Shae, Chris, Araina & Amayah

Shae-Lynne Attwater, resident of Regina, Saskatchewan and an elementary school teacher, never thought she would one day live on a ship with her husband and their two daughters. Her husband Chris had heard about Mercy Ships and was convinced that one day he would serve aboard. For Shae, it was a journey of several years.

Volunteer Chris Attwater

She now sees that little by little, she was preparing for that big departure. This two-year commitment to serve on the Africa Mercy is not just a change of address, but the adoption of a new lifestyle. Living aboard with her husband and children is a big adjustment, and although Shae had prepared for this change, she is discovering day by day the joys and challenges that this choice brings.

‟We prayed a lot for God to open and close doors so that we would clearly know whether to come or not. He led us here and we are following His calling for our lives. ” Shae said.

For her daughters, she sees it as a rich experience that allows them to see the world differently. Amayah and Araina are fortunate that their extraordinary daily life can build in them a vision of the world marked by mutual aid, fraternity and hope for renewed lives. Despite their young age, the girls’ contribution is important to the mission of Mercy Ships. In a desire to get involved, they participated with the other students on board in the creation of a poster to welcome the first patients to the Hope Center, where all patients arrive. This poster, in French, English and Wolof, bears the handprints of the children on board. A beautiful initiative that brings warmth and humanity to our patients.

In preparation for her own departure, Shae took the time to share the Mercy Ships mission with those around her, but it was not until she was on board that the work of Mercy Ships took on an added dimension. She now realizes that the magnitude of the restoration of patients is not just limited to their health, but to their entire being.

While health problems are often visible, the ills they cause are often invisible: isolation, social exclusion, loss of access to education, and the inability to contribute to the economic and physical security of loved ones. Since coming on board, Shae has seen that these restored lives are more than just physical healing, and is excited about the lasting impact on patients’ lives.

A teacher with more than 20 years of experience, Shae joined the Africa Mercy to teach part-time as well as accompany her daughters in learning about life onboard. Chris has become the principal of the Academy on the Africa Mercy, and Araina and Amayah want to follow in their parents’ footsteps and become teachers.

Would you like to make your mark by becoming a teacher onboard a Mercy Ships ship? Visit https://mercyships.ca/en/get-involved/volunteer/ to find out about opportunities to serve onboard. A unique opportunity for a French teacher is currently open!