28.3.08

The McLaughlins



Eric and Rachel met in 2003 at the world famous Global Health conference in Louisville, KY (held every November--we HIGHLY recommend it!). They were married in 2005 just in time for the tax deduction. Since then, they have tramped all over this good earth, meeting many wonderful people along the way.  Their personal blog is found here.  Some fun facts below:

Eric
Born: Anchorage, Alaska - 1981
Grew up: mostly Tennessee
Favorite Bible passage: Hebrews 2:8-9 - "Yet at present we do not see everything subject to him. But we see Jesus..."
What he does all day: Family Medicine physician, teacher, language learner, musician, worship leader
Favorite authors: CS Lewis, Frederick Buechner, NT Wright, Thomas Hardy, Tim Keller

Rachel
Born: Cleveland, Ohio - 1979
Grew up: Minnesota, etc
Favorite Bible passage: Rev 21-22 (I am making everything new)
What she does all day: OBGYN, teacher, language learner, supermom, travel agent, list maker
Favorite authors: JK Rowling, Tracy Kidder, Stephen Lawhead, CS Lewis, Andrew Peterson

Maggie
Born: Ann Arbor, MI - 2009
Growing up: Bomet, Kenya, Albertville, France, and Kibuye, Burundi
Favorite Bible passage: story of Jesus dying and coming back to life from the Jesus Storybook Bible
What she does all day: Go to school, play with Abi and Elise, get everyone to read her books
Favorite authors: Arnold Lobel (Frog and Toad et al), Goscinny (Asterix comics)

Ben
Born: Tenwek Hospital, Kenya - 2011
Growing up: Albertville, France and Kibuye, Burundi
Favorite Bible passage:  1 John 4:18 "There is no fear in love"
What he does all day: Legos, play "bad guys" with willing and unwilling playmates, build towers, make "truck soup"
Favorite authors: Richard Scarry, Dr. Seuss

Tobias
Born: Albertville, France - 2013
Growing up: Kibuye, Burundi
Favorite Bible passage: Psalm 4:8 "In peace, I will both lie down and sleep"
What he does all day: climb on things, smile, and be involved in anything his brother and sister are doing
Favorite authors: James Joyce and Fyodor Dostoevsky, though he recently went through a Balzac phase

The Wendlers


LOVE Park in Philadelphia in December 2015
Carlan and Michelle mark the first time the McCropder Team has grown via marriage. Carlan met John when he was 16 years old visiting his sister at college. John later recruited him to the University of Michigan for medical school and Knox Presbyterian Church for worship. He quickly bought in to the team vision and, as soon as he completed residency in 2012, joined everyone else in French language study in Albertville, France. Michelle entered the picture in 2014 when the two met at a missionary conference hosted by their home church in Los Angeles, Grace Community. She was on stage playing the piano and by God's grace sat behind him during a Friday night service. They began talking after the sermon and in July 2015 they were married at that same church. They were approved by Serge for service as a family five months later and now plan on deploying first to France for language study and then Burundi afterwards. Please pray that they would build wonderful and strong relationships with each other's family and friends before leaving California in mid-2016.

Alyssa Pfister

Fun facts about Alyssa:

-She lived on the Mexican border during high school
-She was paralyzed for some long period of time when she was young due to transverse myelitis (but she got better and climbs mountains now).
-Wheaton, then East Tennessee State, then U of Alabama Birmingham
-No fancy foods, please, she'll take the mac n' cheese
-Double board certified in Internal Medicine and Pediatrics
-She became interested in missions during travels in South America
-She was the only one of us to visit Tenwek (in med school) before moving here
-Her place has the coolest kid toys and all the McCropder kids know it

Her own blog can be found here.

The Banks


Logan and Julie are old team friends from our first days in Kenya in 2010.  Logan is a full-scope family doc that will be able to serve on the Adult, Pediatric, and Maternity wards, and also comes with five years of residency teaching experience.  We're delighted that their family is going to come out to Burundi to round out our team. 

Find out more about them at www.TheBanksOffshore.com

The Faders (CK)




Caleb Fader is a water engineer (and younger brother of a certain Kibuye surgeon), and Krista Fader is a nurse practitioner who gets to hang out with a really cool baby named Liam.  They will soon have to change this picture due to imminent arrival of another baby at the end of April, 2016!

The Baskins



Darrell is a retina surgeon and Becky is a super-mom.  They are planning to move to Burundi in 2016 after finishing French language school.  We look forward to welcoming the Baskin Brigade to Kibuye.

The Nimmons


Scott and Lindsay are joining the Serge Kibuye team as teachers for the burgeoning number of team members’ children. In 2003, Lindsay was working as a studio manager for Olan Mills Family Portrait Studio when she was asked to train the new guy (Scott). One year and one day after that training began, Scott and Lindsay married. They have enjoyed living and working in a variety of places, including Shippensburg, PA, Dublin, Ireland, and most recently Williamsburg, VA. Together, they worked on a number of projects, most notably including their own photography business, teaching humanities at both primary and secondary levels, and initiating a program of urban arts outreach. They now anticipate serving together in Kibuye as God expands the reach of the ministry in Burundi. 

Information on supporting the Nimmons can be found by clicking here.

The Watts


The Watts family came to Kibuye via the Serge team in Bujumbura, where George was helping with teaching and academic leadership at Hope Africa University before they were forced to leave due to the ongoing violence (“Fantastic evacuation. 4-stars. Highly recommended”). The peaceful, green, quiet freedom of Kibuye is a dream come true for the kids, and a great fit for the whole family. 
Originally from a small town on the Canadian prairies (where they met in Jr. high) - George & Susan got married, then moved to Kazakstan for a year - teaching english, working with orphanages, & developing children material. They finished undergrad, then moved to France for George’s graduate studies where Jonah was born. Then back to Canada where George was a professor at King’s University and Matea and Micah were born. Then back to France for doctoral studies and skiing, where Alma was born. 

Susan is a mother-of-four extraordinaire, sometimes homeschooling, and always the hostess with the mostest. 
George is working with hospital administration at Kibuye, putting into practice his doctoral studies on resource-constrained environments. 

George
Born: Meadow Lake, Canada (a tiny farming town way up in Northern Saskatchewan)
Likes: travelling, running, skiing, reading & writing
Dislikes: being cold

Susan
Born: Saskatoon, Canada
Likes: good food (making & eating), reading
Dislikes: flying

Jonah
Born: Grenoble, France
Likes: reading, skiing (oops…sorry about that), computer-y things
Dislikes: ketamine

Matea
Born: Edmonton, Canada
Likes: hanging upside down, doing life at top-speed, taking care of the little kids
Dislikes: using her 'inside voice’ 

Micah
Born: Edmonton, Canada
Likes: Lego, Star Wars, Star Wars Lego, tree climbing, hiking, memorizing things
Dislikes: wearing shoes

Alma
Born: Grenoble, France
Likes: saying crazy things, making us laugh, playing in the mud
Dislikes: eating bananas 


Their family blog can be found at: www.pardonourfrench.com

Past Travels and Tales

-Some of Eric's stories from rural Zambia (Mukinge Hospital) as a 4th year medical student in 2005 can be found here.

-From the McLaughlin's September 2007 sojourn in Bangladesh (Malumghat Hospital) as residents, feel free to read about Bangla-Lunch, Outpatient Translational Adventures, and the now-humorous exploits known as Roach Wars. The whole of their blogs from the month can be found here.

-Jason's story post on his Liberia trip in fall 2008 is here.

-John's trip to Nepal with the Himalayan Eye Project in 2009 is here.

Media That Informs Us

A short list of books and movies that at least some of us found enlightening, inspiring, or at least thought-provoking:

Books:

Africa:
Strength in What Remains, by Tracy Kidder (Burundi)
From Bloodshed to Hope in Burundi, by Ambassador Robert Kruger
No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency, by Alexander McCall Smith (Botswana)
What is the What? by Dave Eggers (South Sudan)
A Distant Grief, by F. Kefa Sempangi (Uganda)
Cry the Beloved Country, by Alan Paton (South Africa)
There is No Me Without You, by Melissa Fay Greene
Africa Friends and Money Matters, by David Maranz
The Fate of Africa, by Meredith Martin
Out of the Jaws of the Lion, by Homer Dowdy (Congo)
Into Africa: the Epic Adventures of Stanley and Livingstone, by Martin Dugard

Theology:
Don't Waste your Life, by John Piper
Surprised by Hope, by N.T. Wright
Generous Justice, by Tim Keller
Walking with God Through Pain and Suffering, by Tim Keller
A Sacred Sorrow, by Michael Card
A Praying Life, by Paul Miller
Keeping the Sabbath Wholly, by Marva Dawn
Invitation to Silence and Solitude, by Ruth Haley Barton

Missions:
Eternity in Their Hearts, by Don Richardson
Peace Child, by Don Richardson
Let the Nations Be Glad, by John Piper
Miracle at Tenwek, by Gregg Lewis
Missions and Money, by Jonathan Bonk
Teaching Cross-Culturally, by Judith and Sherwood Lingenfelter
Third Culture Kids, by Pollock and Van Reken
Bruchko, by Bruce Olsen

Medicine/Aid/Development:
The End of Poverty, by Jeffery Sachs
Mountains Beyond Mountains, by Tracy Kidder
Pathologies of Power, by Paul Farmer
The White Man's Burden, by William Easterly
Guns, Germs, and Steel, by Jared Diamond
When Helping Hurts, by Brian Fikkert and Steve Corbett
Better, by Atul Gawande
Wit, by Margarent Edson

Children's Books:
We All Went on Safari, by Laurie Krebs
For You Are a Kenyan Child, by Kelly Cunnane
Greedy Zebra, by Mwenye Hadithi
Why Mosquitoes Buzz in People's Ears, by Verna Aardema
Bringing the Rain to Kapiti Plain, by Verna Aardema

Miscellaneous:
The Wycliffe Cookbook
The More With Less Cookbook
The Sonship Course, by Serge/World Harvest Mission
The Hiding Place, by Corrie ten Boom
Music by Ladysmith Black Mambazo, especially Paul Simon's "Graceland"
Fluenz Français language learning tools
Petit Futé Burundi (the only good guide book on Burundi, albeit in French)
Article: "As an atheist, I truly believe Africa needs God" by Matthew Parris The Times, click here

Movies:
The Mission
Invisible Children
The Devil Came on Horseback
Amazing Grace
Yesterday
Blood Diamond
War Dance
The Ghost and the Darkness
The Constant Gardener
Hotel Rwanda
The Lion King (we'd be lying to say it didn't inform us)

Recommended but Minimal Relevancy to Africa:
Toto's "Africa"
The Gods Must Be Crazy (I and II)
David Wilcox's "Johnny's Camaro"
The Tawny, Scrawny Lion, by Tengreen
The board game "Pandemic"
The awesome action sequence in Madagascar at the beginning of "Casino Royale"

John, Jessica, Elise, Micah, & Sam Cropsey




High School Sweethearts
John and Jessica first met in 2nd grade at Calvary Christian Academy in Ypsilanti, Michigan. It wasn't until high school, however, that any romantic interest began. They finally tied the knot in 2000.

Education and Employment
In 2001, they both graduated from college -- John from the University of Michigan with a B.S. in Biology and Jessica from Eastern Michigan University with a B.S. in Secondary Math Education. John continued his education at the University of Michigan Medical School, where he graduated in 2005.  In June 2009, John completed his ophthalmology residency at Wills Eye Institute in Philadelphia. After college, Jessica became the "breadwinner" and taught secondary math in the public schools for six years. During that time she took evening and summer classes to earn her Master's Degree in Teaching English as a Second Language (TESOL). After the birth of their daughter, Elise Star, in March 2007, Jessica transitioned to the new role of "domestic engineer".  Since then, Micah (Dec 2008) and Sam (Oct 2011) have been added and keep her very busy!


John's Background















John spent 10 years of his youth at the Karolyn Kempton Memorial Christian Hospital in Togo, West Africa. (His father is a general surgeon and his mother is a nurse.) He and his three older brothers thoroughly enjoyed their childhood in the jungle and have many incredible stories to tell. When he wasn't in "the Motherland", John and his family lived in Ann Arbor, Michigan.

John has always been interested in going back to Africa and decided to pursue medicine after seeing how his father used his medical skills to heal and to share the love of Christ.


Jessica's Background
Jessica is the 2nd of six children -- 4 girls and 2 boys. She grew up in Ypsilanti, Michigan. During high school, Jessica became interested in missions through several short-term trips to Honduras and Mexico. After high school, she decided to pursue this interest by living in the Fiji Islands for four months. While in Fiji, she tutored national students in English and math at a local school. This experience, along with subsequent trips to Turkey and Togo, confirmed her desire to serve the poor.

Photos
Childhood picture of John in Togo


















John and a python during a visit to Togo in 2002


































John and Jess in the OR at the hospital in Togo (2002) -- Jess did okay observing the first surgery (hernia), but went vasovagal during the skin graft operation and had to leave the OR early! After that, she stuck to organizing the storage closet (see below)!!

How We Got Here

For those curious as to how one ends up in the joyous, yet undeniably singular position in which we find ourselves: The short answer is that we all did part or all of our medical training in Ann Arbor, Michigan, and that we were at the same church, Knox Presbyterian.

The longer answer involves Faders and Cropseys getting to know each other several years ago, with the burgeoning McLaughlins being somewhat more peripheral, but all being of like mind in desire to do medical mission work in the developing world. We also were privy, at some time or another, to a casual joke in which we would all join forces in the future as a community to pursue these goals. Then one night in September 2007, John, Jason, and a couple other innocent bystanders, got together and decided that maybe we weren't joking. Maybe there was, in fact, an inexplicable sense of God's call in how 3 families and 4 physicians, from 3 different medical school years, completing training the same year, with compatible life goals, in 4 different but complementary specialties, happened to meet in the same place and become friends.

So Faders sent an email to the McLaughlins, at that time picking up a few experiential skills in Bangladesh, who were then struck by the same dual sense of "call" and "maybe we weren't really joking all this time".

We all met in November 2007 in Louisville, KY, for the Global Health Missions Conference, where the decision to pursue a common community goal was cemented. Somehow we talked Samaritan's Purse into accepting us as a team into their two-year Post-Residency Program, and then Tenwek Hospital in Kenya agreed to take us.

During our time at Tenwek, we began to eagerly scour the continent for various opportunities, focusing on medical education in areas on the needier side of the African spectrum. We sent lots of email, took lots of counsel, and visited several places. As it now stands, we are applying to World Harvest Mission in order to be sent to Burundi, to serve as clinical faculty for the young medical school at Hope Africa University.

So here we are, not exactly at the beginning, but still early in a journey that has raised numerous questions and discussions that have started to teach us much of service, community, medicine, cross-cultural living, and an ardent desire to follow God.

Photos

As the families grow, each new picture becomes the only one with all the McCropders. Welcome, Abi!


L to R: Cropseys, McLaughlins, Faders. May 2009.

From L to R: Jason, Heather, and Anna Fader; (friend but non-McCropder) Carlan Wendler, Rachel and Eric McLaughlin, John and Jessica Cropsey (daughter Elise not pictured)

Update: Jason kindly added Elise to another photo from the conference (where everyone looks even skinnier).








Nicole Christenson


Nicole was born and raised in Poughkeepsie, NY and attended Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute where she majored in Business Management and minored in Architecture and Psychology, graduating in December 2012. She then spent a year volunteering with Raise the Children, International in Pretoria, South Africa where she served as a high school Economics and Math teacher and guardian to 18 orphaned high school students. Before leaving South Africa her heart was drawn to long term missions, which is where Serge entered the picture. She is now serving in the finance department for Kibuye Hope Hospital.

Her blog is found here.

27.3.08

Jason, Heather, Anna, and Abi Fader



Meet the Faders

Jason:  Enjoys teaching surgery at Kibuye Hope Hospital, fixing and building things in the workshop, and reading in the early morning hours.

Heather:  Absolutely loves her job as a stay-at-home mom.  She also likes studying languages, which is very helpful in rural Burundi.

Anna:  Loves animals and brings them home regularly.  She's always eager to make new friends, yet she's also happy to curl up and read a book.  

Abigail:  She dances, she bikes, she rarely sits still.  Perhaps this is related to the fact that she is five years old and has lived in five countries:  Ethiopia, Kenya, the US, France, and Burundi.


Where are we going?

As of December 2010, we have reached a group decision to pursue the opportunity to work longterm in Burundi.

Specifically, we are applying to be sent by World Harvest Mission to work in Burundi with Hope Africa University's young medical school, who is need of doctors to teach their medical students while caring for patients at Kibuye Hospital, a small bush mission hospital, which is currently being expanded into their primary teaching hospital.

It wouldn't be feasible to try and enumerate all the reasons why we have decided on this course, but to mention a few things we're excited about:

-The country of Burundi certainly represents "the least of these", that we believe Jesus cares so much about, being among the five most undeveloped countries in the world.
-Yet, being post-war, there is an incredible window for growth and development in Burundi, and we feel that the Burundi leadership of Hope Africa University has already put their institution on a solid road.
-Our hope is that we can add substantially to the health care available in the region of Kibuye Hospital (which is outside the capital city, and thus incredibly devoid of medical professionals), and at the same time be integrally involved in the professional and spiritual development of young medical students and leaders.
-We feel that this opportunity provides the best mix of the gospel in "Word and Deed" as it would pertain to the gifts of our group.

From a timetable standpoint, there are a few detours on the way to Burundi. We will likely leave Kenya in the early autumn of 2011 (not that we have autumn here). We will be in the US for the following 9-12 months, and then hope to be able to head out for French language school, and then Kirundi language school (both of which are important for work in Burundi), which will take at least a year. A big investment, but joy in the journey, and we believe a worthwhile investment.

Donation Information

World Medical Mission has a designated project account for each family. If you'd like to contribute financially, click on the family's name below for a donation form. (All financial contributions are tax-deductible.) You can print and mail them.

John & Jessica Cropsey
Jason & Heather Fader
Eric & Rachel McLaughlin

You can also click on this link, and donate online through World Medical Mission to our accounts by typing in the last name of any family, and following the directions.

World Medical Mission's Post-Residency Program pays for all expenses for each doctor and also provides a monthly stipend. We are responsible for raising funds for the following:
  • Travel expenses for spouse & children (airfare, passports, visas)
  • Vaccinations for spouse & children
  • International health insurance for spouse & children
  • Our shared van "The Jolly Green Giant"
  • Ministry expenses
**Note:  Thank you for your support during our time at Tenwek!  Through the generosity of many friends and family, God has met each of our needs.  You can continue to send donations to our project accounts at World Medical Mission up until we transition to World Harvest Mission (in late September 2011, Lord willing).  100% of the excess funds in our World Medical Mission accounts will be rolled over to World Harvest for ministry in Burundi.  We will post updated donation information with World Harvest when it becomes available.

9.3.08

"Word and Deed"?

A good friends asks me, "Are you first a missionary and second a doctor, or is it the other way around?" In other words, "Is proselytizing (a.k.a. evangelizing) or medicine your primary goal?" This is a good question, and one that many ask, and likely even more want to ask but don't know how. But the most truthful answer requires a different question.

We believe foremost that the message of Jesus is good news. OK, so what is this news that's so good? Namely, that Jesus' life, death, and resurrection has accomplished a way to new life. Our old life (i.e. without the good news of Jesus) has been full of sin. Jesus offers forgiveness and His Spirit to overcome sin. We had lies. He offers truth. We had hatred. He offers love. We had selfishness and inwardness. Jesus offers a way of serving Him by serving others. We perpetrated injustice. Jesus bring true justice. We had death. Jesus brings new life.

For many years, Christians have chosen between the categories of Word and Deed. One group chose to spread the message of Jesus, and the other to do the works he commanded. But these are inseparable. The Gospel (which simply means "good news") is to be in Word and Deed. The good news is that Jesus is your salvation for all of time and that His kingdom is bringing you medical care here and now. Word without Deed would be an incomplete Gospel. Deed without Word would also.

This idea endows everyday medical care with eternal significance and makes it not just a means to a more "spiritual" end. And it causes the message of Jesus to be rightly endowed with transformative power here and now. This truth is central to our mission.

5.3.08

Who are the "Lyntelnosters"?

In the esteemed tradition of smushing names together, out of the convenience of not having to repeat them over and over (i.e. McCropders), we hereby (and with much pomp and ceremony) do introduce to you the Lyntelnosters:

--Bob Lynn: Associate Pastor of Missions and many other things at Knox Presbyterian, our home church.
--Steve Telian: Friend and mentor from Knox who is also an ENT surgeon at the University of Michigan.
--James Paternoster: Intervarsity staff worker with the medical school (et al.), child of Nigeria, and all-around good guy.

The reason they have earned the dubious distinction of having a smushed name is that they serve all of us as mentors (individually and as a group), and we are indebted to them.

Contact Us

The purpose of this site is to give people the chance to be involved in what we're doing, and to enable us to connect with the lives around us. So do feel free to contact us.

Emails:
Faders: jasonheatherfader@gmail.com
Cropseys: johncropsey@gmail.com or jesscropsey@yahoo.com
McLaughlins: drsmcl@gmail.com

*We are all on Skype. Just search for us.

Keeping up with the blog:
Subscription: you can receive an email whenever we update the blog through the link on the left sidebar. Also subscribe via a blogreader also on the sidebar.
Periodic email updates: Each family does send out periodic email summaries and updates. If you would like to be on one (or all!) of those lists, just email us.

Mail:
Tenwek Hospital
PO Box 39
Bomet, Kenya 20400
East Africa