Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Important Mission Update

Over the past two years you have partnered with me bringing hope and healing to the world’s forgotten poor. It is through partners like you that I’ve been able to develop relationships with the hurting and the helpless to share the pure love of our Lord Savior. We have helped Radiatou, Mama Theresa, Tani, Modi, Thierno, and so many more patients and crewmembers. Those lives are forever changed and you are apart of that.
My two-year contract is coming to a close and I’ve had some very large decisions to make. Due to my involvement with my National Honors Society, I’ve been given a large grant to finish my degree. I have a year left in Operations Management. After many discussions with leadership in Mercy Ships I have decided to take a year to finish my education. By finishing my education, I will be able to come back to Mercy Ships and offer even more skills to help this mission succeed. There is a large need for this type of expertise within this organization and it is difficult to find qualified personnel who are willing to volunteer. An operation like Mercy Ships not only has a functioning hospital, but a fully operating village and community. They constantly need to conduct operations away from the ship to help spread the word for surgery and educate locals in a variety of topics.
Upon my return to Mercy Ships, these are the types of operations I will be in involved in. By taking a year to finish my education, I am also allowing myself some time to fundraise for my next two-year commitment length. It has been difficult to stay in service due to a lack of finances coming in and by taking a year to reevaluate and fundraise I am praying I will be able to return to Mercy Ships fully funded. Over the past few months I have been increasingly short of my monthly goal – the last two months I have been short $700 a month. If you would like to give to help cover my last expenses my account through Mercy Ships will be open until August 10, 2013. After this time, Mercy Ships will deactivate my account until closer to my return date.
I will be carrying a very heavy school workload to be able to return to Mercy Ships in a year. While my education costs are covered my basic living expenses are not and I will try to find part time work to fit into my heavy schedule to help fund living stateside for a year.
Also, during this time it is my goal to raise $30,000 for serving another two-year commitment with Mercy Ships. The cost of serving with Mercy Ships has increased do to economical reasons and also I’ve added the cost of shipping my food to Africa. I am so thankful for your support throughout the past years and ask if you would prayerfully consider continuing to partner with me for my life long commitment to serve the Lord.

Sincerely yours,

Nicole Pribbernow

Friday, May 10, 2013

Remembering Radia!

Do you remember Radia – one of my patients from Togo? If not – here are the links to previous blog posts of how this wonderful young girl touched my heart and became a forever friend. 

 Meet Radia

The Best Experience of My Life!

With the help of some donors, last year I was able to pay for Radia’s tailor training. When asked what she wanted to do for a living, she proudly stated she wanted to be a tailor. At 14 (we think, keeping track of age is difficult here), Radiatou had never been to school because of the large tumor that was growing on her face. Since traditional school was out of the picture, we surrounded Radia with the chance of a life time. A skill that will always be needed and could always help provide for her. 

The tailor training is rigid and 3 years long but I’ve been getting regular updates from my day worker Emilie. Radia has been hard at work trying to prove her abilities. Over Christmas, I sent the last installment of the funds for her schooling with a little extra money for some fabric. In return and to thank me, Radia made me two outfits and had them shipped to me in Conakry. 

I was a little nervous when Emilie said they were pink and purple – not traditionally the best colors for a red head! However, when I received the two outfits I was amazed at how well they are made and fit. I’ve lost some weight so they guessed the difference in size. The only thing that needs adjusting is the skirt (it’s being held up with binder clips in the photo below).

Thank you everyone who supported Radia! I can’t thank you enough! Your support goes farther than you could ever imagine!

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Please Pray for us

For the past 9 months, my AFM colleagues and I have been pushing the boundaries of healthy workloads giving 200% to everything we do to serve the people of Guinea. We’ve woken up early day in and day out – we’ve work past the sun setting many nights – we’ve set aside personal time to then go to other ministries on the weekend and in the evenings. For 9 months we’ve been running an incredible race that can only have happened with God’s strength and stamina.

Now, with a month left, the weary and tired crew are still running strong; pushing through the barrier of exhaustion to reach every single person we are intended to help. It’s difficult, it’s exhausting, and it takes grace, strength and perseverance. Lord, You are our strong tower and all that we need.

Please pray with me today for the crew who have worked their absolute hardest and have accomplished so much here in Guinea. Lord, please wipe away the weariness, take away the burden, build us up with Your strength, cover us with Your peace and fill us with Your grace.

Monday, March 25, 2013

He was there...and He Understood

Have you ever taken a moment to truly consider how great our God is - and who He truly is - and what He does for us every second of every moment of our lives?

This past week was a disaster for me. I was down and out with a major flu virus. On top of that I had a tooth abscess the day I got sick. I found myself in my room, unable to move without being sick and tooth pain like you wouldn't believe for several days. I had a lot of time to think. My mind wandered into my past. So many painful moments that don't even compare to the pain of an abscessed tooth. The Dentist asked me today how the weekend was (I had my tooth pulled on Friday) and I simply said, "good." Yes, my mouth hurt and yes I was still wavering from my week long sickness but as I pondered my life I simply am able to say, it wasn't so bad.

As I thought about my past broken bones, surgeries, car accidents, kidney stones, and more physical pains (not to include the emotional pains) all I could think about is how lucky I am have a God who is all knowing. To have a God who is all seeing means that every single moment He knows and understands what I am going through. I was giving someone of my testimony the other week and the person said, "wow, you've had a rough life." I simple shake my head because I have the all encompassing reassurance that my God has never left my side through it all. Many of those moments were hard in the moment and hinds sight is always 20/20 but last week in the midst of a really rough week I found myself truly resting in the strong tower of my Savior. I reached that point of giving it all up to Him - the master of the universe - and just resting in Him.

Yesterday was Palm Sunday. I sat in Church as we praised our Hosanna. As I walked to my room thinking about Easter it hit my like a ton of bricks. I have a Abba God who knows and understands everything I've been through and who has never left my side no matter the murky waters I've traversed.

I have had a rough past but that is nothing compared to what my Savior experienced on the day He was welcomed into the city as the people welcomed their Hosanna. I can't imagine walking through the crowd knowing what was to come. Knowing that a few days later these same people would be yelling, "Crucify Him!"

I have never been beaten like He has, I never been betrayed like He has, I have never been crucified but He has. I can say that I daily pick up my cross but now, in retrospect I feel like saying "How dare I say such a thing?" Who am I to say that I've walked the path he was made to walk. A path he was made to walk to save ME from MY sin.

I can now safely say my pain in nothing in comparison. I can now say that I was never alone in my moments of pain, He was there...and He understood.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

CBS 60 Minutes and Mercy Ships!

The time has come! If you remember last May we hosted 60 minutes film crew,  producers, and Scott Pelly on the ship.

They filmed over 1800 minutes and had to dwindle it down to only 12 minutes that will be airing.

However, you never know who you will see in the background! Since I helped host this team, keep an eye out for me!

Also keep an eye out for a land rover driving in a scenic and wooded area - that's me! We had to take that shoot several times but in the end it will all be worth it.

February 17th, the hour-long program begins at 7 pm Eastern & Pacific Time and 6 pm Central Time on your local CBS Station

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Advent: Joy

Joy: a simple word for a complex emotion. What is joy? We know that joy is an emotion that we feel but is there a difference between joy and happiness?

The word happiness comes from the root word, happen/hap. “Hap” means chance or fate. Happiness is merely what comes to a person by chance or in reflection to something that happened.

Joy, however, is a source of true delight. It lies under all emotions no matter what happens to a person. Joy comes from one source and one source only: our Heavenly Father. This world is corrupted but His love and His joy is pure and untainted.

The second week of Advent is focused on Joy. We talk about the joyful season of Christmas and we sing our songs. Let’s pause to take a look at the lyrics for this week’s carol.

Joy to the world, the Lord is come!
Let earth receive her King;
Let every heart prepare Him room,
And Heaven and nature sing,
And Heaven and nature sing,
And Heaven, and Heaven, and nature sing.

Our joy is arriving because the Lord is coming. While we focus this holiday on the little baby that is born, our joy and hope are so much bigger than this one moment in history. Yes, a baby is born but where our real joy lies is in who that baby was and what He did. He is our Savior, His coming has been foretold for ages throughout the Old Testament, and the moment of His arrival has finally come. Take a moment to reflect the emotion from going to hopeless to filled with pure untainted joy because your Savior has arrived.

No more let sins and sorrows grow,
Nor thorns infest the ground;
He comes to make His blessings flow
Far as the curse is found,
Far as the curse is found,
Far as, far as, the curse is found.

This song is about eternity, and what it will be like now that Jesus had been born. It is genuinely the essence of joy: try to imagine a world without sin. It is difficult to conceive but that is what Jesus’ coming promised. Have you prepared room in your heart for Him? Have you allowed His joy to fully and completely overtake your soul? He has come to make His blessings flow and no matter what this corrupt world brings, we have an underlying joy that can’t be tainted. No one can take that away from us. That is something to rejoice about! No matter where you are right now, Jesus meets you there and lifts you up with His truth, grace, and His unblemished joy.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012


Recently I was asked by someone what the advent season was – and to be honest, I didn’t quite know how to respond to her. I know that I love it and I know that it is in preparation for Christmas.

What is Advent? Advent is a season of expectation and preparation. The Lord is coming and we are yearning for his arrival that will change the world. The term literally means “coming” and was used in the preparation for the coming of a great person or a king. Advent gives us a month to fully prepare our hearts and our minds for the coming of our saving King.

The first advent’s focus is on hope. A couple weeks ago I touched on the epidemic that is sweeping across the world: the epidemic of hopelessness.

Hopelessness is a condition that eats away at the soul of man and rips him apart from the God who sent His son to save him. For hopelessness is the loss of future, the loss of present, and the collapse to self-centered torment. Many put on the mask of survival only to have the undercurrent of hopelessness eroding who they are and who they were meant to be in Christ.

There is hope. Advent is the season of hope. Our savior is coming. The cure for this epidemic is simple because it only takes a flicker of hope to set the contagious flames afire in our souls. The flames that will heal the damage of the dark hopelessness.

Hopeless people are everywhere. I wouldn’t be surprised if the person sitting next to you on Sunday morning was infected. It’s the weight of the fallen world and Satan’s tool of separation. This isn’t a new thing. Hopelessness has been around forever. Before the arrival of Jesus, the chosen people cried out for that hope, that saving Grace called Emmanuel. We sing the song every year – have you ever focused on the lyrics?

O come, O come Emmanuel and ransom captive Israel that mourns in lonely exile here until the Son of God appear.

Wow, the power of these words shakes me to the core. I can image the people of Israel, on their knees begging for help. They cry out to their God who they have faith is there but they are captive. Imagine the hopelessness of being captive and exiled and having the loss of present and future. Israel is begging God to pay their ransom, to free them because they mourn deeply in being exiled.

Their only hope is the Son of God’s birth. Their only hope is a prophecy of the coming King. So with hope they rejoice knowing that one day, Emmanuel will come and will save them but when that will be no one knew.  

God heard their cry, He knew their pain and He listened. Even though He knew the fate of His son would be torment and death, He was willing to sacrifice Jesus, to pay that ransom and to save His people…to save me. This is the season of hope. For God paid it all and the flicker of hope is ignited in the birth of his Son, Jesus.

Today, if you find yourself in a hopeless situation know that this advent marks the coming of the King. We have hope in Christ and he is coming! Rejoice! Hope is coming!

This month, I pray that everyone can help spread hope to all who suffer from this epidemic. For there is hope and it can be freely given to all who need it, reach out and help bring life back to the world’s hopeless and helpless.

O come, O come, Emmanuel,
And ransom captive Israel,
That mourns in lonely exile here
Until the Son of God appear.

Rejoice! Rejoice!
Emmanuel shall come to thee, O Israel.