was what God was calling our family to, He would make a way.
We got the cabin! We're moving to Africa with our 3 kids, neither of us doctors or teachers, me never having been on a ship and Roger still very conservative and safe!
And it's all Beth's fault.
If Beth hadn't answered God's call to go, she would have had no reason to ask us to support her. If she hadn't asked us to support her, we never would have heard of Mercy Ships. If we hadn't heard of Mercy Ships, we wouldn't be moving to Africa in a few months! It's all her fault. Because she said yes to God, our lives are forever changed.
We have to raise about $110,000.00 for our family of 5 to serve for our 2 year commitment. This covers all of our ministry expenses including travel to and from the ship, training, insurance, immunizations, the children's school tuition, our lodging, meals and more.
This has been the hardest part of saying yes to this opportunity - asking people to financially support us. But we know that financial support is about much more than the money. Financial support is an avenue through which God can radically change lives. And not just those in west Africa!
We are inviting you to pray about financially supporting our family and being open to how God might radically change your life through your gift!
To support us, go to the address below