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.

September 2011: McCropders join World Harvest Mission
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 (see photo below). 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.

Along this path, Alyssa Pfister, who was also a 2-year post-resident doctor at Tenwek, joined our team amid much enthusiasm.  Also, Carlan Wendler, who had been with everyone from the beginning, but was still working through his Emergency Medicine residency in California, informed us of his plans to join the team.

In the end, all of us decided to apply 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, while providing compassion care to the poorest of the poor at Kibuye Hope Hospital in the interior of Burundi.  September 2011 found us all back in the US, and we spent about a year there raising support and enjoying friends and family.  In August 2012, we moved to Albertville, France, for 10 months of french language school.

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.

In pictures:
2002: John, Eric, and friends at the beginning of med school
2007: The McCropders join up in Louisville for the first time
Dec 2009: Our team arrives for 2 years at Tenwek Hospital, Kenya
Aug 2011: Our last team picture before leaving Kenya