Where our stories come to life

Fall 2023

Heroes from Majuro

There are big things happening at Canvasback and I am so glad that you will get to hear about all of it in this OnBoard magazine! Our Gynecology and Orthopedics Super Teams have been unwavering in their commitment to the people of the Marshall Islands. Their dedication to healing and restoring lives is truly remarkable. Every patient’s journey has its share of challenges, but the resilience of our patients and our Super Teams is a constant source of inspiration.

Speaking of challenges; in mission work, change is always inevitable, and our Wellness Center has recently seen a change in leadership. We hate to see them go but as Tanner and Kristin set sail for new horizons, we express our deepest gratitude for their years of dedication.

Their legacy will forever be part of Canvasback’s mission. And as our new directors Rick and Lauren, come aboard; we welcome them with open hearts and eager anticipation. Together, we’ll chart a course toward greater wellness for the island nations!

It is such a blessing to see God’s unfolding plan in the islands and am grateful for you, our donors, volunteers and staff whose dedication have made this 43- year work possible. Together, your partnership with Canvasback has helped to bring much hope and healing to so many people. Let’s keep moving forward, creating ripples of change, one life at a time.

OnBoard Fall 2023-web-1


Championing Women's Health

Our Healthcare Heroes

A Journey of Healing and Faith

Cover OnBoard Summer 2022

FALL 2022

President's Message - Jamie Spence

What a year 2022 has been. I’m guessing you’d expect a sailing analogy from an old sea captain like me to describe Canvasback’s adventures for the year, wouldn’t you? Well, I won’t disappoint. It certainly has not all been smooth sailing. When we set sail in the beginning of the year, we were hit with powerful gales that forced us to seek anchorage for a while till the storms passed. When the skies cleared, we heaved anchor, trimmed the sails, and began mission work once again—taking greatly needed Super Teams to Micronesia, providing FREE surgeries, and many other needed procedures.

Rest assured that even though over our 40+ years of service, Canvasback has encountered some very rough seas that threatened to take us down, we have always known and understood that there is an unseen Captain who stands at the helm of this ship, continuing to protect and bless us regardless of the storms we encounter.

Because of your support, there are many exciting accomplishments in the pages of this OnBoard. You will read about the work of our Wellness Center operating from the atoll of Majuro. Their hard labor more than took up any slack in the work while our Super Teams were in port.

Speaking of our Canvasback Super Teams, don’t miss the story. The Gastroenterology Super Team, led by Doctors Kam and Yoshinaka, recently returned from Palau where they provided lifesaving treatment for many patients. Not only that, but they trained and equipped the local staff to continue providing procedures for years to come—a big plus for the people they serve.

May you have fair winds and following seas.

You can read our Articles online too.


Author: Jamie Spence

What a year it has been! Your life—my life—we have all been impacted in major ways by COVID and its terrible spin-offs. Has it hurt Canvasback? Yes, it has! But overcoming seemingly impossible challenges isn’t new to this 40+ year-old ministry. From our very beginning, people told us that attempting to build the world’s largest sailing catamaran as a medical ship was “just a folly of kids playing with boats.” Well, you know how that turned out.

With God at the helm and you as the world’s greatest crew, anything is possible! That’s what this issue of OnBoard is all about: the tremendous victories, the healings, and the changed lives obtained for the people of Micronesia— despite adversity.

Even our cover speaks of overcoming—teaching a young gardener how to enjoy the soil. I urge you to read every page of this issue, because each article is really a praise to God for overcoming a year of problems. With your help and prayers, we continued to provide blessings.

An example is your response to the need of an eye treatment called Avastin. It will literally restore sight to the blind. Yes, restore eyesight! The hospital in Majuro asked us for help to afford the cost and with your generosity, help is on the way.

Again, with your help, we are in the process of producing a Steps to Jesus book for distribution to the islands. Just like Jesus, we heal and then share the gospel.

Space will not permit me to write much more at this time, but check out the stories in this OnBoard about the tremendous strides that have been made with our Wellness Center, the almost $2 million value of services provided, and a special offer for you regarding my new book A Bird Told Me.

Thank you again for doing so much to change so many lives!

You can read our Articles online too.

Overcoming Daunting Odds!        What's Up at Wellness?       Causing The Blind To See      Books, Books, & More Books  

FALL 2020

Messages From Wellness Center

Comments from Tanner Smith, Co-director

Imagine you are speeding down the road as fast as you can go but unknowingly, you are heading straight for a cliff. At what point would you want someone to warn you? When would you want to start slowing down or changing directions? Early on right? Not just before you leap off!

At the Canvasback Wellness Center, we take the same approach to health. We warn people well before they reach that cliff. In the case of the Marshall Islands, that cliff is diabetes. Each year we see more and more people become diabetic. This is why we are focusing on an “early warning” approach.

Read more about it, download the magazine.

Onboard Fall 2020



Author: Jamie Spence

Few people ever get to travel to the Micronesian Islands. Even fewer see the remote atolls with their many tiny islands that don’t even appear on most maps. In the early days of Canvasback, we built our sailing catamaran to meet the people of those islands and bring medical care unlike anything they had seen before. It’s been years since I’ve been back to the outer-islands, but I think about them often. I know the salt breeze full of the smell of ripe breadfruit, but what I remember most are the smiles of the people we helped, children and mothers with babies in their arms, as they waved to us from the beaches. And I remember watching the dedication of our volunteers as they worked tirelessly under the unforgiving tropical sun.

In this edition of OnBoard, you’ll see the legacy of that work continued. Our volunteers work as hard as ever and leave smiles wherever they go. And I’m glad to say, our Wellness Center staff has returned to the outer-islands with a message of health. These are very special stories and I am so grateful to all the volunteers and donors who have made them possible!




In the mission field, every opportunity brings new challenges. This year was no exception, but with the help of our incredible Super Teams, support from people like you, and God’s guidance we were able to do work that we’ve never done before. With your help, we changed lives! In the following pages, you will see the amazing accomplishments of 2019. Read more about them by following the links below.

Dental Team on Pohnpei

Ophthalmology on Ebeye and Majuro Islands

Colonoscopy on Ebeye

Gynecology on Palau

Orthopedic on Palau



This special edition of our OnBoard Magazine is going to tell you some of the stories of our work and give you a broader look at what Canvasback has been called to do. You might be a long-time supporter of the mission or this might be the first time you have heard about us. If you are already a partner in Canvasback's work, I just want to say thank you for your dedication to the people of Micronesia. If you haven't been a part of the mission, we would love to work with you. Either way, I hope they make you feel a little bit of the warmth and joy we have been lucky to find in Micronesia.

Onboard Special Edition Cover