Mercy Ships Update | Serving Others as a Family

When you’re performing a surgery or offering medical services, even 10 seconds of lost power can be devastating.

When you’re performing surgeries on a floating hospital, it’s even more critical that all systems function the way that they should.

That’s where Justin Brunenkant comes in. The electrician will be serving for two years onboard Mercy Ships, along with his wife, Jennifer, and their four children.

For the Brunenkants, having a heart to serve others is ingrained into every part of their lives. Their greatest desire is to offer hope and healing to those in need, and this desire to make a difference in the lives of others has led them to one of their biggest decisions yet.


“I’d actually heard of Mercy Ships a little over 25 years ago,” Justin says. A missionary who volunteered with Mercy Ships had spoken at Justin’s old church, and the idea of serving overseas had always been in the back of his mind. “My mom was always serving our neighbors, and the older I got the more translates into serving others and serving other people,” Justin says. In the meantime, he met and married Jennifer, and also made the switch from full-time ministry to electrical work.

However, he still couldn’t get the idea of mission work out of his mind.

Years later, both Brunenkants still felt called to serve, and rediscovered Mercy Ships. The ship relies on its electrical systems to power not only the ship, but also to run power to onshore clinics. While Justin was initially unsure about the opportunity (he’d only worked in heavy industrial and healthcare), after interviewing with the superintendents, he realized that he could make a difference using his abilities.

What makes the Brunenkant’s mission particularly unique is their entire family will be serving aboard the ship for two years. “We’ve kind of posed it as a ‘this is an adventure God is taking our family on’,” Jennifer says. “Our older kids have already been able to talk with the instructors and see what their class will look like. I’m also hoping to get them involved with serving doing local outreaches.”

Both of the Brunenkants are looking forward to being able to help make a difference in people’s lives. “I’m really looking forward to being involved in full time ministry again,” Justin says. “I’ve lived internationally as a kid so I’m also looking forward to moving around and meeting people from new cultures. It’s addicting to meet new people from new countries.”

Jennifer adds that she’s looking forward to being able to serve as a family. “I homeschool our kids and I really wanted to teach them how to serve God by serving others,” Jennifer says. “Most places want their volunteers to be older, but this is something we’ll do as a family — living out and serving others and teaching our children how to do that.”

Want to learn more about our partnership with Mercy Ships? You can read more here. You can also read more volunteer stories, or give directly to Mercy Ships here.

Molly Powers