The best parts of community are, well, the community. Adjusting to life at Tenwek has not been as difficult as most of us anticipated, and that's primarily due to the fact that there are three families—we all know each other, we're friends, we're sharing similar experiences coming from similar cultures, and we can talk about our triumphs and failures and frustrations with people who know exactly where we're coming from. We can talk about people and places back home with others who know what we're talking about. We can worship together, pray together, listen to Knox sermons together. And we feel that as a community of 6 adults, we can accomplish more than if we were 6 separate adults. Jess and Heather are fantastic at watching Maggie if I have to go in emergently for work. If I'm in the middle of a surgery and get “stuck,” Jason is there to help. When Eric and I get terrible pinkeye, John comes down and gives us eye drops. :)
When we first started talking about the McCropder concept, some people warned us about the downsides to community. One man warned about the “ideal” of community, the desire to have everything work out perfectly, destroying the members of the community. Many warned about being “exclusive” or clique-y and not reaching outside our group to get to know other missionaries, or other people we serve and interact with on a daily basis. Decisions get made much slower when 6 people have to agree. We can split the cost of a van between 3 families, but what happens when we want to go to 3 different destinations on the same day?