My name is Emily West, I’m a Registered Nurse, and I have had the opportunity to serve with YWAM Ships Kona as both a nurse on our ship as well as the Medical Coordinator. 

From the moment I became a nurse, I knew that I wanted to use nursing for medical missions. I knew that where I came from there were plenty of nurses and doctors, and that there were places in the world that had very few medical professionals. However, when I first thought about giving my life to mercy ministry, I really didn’t know the fullness of what God had in store.

When my husband and I joined YWAM Ships Kona, we started with our Discipleship Training School. In the middle of the school, I can remember one day specifically standing before a map and  looking at all the countries. I had always seen the large and more obvious continents and land masses, but in that moment I looked a little bit closer. For the first time I realized that there were all these little bitty islands scattered all over the map. I had never seen them or noticed them. I had in fact forgotten them.

From that moment forward I understood how important it was that we actually go into these isolated regions. I knew I was going for the sake of mercy ministries, but in the midst of that I knew that I also wanted to bring the message that they are not forgotten. And not just not forgotten by me, but that they are not forgotten by God.

When we came aboard the ship for the first time, I remember we were on this one island called Vitu in Papua New Guinea. It was one of the largest outreaches we’ve ever had with YWAM Ships, as people were coming from everywhere to receive medical care. I was talking to one of the locals there and they told me that this was the first time they had seen aid come from a medical or cargo ship in over fifteen years. In that moment I realized that us coming and bringing this care and aid was actually showing them that they were not forgotten by God.

That was an experience I will never forget, being there and doing mercy ministry that I knew I was called to do from the beginning, but actually knowing that on top of that it was more than just mercy ministry. It was more than just meeting a physical need, it was also going and meeting a spiritual need. In each and every physical need that we met, it was also an act of mercy from God, showing these people that they were not forgotten by him. It really was an amazing time

I’ll never forget the moment when we started to sail away from this one specific island and we suddenly heard cheering from the shoreline. We looked over and they had lit a light on the beach. We began to shine our lights back, and cheer back to them. As this happened, we saw that all the way throughout the island, and up into the mountains, lights started going off everywhere! Whether it be small fires or lights powered by generators, they were using the little bit of energy they had to say thank you. As the lights lit up across the island, we were able to see that they understood that they were seen by God.

I have known my whole life that God sees me, so to know that there are people groups around the world that need this message, and that I have hands and feet that can bring it? Yea, that’s all I want to do. YWAM Ships Kona is an avenue to bring this message, to show isolated people groups that we serve a God who would never forget them, from their physical needs to their spiritual needs. This is why I do what I do.

Emily West

Click here to watch the full video testimony:

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