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We Learned

We have big news.
We are moving away from Haiti.

What? WHY?  
While I have to be somewhat careful about how I say all of this, I don’t want to leave you in mystery over that question. There is nothing to hide. But out of respect for our brothers and sisters here in Haiti, some things must remain unsaid publicly.

The shortest way to explain it is this — Jason has not had the opportunity to practice the type of medicine that he had hoped before coming to Haiti. While the mobile clinics have been satisfying for him, the rest of his work at the hospital has not. There is a mismatch between Jason’s sense of mission and vision for practicing medicine among the world’s poor, and the primary operation of the hospital here. For a number of reasons, Jason is severely limited in his efforts to practice medicine here. After seven months of hard, genuine effort, it has become clearly apparent that this reality won’t change. The idea of staying in this stifling environment for two years is too much to bear, especially when it comes at such a high cost to all of us as a family. Haiti is a hard place to live, even when your living and working situation is great.

How are we feeling?
We are feeling a mixture of sadness about leaving Haiti and excitement about what might lie ahead of us as a family. We are hopeful and whole. Haiti didn’t turn out to be what we would have hoped, but we have learned. We have learned that we are strong, that we can handle a lot, that life in a foreign country, while hard, has its great rewards as well. Haiti was not a mistake. It was simply a gateway into other ways and places for us to serve. We are not angry, and we are not discouraged. We are at peace, even joyful.

So what’s next?
While we could pack it in and return home to Minnesota, this is not what we want as a family. We unanimously voted that we still want to serve in a foreign country, among the world’s poorest populations. Even the kids want to do this, which is huge.

Given that, we are looking at a few other mission hospitals in Latin America, most likely Honduras. The language barrier would not be an issue in a Latin American country, as Jason and the kids already speak quite a bit of Spanish. And there are hospitals in these countries that operate in ways more aligned with our own vision of providing medical care to the poor. Jason and I will be taking an exploratory trip to Honduras soon to interview with two hospitals there, and to search out whether one of them might be a good fit for our family. We will keep you updated.

What can you do?
We have been and continue to be overwhelmed by the love and support shown to us by family and friends. This is not an easy road to be walking, but we are surrounded by so much love. That love keeps us going. If you already support us financially, we ask you to consider remaining on as supporters of our mission in Honduras. We know this wasn’t part of the original plan, so we humbly ask you to consider staying on as our financial partners in bringing healthcare to impoverished people around the world, even if we are doing that in a different country than originally planned.

So that’s it. We are moving. And we are stepping ahead with a new sense of purpose and joy. Thank you for your love and support and prayers. We cherish it more than we can possibly express.

Psalm 82:3-4  
“Defend the cause of the weak and fatherless; maintain the rights of the poor and oppressed. Rescue the weak and needy; deliver them from the hand of the wicked.”

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