Bringing Color to Life Onboard

Renier Marx, from South Africa, first heard about Mercy Ships and our mission of bringing hope and healing to the forgotten poor back in the late 1990s, but it was nearly a decade before he and his family came onboard.

In 2011, Renier received an email from Mercy Ships saying, “We need you.” This request was the start of a wonderful adventure. Renier, his wife Evilin, and their three children joined Mercy Ships as crew and moved onboard the Africa Mercy.

That was nearly a decade ago, but when asked what kept him onboard all these years, Renier jokingly said,

“Once you drink the water for more than two weeks, you’re stuck here!”

The opportunity to apply his passions to meaningful work was a big part of the equation — but most importantly was the fact that he could serve alongside his family. Evilin, an outpatient nurse, and his children, students in the Academy, all had their place to thrive.

“It’s not like a normal 9 to 5 job, where you go to work and don’t see your family for the day, then you come back home, and you’re in family mode,” Reiner said. “Onboard, you can be here with your family, and everyone’s working toward the same goal. It drives us. We’ve all got the same common goal.”

After years of serving onboard the Africa Mercy, Renier was invited to take part in a new challenge with Mercy Ships. Along with his family, Renier has spent the past five years living in a hotel in China to help guide the build of the Global Mercy as a project engineer.

Now, as Chief Electrician onboard the Global Mercy, Renier Marx jokes that his job is amazingly simple — it’s all about keeping the lights on. In reality, Renier’s known as a bit of a one-stop shop onboard our hospital ships. He’s “the guy you ask when you need something,” as another crewmember described.

One of Renier’s favorite parts of being onboard the Global Mercy is the diverse crew from around the world that he gets to meet, saying that diversity onboard a Mercy Ship makes it truly unique:

“We’re so diverse, and everyone comes with their unique skills and experiences. We all bring a little color to the ship.”

Whether you are part of a family like the Marxes or considering volunteering independently, our community has room for everyone to grow and give.

“You can add your own color to the ship. Your talents and skills can make a difference… volunteering is totally life-changing,” Renier shared. “Seeing the transformation of people who have been suffering brings so much joy, knowing that at the end of the day, you can be a part of something so big.”

From electricians to cooks, teachers to housekeeping, nurses to doctors and everything in-between, Mercy Ships has a place for you! Volunteering onboard a Mercy Ship is more than a job, it is a calling that changes lives. If you are ready to Make Your Mark, visit mercyships.org/makeyourmark.