Friday, November 11, 2016

Jesus is worthy!

By Ted 

Raising support is a truly humbling and faith-growing process. This can be said because of where we came from and where we are now and where were are going. Six months ago, we had the security of a steady, predictable income and reliable health insurance that we never had to think twice about. In some ways, I didn't have to rely on God as much because of the attitude of self-sufficiency and independence that is ingrained in my American-cultured mind. Contrast that now to our present situation, in which we are increasingly more dependent on God to provide for our needs, through our asking of friends and churches to support us, and even for finding a temporary part-time job while preparing to go. 

When I glance over at my physician colleagues who are now generating sizable incomes, I would be lying if I said that I haven't had the thought, "Hey, that could have been me." But in those moments, I am reminded of God's calling and purpose in my life and of the passage in Luke 14:25-33 that focuses on the cost of following Christ. Jesus says, "Any one of you who does not renounce all that he has cannot be my disciple." Jesus calls us to follow Him after counting the cost. I may have to give up the security of a traditional job and its benefits, but being obedient to His call for our lives is worth so much more. Step by step, Jesus is refining me to let go more of this world and to cling more onto Him. Jesus, you are worthy!


Oct 2016 / Ann Arbor, MI
Grace Ann Arbor Church 

On a different, but related note, nous pouvons parler un peu de français maintenant (we can speak a little bit of French now). Eunice and I have been in a regular routine of our independent French studies. We have found ourselves to be most productive in a coffeeshop or library, with Toby attending daycare a few times a week. Because we have different learning preferences, Eunice is learning French through a free online university course. I am learning through Fluenz, a language software that is akin to Rosetta Stone but reportedly more conversationally based. Both of us also use Duolingo daily to supplement our learning. We both took Spanish in high school, so we can appreciate the occasional word overlap and often deduce the meaning from a common root. Pronunciation, on the other hand, is a whole different story. For example, one of the phrases in a lesson from today was, "Le travail a été mieux que l'année dernière" (the work was better than last year). A sentence with a simple meaning and yet so many ways to mispronounce every word. The encouraging part is that we do feel like we are making progress, and hopefully by February, we can approach the French placement exam for our future language school with confidence and some level of competence. Au revoir (bye!). 


P.S. - We (along with the other 2016 Post-Residents) were featured in the latest issue of World Medical Mission's On Call Magazine! 

P.P.S. - We will be sending out our first newsletter soon with brief updates from the past couple of months and our prayer requests -- if you would like to be on our (e)mailing list, please sign-up here


Monday, September 12, 2016

le coût

By Eunice

In French, le coût = the cost.

Over the recent Labor Day weekend, we traveled up to the Bay Area to visit some of my relatives. I was dreading the potential 6+ hour drive, especially with a toddler, but Toby did really well (many thanks to all the prayers and my brother -- Toby loves his Uncle Dave!). We had a really great time reconnecting with family and even had a couple of opportunities to share about our upcoming journey.

One of the evenings, we were at a restaurant for a family dinner. We were in a semi-private space, so it was relatively "safe" for the kids to roam around. Those who know Toby know what an active kiddo he is. He's curious, adventurous, and an extrovert. With so many adults around, I must have turned my "mom alert" sensors down a notch. Ted and I were engaged in a conversation with my cousins when I decided to look around the room for Toby. I casually asked, "Where's Toby?" He wasn't within our space. I got up and peaked out at the rest of the restaurant...no Toby. Hmm...at this point, a few more of us got up to help and look for Toby. While they looked in the adjacent rooms, my eyes immediately zoned in on the front entrance: the doors were wide open...open to the streets, the darkness, strangers. I ran outside. I called out for Toby. I did a quick sweep. No Toby. I looked back inside and my heart sunk. I could tell by the looks on their faces that they hadn't found Toby yet, either. This was probably the moment when I started to panic inside. I looked back outside and yelled for Toby again. Now, I'm sure it hadn't been more than a few minutes (although it felt much longer). Then all of the sudden, my cousin came out from the back of the restaurant with a look of relief -- he had found Toby in the men's restroom. Toby had followed Uncle Dave to the restroom. He wasn't lost. He was safe. In fact, he was very happy and washing his hands...he had no idea what had been going on. Me, on the other hand...well, I was a bit frazzled inside. I tried to keep it together although I'm sure Ted and family sitting nearby could tell that I was worked up inside.

When I finally laid down to go to sleep that night, I remember looking out into the darkness with tears streaming down my face. I felt pretty traumatized. I was trying to process what had happened, what I could/should have done differently, and well...I had to stop myself from thinking about what could have happened. I simply prayed a prayer of thanks. Thank you Lord for saving Toby. Thank you that he was in safe hands. It's been a week since that night, but I've thought about it everyday.

We're still in the comforts and familiarity of the states. We haven't moved overseas yet. Can't I change my mind? Aren't I afraid to go? Why am I taking my toddler son and newborn baby to a foreign land? What about their health and safety? They won't have the same access to health care and pretty much anything like we have here.

When God called us, He called us as a family. While He didn't call Ted and me at the same time, He did call me just as much as He called Ted. I knew that I couldn't go simply to "accompany" Ted since he's my husband. That wouldn't be enough, and we would not be able to stay on the field long-term.

Does that mean I'm not afraid? Of course not. Fear is normal, a natural expression as fragile beings. But, my God is big. He's a great, big God. And, I am a child of this great, big God. He's here with me; He's there in Burundi. And believe me, He has been working on my heart in the areas of my fears and concerns for years now. I am confident that He prepares you for whatever He has called you to.

During our orientation in late July, we were challenged to think about our fears. What am I most afraid of? Sure, I always pray for Ted, my family, those near and dear to our hearts. But, one of my deepest fears? It is that my children will get hurt or sick and/or will die in my arms. We were challenged to acknowledge our fears, AND THEN...proclaim that God's grace is and will be sufficient if and when those things happen (2 Corinthians 12:9). The truth is, there is a cost to being a follower of Christ. When we accepted His call, we died to ourselves. When we became children of God, we died to ourselves. Each day, we need to die to ourselves as this world constantly tells us to do otherwise.

The enemy will try to place lies in my mind, our minds -- he knows our weaknesses just as well as God does. He is the master of schemes and will daily try to distort what is true. BUT, we were reminded that there is always an attribute of God that can counter each and every lie. How awesome is that? We can find these truths in His Word.

I still have fears, some big and some small, some related to the unknown and some for just life here in the states. But, I pray to be like those in Hebrews 11. I pray to be like Abraham, who, "By faith Abraham, when he was tested, offered up Isaac, and he who had received the promises was in the act of offering up his only son, of whom it was said, "Through Isaac shall your offspring be named." He considered that God was able to even raise him from the dead, from which, figuratively speaking, he did receive him back." 

God knows us so well though, doesn't He? And His timing is always perfect, isn't it? During service today at church, we sang a song that really touched me. Here's the chorus (and the entire song that you can hear at the end if you're interested):

I'm no longer a slave to fear.
I am a child of God.

Please continue to keep us in your prayers. It's what we need more than anything. And please let us know how you are doing, and how we can be praying more specifically for you!
 

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Transitions

By Eunice

Did we make it to CA?? Yes, yes we did. Here are some brief updates:

  • Boards: We just found out yesterday that Ted passed his written board exam! Praise God! Now, he can start preparing for the oral portion, which he'll take early this fall. 
  • Farewell: We said farewell to Ann Arbor and our amazing community that has surrounded and journeyed alongside us during various seasons of our life there. St. Joe's, Liggett, Grace Ann Arbor (esp our community group), our HMCC friends, the Kangs, Alicejandro, the Cropseys, the Wildes, SBS -- we miss you all dearly! Here are some snapshots...

  • Orientation: We spent the last 10 days of July in TN (CMDA headquarters) and NC (Samaritan's Purse headquarters). It was a very blessed and much needed time, especially for Ted and myself as a couple. We'll have a separate follow-up post re: our time at orientation.
  • Moving/Packing: We're almost experts. There's been a lot of downsizing, Craigslisting, moving, packing, more downsizing, and traveling over this past year and especially the past few weeks. It was painful and tiring, but we were able to pack our life into 12 check-ins and 2 carry-ons. I'd say that's pretty good! And...we made it to our new temporary space in CA! It's all training for the big move, we tell ourselves. =) 

What's next/prayer requests?
  • FrenchTed and I will begin studying French independently in preparation for future/more formal language studies.
  • Support RaisingWe will also be using the next several months to reconnect with old friends as well as raise support, both in prayer and finances. Please pray for travel mercies and that we would be an encouragement to those we meet.
  • Baby #2We are expecting baby #2 (it's a boy!) at the end of this year. Please pray for the continued health and growth of the baby (and mom).



Monday, June 27, 2016

Goodbye Residency

By Ted


Residency Graduation Dinner

This past Thursday, I officially finished my general surgery residency. I had been up all night operating while I was on call one last time, and it culminated with a memorable exlap with one of my favorite attendings. It was a bittersweet moment, as I said my goodbyes to St. Joe's co-workers, resident colleagues, and attendings. I had spent the past 5 years of my life learning to become a clinician and surgeon at St. Joe's, and all I could think of was how grateful I was to have been there. I turned in my hospital badge and pager, gathered my belongings, and drove off the campus one final time.

So what's next? We look ahead to our time in Burundi, East Africa, but there are a lot of steps we'll be taking before we get there. My written board exam is coming up in a few weeks, so my days are now filled with studying, reviewing, and doing practice questions. After my exam, we fly out for our orientation and training with our sending missions organization, Samaritan's Purse. Then, we help my brother Andrew move in to his new place before he starts med school. Finally, we head to Los Angeles to move into our temporary new home, where we'll be parked for several months until we depart the US! There, we hope to find work (actively searching for locums opportunities) and focus in on learning French.

Please pray for me, Eunice, and Toby as we wrap up our time in Ann Arbor and transition to our new home in Southern California. Please pray for us as we prepare to join in on God's work in Burundi. We are thankful for all of our supporters, and hope we can meet up with many of you before we leave.