How We Got Here

Our Story

Back in 2002, Joy was finishing up her residency in Ob/Gyn and encountered an incredible opportunity brilliantly disguised as an insoluble problem. Because she had completed a residency in family medicine before training in obstetrics, she and her program director were informed by the American Board of Ob/Gyn that she would have to have one additional year of training in her new specialty to be eligible to sit for the Ob/Gyn Boards. Yikes. But God had a plan in all of this--and it involved Samaritan's Purse and World Medical Mission, Tenwek Hospital, and her very good friend Bill Irwin.

Joy with one of her patients
In the fall of 2002, World Medical Mission arranged for Joy to be a short term missionary for several months at Tenwek Hospital, in Bomet, Kenya. As part of her elective, she worked as an Ob/Gyn from September to December of that year. And that year changed her life . . .

For any of you who have traveled and lived out in another culture for a while, you know how much an email, letter, or care package from the States can mean. Bill was busy starting his legal career in Virginia--and he had also decided that he loved that girl who was now living in Kenya. He courted her from afar with care packages filled with news, coffee, and scented candles--all in short supply in rural Africa.
One of Bill's gifts graces Joy's table in her apartment--it sure made things feel like home!
Once back from Tenwek, Bill and Joy (of course) fell madly in love-- and married in 2004. Later that year, they went to the Global Medical Missions Conference in Louisville, Kentucky, and they began praying about how they might be able to serve together in Africa.

A picture from our honeymoon--Scotland in July and we were wearing jackets
Have you ever looked at the stories of the people in the Bible who were called by God to serve Him in some way? Have you ever counted the number of years it took from the time of their initial call to its fulfillment? Moses isn't the only guy who waited in 40 year increments! We had often puzzled as to why God did not just open the doors for us to go and serve in Africa. What happened between then and now?
 God had plans for bringing us our son--and our little man could not be rushed!
Full Circle. That is how God led us. After many years of waiting, trying to get to Africa, and waiting again, we found ourselves (three of us now!) at the Global Health Missions Conference in Louisville in the fall of 2010. And that is when the doors started to fly open. We had a number of God directed appointments that week--which eventually led to us moving to Kenya to serve at Tenwek Hospital. We could not have put this together ourselves--and the timing has been--perfect(ly God's timing and not our own!)

Self portrait December 2011--our next Christmas was spent in Kenya

 2012 and Beyond. Our years in Kenya have been full of wonderful people and incredible challenges. We seek to keep our eyes on Jesus who has given us hearts to serve the women in this place. The Continent of Africa is as diverse as it is beautiful, and the people who live here face many different challenges: escalating threats from terrorism in certain areas, conflicts, wars, and epidemics, both new and old. In the midst of all of this, women struggle to give life. Some of their stories you may have read on this blog. Our work, our call, is to care for all of those women who come to Tenwek for help, to reach out into the surrounding areas and bring hope and healing into places where there is none, and to teach and disciple African doctors how to care for women compassionately and skillfully, so that they too can care for women and their babies at Tenwek, and beyond our gates, into other places in Africa.


No comments:

Post a Comment