Humanitarian Work: From One Transformed Life to Another
Renee’s story is one of a community mobilized and committed to making a difference in the world.
Light of Hope’s congregation in the Pickering area of southern Ontario pledged to financially support Mercy Ships Canada nearly 30 years ago. One of the founding pastors of the congregation had an interest in the maritime field after her father invented a mechanism for lifeboats and she introduced her congregation to the work of Mercy Ships.
The congregation visited the organization’s first vessel when it visited a port in Ontario. Renee was only eight years old at the time, but she still remembers how it felt to go on board
the Anastasis and this memory has remained dear to her heart. In addition to this memory, Renee has harboured a desire to work in the field of humanitarian aid but has been waiting for the right time to take the first step.
In 2021, Renee finally set about returning to Mercy Ships, this time to offer time and energy as a volunteer. While she reflected if her choice was the right one, her congregation’s prayers accompanied her in this reflection. Despite the small size of this congregation, they were able to raise funds to get her started on her dream to serve with Mercy Ships. She quit her job, moved out of her apartment and sold her car. Renee boarded the Africa Mercy in March 2022. She has signed on as a receptionist for six months while the ship is docked in Senegal.
She is finding ways to connect with her new community, and she shares that “at mealtimes, I ask to join tables where people are sitting alone and this allows me to meet people from all professions and from all over the world! What a great privilege. ”
Renee keeps her congregation in Ontario updated about her time on board through her blog. Her help in carrying out Mercy Ships’ mission of hope and healing in Africa is now an inspiration to other members of the congregation who are wondering how their skills and competencies can be combined with action to be a blessing in this world.