Waiting on Him

It has been almost a year since Michelle, Eden and Selah were last in Haiti. After deciding not to return to Haiti for the time being, I wasn’t sure what to do. We were able to find a 6-month housing lease, which gave us some breathing room to figure things out. I wasn’t ready to leave Haiti and I felt discouraged, confused, and lost. I was sure the God had led us to Haiti, so why were we back in Loma Linda? I felt like we were just getting started and momentum had been building – I loved being in Haiti despite the challenges. I wasn’t ready to let go. I wanted to go back. But because of the rising insecurity, Michelle and I did not believe that this was the right time for our family to return – so what should we do in the meantime? Should we stay in the US or serve at another mission hospital? Our fellow missionaries encouraged us to serve at another site overseas and as we started discussions about the potential options, the possibilities that kept popping up seemed endless: Trinidad, Liberia, Malawi, Nepal, England, Guam, Rwanda, Belize, Guyana, Chad – some options were more realistic than others, but I was getting overwhelmed by the number of choices that seemed to increase every week. Then it was proposed that we stay in the same Division as Haiti (the Inter-American Division – see map below), which would facilitate a quicker transfer and keep open the possibility of potentially transferring back to Haiti once the instability improved.

Staying in the IAD narrowed down the possibilities, but there were still several options on the table: Mexico, Curacao, Aruba, as well as Trinidad, Belize, and Guyana mentioned before. Should we just stay in the US and go back to Haiti? After several weeks of discussion, La Loma Luz Adventist Hospital, a 9-bed hospital in Belize, rose to the top of the list and we decided to visit at the end of February to check it out. The first few days of our 5-day trip to Belize, I found myself missing Haiti even more. Our experience in Belize was really nice – was it too nice? In Haiti, the needs were obvious – less so in Belize. Belize is a popular tourist destination and for good reason – the people are warm and friendly, the landscape is lush and beautiful, the opportunities for adventure and exploring are endless – was this the place that the Lord was leading us to serve? 4 days into our trip, Michelle and I weren’t sure. The day before we left, we had to get our COVID tests. The CEO of the hospital had been the one taking us everywhere during our trip, but since it was a Monday, he was very busy, so the maintenance manager offered to take us instead. We ended up spending the entire afternoon and evening together, checking out local stores, visiting his house and garden in the beautiful countryside, crossing a river on a hand crank ferry and we were able to learn more about the history of the hospital from someone who had been there for ~30 years and served under 7 different administrators. It was during this conversation that Michelle and I both felt that there was a mission here at La Loma Luz Adventist Hospital that God was calling us to be a part of.

The next morning, I asked the Lord for a sign confirming that this was the direction he was leading. I wanted confirmation from His Word that He wanted us to be at La Loma Luz, (“Light on the Hill” in Spanish). I was reading through Ellen White’s book, Patriarchs and Prophets, which is an incredible commentary of the Old Testament from Genesis to the end of King David’s reign. I was on chapter 32, entitled, “The Law and the Covenants”, which didn’t seem like a very promising chapter in terms of providing guidance for our present situation. But as I read, I came across the following paragraph:

La Loma Luz! It was clear enough for us. We let the hospital and our church know that we believed that the Lord was telling us to move forward and over the next few months, the transfer process took place.

But it was not a smooth road. One of the major issues we ran into was the lack of a budget. In order for us to serve at La Loma Luz, the hospital needed to be able to support my local salary, but unfortunately, this was not possible. The lack of a budget is usually a hard stop. But to my amazement, within a month, I was informed that the local salary was going to be taken care of, so that barrier evaporated before us.

Then in mid-May, 2 weeks before our 6-month housing lease was supposed to end, we were told that we were not able to go to La Loma Luz because of some administrative details that made it impossible to allocate a budget to the hospital. The following week, we were told that the administrative details were being taken care of by the Inter-American Division leadership – thank you Jesus! Then 2 weeks later, we were told that we couldn’t go after all despite their efforts. And the day after that, we were told that the door was not completely closed and that we should wait to hear back after the General Conference session June 6-11. So that’s where we are now. Waiting. I know God is trying to teach us something. I hope we learn it soon.

Through it all, we have had ample evidence of God’s loving care. Our lease was supposed to end May 31st. But our landlord graciously found a tenant that was willing to move in mid-July, which allowed us to extend our lease for an additional 6 weeks. And beyond that, we have had a couple of dear friends offer their places for us to stay while they are traveling. SACHS clinic has been very flexible in terms of my work schedule and has been able to accommodate me despite my constantly shifting end date. And of course, we are thankful to have this extra time to spend with our loved ones.

In the book, The Thrill of Living Within God’s Will, Carl Coffman discusses three ways in which the Lord reveals His will to us based on a passage in Ellen White’s Testimonies for the Churches Volume 5 512.1-2. The three ways are:
1. His Word as found in the Bible
2. Appeals of His Holy Spirit making impressions upon the heart
3. Providential workings
God can use any or all of these methods. So far, God has given us numbers 1 and 2. If we are approved to go to La Loma Luz Adventist Hospital despite the seemingly impossible barriers, then we will move forward with full assurance of God’s leading. But if the door closes, then we must seek God’s will for our family even more intently. We do not want to be where God does not want us to be. One of the conditions for ascertaining God’s will is to be 100% committed to doing His revealed will, whatever it may be. We must surrender our will to Him. Being in this place of uncertainty is not comfortable, but we are being well taken care of. Nevertheless, it does cause me some anxiety, which is why I need to remind myself that He has our best interest in mind and He is in control:

God has a purpose in sending trial to His children. He never leads them otherwise than they would choose to be led if they could see the end from the beginning, and discern the glory of the purpose that they are fulfilling. All that He brings upon them in test and trial comes that they may be strong to do and to suffer for Him. 

Prophets and Kings 578.1

And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.

Romans 8:28 (NKJV)

With this in mind, I am trying to pray this prayer day by day as we wait for His leading:

Take me, O Lord, as wholly Thine. I lay all my plans at Thy feet. Use me today in Thy service. Abide with me, and let all my work be wrought in Thee.” 

Steps to Christ 70.1

The last 6 months

Finally a break. A weekend in Miami was just what we needed. The isolation of compound life with a toddler and newborn was getting to me. I was ready to recharge stateside. The situation in Haiti was getting worse but thankfully our drive to the airport was uneventful. We were able to pass through the eerie gang territory safely as the shooting ceased for a couple hours.

After arriving to Miami, we got Selah’s 4 month vaccines, stocked up on groceries and Amazon purchases and took care of some business. Once again, we packed our suitcases full, ready for our trip back to Haiti when we received a message from our hospital driver, Mr. Michel, “Don’t come back tomorrow.” The roads were blocked due to gang violence and transport from the airport to our hospital was not possible. After hearing this news we decided to fly to Loma Linda to be with family while we waited for the situation to clear. After a couple weeks Jeff decided to go back to Haiti and planned for the girls and me to join him two weeks later. A few days before the girls and I were to return to Haiti we heard the news–the Haitian President had been assassinated. Jeff evacuated Haiti a few days later.

After Jeff returned to Loma Linda safely, we entered another period of waiting but also a great opportunity to spend time together as a family. We drove from Loma Linda to Mammoth to Yosemite to Vallejo to see Jeff’s family to Redwood National Park to Portland/Vancouver to Mt. Rainier, to Gig Harbor. Then the earthquake hit Haiti. Jeff and I were convicted that he needed to be at the hospital to help. A couple days later he was on his way back to Haiti. To say the least, it was an intense and exhausting 3 weeks for him and the team at Haiti Adventist Hospital, but God orchestrated the amazing work that happened during that time and many lives were touched and healed.

Jeff was able to share some of our experiences at our home church.
At 33:00, Jeff gives a mission update of Haiti Adventist Hospital after the recent earthquake.

When Jeff came back from Haiti we were so happy to be reunited again as a family. Now we packed our bags again and headed to Wildwood, Georgia for 4 weeks for their Lifestyle Medicine Observer Program. Those 4 weeks were such a blessing to us. Jeff was able to see firsthand the workings of a Lifestyle Center and I was able to meet and spend time with some amazing families. The first week we purchased a used, but well-maintained minivan so the girls and I had some freedom to run errands and explore the city. We visited the Great Smoky Mountains and enjoyed beauty of the area. At the end of our 4 weeks, we decided to drive our car back to California across the country. From Wildwood to Ouachita Hills, to Dallas, to the Great Sand Dunes, to Mesa Verde, to Moab, to Salt Lake City and then finally back to Loma Linda. Thankfully the girls did remarkably well and we had wonderful time visiting dear friends and family and seeing God’s beautiful creation.

By this time, I longed even more to get settled. When would we go back to Haiti? Is that even an option? How could we take our young daughters back? What about the Haitian people? What are we to do in the meantime? More unsettling news… 17 missionaries were kidnapped in Haiti. Among the 17 was an 8 month old and 3 year old just like our daughters. Our hearts were broken for the group and their families. During this time, we struggled and ultimately felt impressed that God was telling us not to return to Haiti. What now? Where now? We still don’t know. We don’t know what our future holds, but we know the One who hold us. When I feel unsettled, I’m reminded that this is not our home. The Promised Land is waiting for us. He is preparing a place for us. In the meantime we wait, and we stay close to Him. We listen when he says stay, and we listen when He says go. He has led us, protected us, and given us place to stay until he tells us to go again.

It’s been over 6 months since our weekend trip to Miami. Eden just turned 3 and Selah is 10 months old. We’ve settled in a house for the next 6 months and Jeff is working at Loma Linda. We are waiting to be reassigned and praying for God’s guidance. We are grateful for the endless support of our family and friends and thankful for this time to settle down for now.

Photo taken at Arches National Park


He came to our Emergency Department gasping for air – the picture of respiratory distress. Each breath was labored and accompanied by a short groan. Our hospital had just posted a notice saying that we could not accept any more urgent respiratory cases because our isolation unit was at capacity and our oxygen supply was critically low. But it is much easier to write a notice that the hospital is on diversion than it is to deny entry to someone who is gasping for air in front of you. Our ED staff had done their best to redirect the patient to another facility where they could possibly get help (highly unlikely because most hospitals were in a similar situation). But when our internist, Dr. V, and I saw the patient, we made a decision to use our second-to-last bottle of oxygen to bring him some relief – it was 3/4 full. Our last half tank was being reserved in one of our operating rooms for emergency surgeries. We had more oxygen on the way. It was expected to arrive by the end of the day. We had sent a team to Les Cayes, a 4-hour drive to the south, to fill 17 bottles of life-sustaining oxygen. They had left early in the morning, but it was taking longer than expected to fill the bottles. We had to source our oxygen from Les Cayes because gang violence had blocked the roads between our hospital and all the local oxygen suppliers, which are based in downtown Port-au-Prince. We had waited for the roads to clear up, but day after day went by and the violence continued…all the while our oxygen supply was diminishing…at a rate of 34 liters/minute to be exact. There were two patients upstairs in our isolation ward who were really sick, requiring increasing concentrations of oxygen, and needed to be transferred out to a higher level of care. The COVID centers in Haiti were all saturated, so Dr. V and I were working with the families of these patients to transfer them to the US as soon as possible. I called the team in Les Cayes mid-late afternoon. They were not quite done filling all the tanks, but I urged them to come back right away because we needed the oxygen badly and I was concerned about them driving at night.

The last couple weeks had been busy and stressful due to the current COVID spike caused by the presence of the UK and Brazilian variants. Scott, our medical director, was out of the country so as the assistant medical director, I felt more of the weight of responsibility for the day-to-day decisions, including ensuring that our oxygen supply was sufficient to meet the needs of our patients. Due to the COVID spike, oxygen suppliers across the board were running low on oxygen and were only able to supply us with up to 10 tanks at a time so they had enough to distribute to the rest of their customers. To make matters worse, gangsters stole a truckful of oxygen tanks heading to Hôpital Universitaire de Mirebalais (HUM), the largest COVID center in the country, so oxygen suppliers were sending their oxygen tanks to HUM to make up for the loss. We explored all the options we could think of. Hôpital Albert Schweitzer, located 3 hours away, generously offered to supply us with oxygen, but when we attempted to go there, the roads were blocked by gangs in Martissant, one of the most problematic areas, which is uncomfortably close to our hospital. We asked the other hospitals in our area where they were getting oxygen – all of them got their oxygen from downtown, on the other side of Martissant. We asked an air ambulance service if they could help us, but they’re not able to transport more than one small oxygen tank and the cost would not be worth the trip. The mayor of Carrefour helped us arrange a last-minute transport via a Coast Guard boat, but our oxygen supplier said they were unable to reach the destination port because of insecurity surrounding that area as well. Land, air, sea – all blocked by insecurity. But the Lord provided a way for us – our CFO, who started working at our hospital ~6 months ago, used to work in Les Cayes and for some reason, he had connections to a company that could potentially supply us with oxygen. But it was 4 hours away and it would take 2 days for us to get the oxygen due to the filling time. And if there was an opening, even for just a few hours, that would allow us to go to town to pick up oxygen, the 2-day venture was not necessarily the best choice. But as the oxygen tanks were used up and the roads continued to be blocked, we made the call to go south.

“He’s out of oxygen.” It was around 7pm and I was walking through the ED when the ED doc informed me that the gasping man’s oxygen tank had run dry. Where was the team that went to Les Cayes? They should be pretty close by now. I gave them a call. They had decided to stay and fill all the tanks before heading back up and were still very close to Les Cayes. I remembered the tank in the operating room being reserved for emergency cases. We could use that one and hope that there were no emergency cases requiring oxygen for the next 4 hours. I went to the operating room with a security guard to help me get the tank. We were stopped by the nurse on duty that night who adamantly refused to let us take the tank. We explained that there was someone who had ran out and really needed it – it was an emergency. But she would not budge. “What if there was an emergency surgery?” she argued. “What it there was a C-section and a baby who needed oxygen?” I was irritated at the resistance from this nurse I had never met before, but the idea of a potential newborn baby gasping for breath convinced me to run upstairs quickly to double check that we didn’t have any other tanks or concentrators that we could use instead. I found one – there was an oxygen concentrator at the bedside of a 6 month old boy with cardiac issues who was being trialed off of oxygen for the night. The relatives of the baby boy were worried that he might need it, but I explained the situation and reassured them that we would have oxygen soon. They reluctantly agreed and I prayed with them for the baby boy. I went back downstairs to the ED, oxygen concentrator in hand, and I saw the ED doc opening the door pulling a dolly that was usually used for oxygen tanks. Had they found another tank somewhere? But the doctor’s face and body language told me something was wrong. It was also strangely silent in the ED – there was no more gasping. “He died?” I asked. “Yeah, he died,” he responded, shaking his head. We sat together briefly on a nearby bench, a mixture of emotions swirling inside my heart – frustration, sadness, anger, regret, helplessness.

I should have insisted on taking the tank from the operating room. I should have acted faster upstairs. I should have been more insistent that the team from Les Cayes return right away. I should have put my foot down and made things happen quickly to save this man’s life – relationships could be repaired later. On the other hand, maybe we shouldn’t have accepted the patient in the first place. I shouldn’t have undercut our ED staff and made them look like the bad guys when they were doing their best to do what they were told to do. We should have been consistent with the hospital notice and sent the patient away…but how could we? We would have sent him away to die. Our mission is to continue the healing ministry of Jesus Christ. Jesus never turned anyone away unhelped. But if we didn’t divert people, our hospitalized patients who needed oxygen could meet the same fate as the gasping man in the ED. But now, the gasping man had died anyways and we were short one 3/4 tank of oxygen. What was the right thing to do?

The security guard interrupts my thoughts and informs me that two of our patients upstairs had also run out of oxygen and one of them really needed it. I immediately headed into the operating room. I told the nurse that the man in the ED had died due to lack of oxygen and told her that I would be taking the spare tank for another patient who needed it upstairs. She didn’t protest this time. I prayed that there would be no emergency surgeries before the full tanks arrived later that night.

I head out of the ED back home. I see Tim taking out the trash, heading to the dumpster. He asks me how I’m doing and I tell him briefly what happened. He comes over, gives me hug and prays for me. While he prays, some of the stress from that day and the last couple weeks is released as tears run down my cheeks and a few beats of a cough-like sob rack my body.

Looking back, I see plenty of evidence that God is taking care of us in the midst of all the challenges we are facing.
– There were no emergency surgeries that night.
– Aside from that day, we have not run out of oxygen again, although there have been plenty of days when it has gotten close due to continued insecurity. We have had more patients die from respiratory failure, but not due to lack of access to oxygen.
– When we were first realizing that our oxygen supply was going to be severely compromised, one of our volunteers, Annika, an ICU-nurse and nurse educator rallied the troops and pulled together the major stakeholders at our hospital to strategize how to both minimize our use as well as work on acquiring more oxygen. I’m so grateful for her leadership during this time of crisis.
– On that day we met, God delivered two bottles of oxygen directly to our campus. A truck from a hospital in Leogane had somehow made it past the blocked roads with several tanks full of oxygen and they generously stopped by our hospital on their way back and sold us two of their bottles. Those two bottles were critical. By the time we were able to get our next refill of oxygen, we were down to the equivalent of 1.75 tanks split between 3 tanks.
– Our two working oxygen concentrators have prevented us from running out of oxygen multiple times.
– Our need for oxygen has correlated remarkably with our oxygen supply. When our oxygen supply was running low, our oxygen requirements also decreased.
– Towards the beginning of this crisis, the oxygen supply lasted far longer than we predicted, reminding us of the story of Elijah and the widow of Zarephath whose jar of flour and jug of oil never ran out.
– Ricardo, our CFO, knew the right people in Les Cayes to make sure we had priority at the oxygen filling station. One of the other hospitals gave us their place so that we could get oxygen sooner. Ricardo went down with the team on his wife’s birthday in order to make sure that they were able to successfully fulfill their mission.
– Our driver, Janvier, and oxygen manager, Justin, have made multiple trips to Les Cayes and have driven in the dark, in the rain, for long hours without any serious accidents. Our vehicle broke down on one trip and had to be towed 4 hours back to the hospital, but they were unharmed. They have also made several trips into town and have been on the road during shootings between gangs and between the gangs and the police, but have been able to make it back safely.
– I was a little worried that once I left campus for this short trip to the US that our oxygen supply might run out since I was not there to keep a close eye on our oxygen supply status, but despite continued and even worse road conditions, oxygen tanks have been delivered to our neighborhood depot so we have been able to keep up our supply more easily. During the 2 weeks I was there, oxygen tanks were only delivered once to the neighborhood depot. Our COO, Mackenson, has been doing an excellent job coordinating things in my absence.

I lift up my eyes to the mountains—where does my help come from? My help comes from the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth.
– Psalm 121:1-2

Oxygen bottles have never looked so beautiful to me before.
Janvier, Justin, and Ricardo with our first batch of oxygen tanks filled in Les Cayes.


Leaving for Delimart in 30 mins. Normally our expat group goes to Delimart (the grocery store a quarter mile away) in the volunteer pickup truck, but this time we are going with Mr. Michel, our hospital’s most trusted ambulance driver. I grab my shopping bags, purse, put on my shoes and say I’ll be back to Jeff and the girls. Walking toward the gate I look down and realized I put on my Adidas sandals – not the best shoes for running away. Oh well.. wait, I forgot a mask too. Okay good, I’ll get a mask and change my shoes. We all hop into the ambulance and have an uneventful trip to Delimart. The roads are busy, not as many street vendors, but the store is pretty well stocked today. A good sign. Yay for almond milk and kale! 

We have been taking precautions. The roads to town have been blocked for days due to gang warfare. It’s been a battle of territories for our neighboring gangs. Civilians are not targeted purposefully but many have been displaced. We gather clothing, towels, sheets, hygiene products and money to be distributed to the refugees. 

We don’t feel threatened at the hospital and plan to stay put until we hear otherwise. We pray for God’s protection. With our human eyes we see suffering and destruction, but as God opened the eyes of Elisha and his servant to see the angelic army surrounding them, we too can be assured that His angels are surrounding us.

“The angel of the LORD encamps all around those who fear Him, And delivers them.”

Psalms 34:7

No Haste and No Delay

We welcomed our second daughter, Selah, into the world right on her due date, which occurs only 5% of the time according to a quick Google search. Selah is truly is a gift to our family. She is so sweet and peaceful and brings such joy into our lives. Eden is adjusting as a big sister and has had some really sweet moments with Selah, which really warms our hearts as parents. It is hard to believe that our 2+ month paternity/annual leave is coming to end in just a couple weeks! We are very much looking forward to joining our community back in Haiti. Haiti is home and despite the continued political instability that has invaded our own neighborhood, we are planning on going back as scheduled unless we sense the Lord leading us otherwise.

There is one thing that could potentially hold up our current travel plans – Selah’s passport. We applied for her passport just over 6 weeks ago and paid the expedited passport fee, which is supposed to have a 4-6 week turnaround time. We submitted the passport application prior to receiving Selah’s social security card,p=p which may have caused another delay, since we had to send it in by mail at a later date and it just arrived on March 30. I’m not sure if that resets the 4-6 week clock to March 30 – I hope not! It was supposed to arrive earlier, but USPS seems to be slower than usual, possibly due to COVID.

In any case, not having the passport in hand makes our travel in less than 2 weeks less than certain. It’s possible to get a passport expedited even more by making an appointment at a Passport Agency or Center, but slots are extremely limited and currently the online scheduling portal says, “No appointments are available due to limited capacity. Please contact us for help”. When I tried calling the number listed, I was told that our only option at this point is to try to check for cancellations at the nearby Passport Agencies and hope to secure an appointment. Or hopefully it just arrives in the mail before we need to travel.

Like many things in life, this is out of our hands. But thankfully, it’s still in God’s. This morning, I read the following quote in the Desire of Ages, which brought me peace regarding the timing of Selah’s passport:

“But like the stars in the vast circuit of their appointed path, God’s purposes know no haste and no delay” – The Desire of Ages 32.1

God’s timing is always perfect. We have experienced this multiple times in our lives and this is yet another time when we need to surrender to His timing once again. Whatever happens, we can rest in the fact that He is in control and He is taking care of us, making sure that whatever is for our eternal good, He will accomplish in His time. We are looking forward to seeing how he leads us in the next couple weeks!

Selah’s passport photos

By His Spirit

“Should I fly back early?”

Starting January 26, the CDC required a negative COVID test for all international travelers entering the US. Michelle and Eden were staying with Michelle’s parents since Michelle was nearing full term. I had returned to Haiti with plans to fly back out on January 31. Our hospital had a leadership prayer retreat scheduled January 30 and I had helped plan the retreat, so I really wanted to be there. But the new testing requirements brought a number of unknown variables into the equation:

  • Where would I get tested? The one place that I knew of that offered COVID testing for travelers declared that they were running out of reagents and wouldn’t be able to test travelers. Even if I was able to get tested through the government (they weren’t testing travelers either), results often took more than 3 days to come back, which would not be accepted by the airlines. Would it be possible for us to be tested at our own hospital? We were not able to purchase any from our main lab supplier because they had sold out and were on backorder. Thankfully, Scott was able to secure a small number of rapid tests that would arrive before my scheduled departure, but then we discovered that we were not a government-approved testing site, so the airlines would not accept our test results.
  • What if I test positive for COVID? I could be an asymptomatic carrier. People here don’t routinely get tested for COVID, even if they have classic symptoms, so I may have been exposed. I found out that someone I had been in contact with recently tested positive, but thankfully our encounter had not met criteria for exposure. 
  • What if I get sick? I get upper respiratory infections (URI’s) easily and a number of people around me were sick and a lot of Haitians come to see the doctor during this “cold” season for URI’s. 
  • What if Michelle goes into labor early? Some of our friends had recently gone into labor early, which made this possibility even more real to us. 

With all these questions swirling around in our minds, I bought tickets to fly out on January 25, the day before the CDC order was supposed to go into effect. 

The main reason I wanted to stay was the prayer retreat. The theme of our retreat was “Praying God’s Promises for HAH”. The purpose of the retreat was to ask the Lord for His vision for HAH and our theme verse was Jeremiah 33:3 “Call to Me, and I will answer you, and show you great and mighty things, which you do not know.” And in preparation for the retreat, Irma led us in 10 days of prayer by sending out a Bible promise to claim for our hospital each day. I was really looking forward to seeing the great and mighty things God had in store for HAH. 

The main reason I wanted to return early was obvious: to ensure that I did not miss the birth of our second daughter. If I was stuck in Haiti, it would make postpartum life a lot more difficult for Michelle and her parents. One of the verses that I spent time in during this time was Matthew 7:12, the Golden Rule. Since the ramifications of the decision would affect Michelle more than me, I wanted her to be the primary decision-maker and I resolved to be supportive of whichever choice she was more comfortable with. 

We considered our situation from a variety of different angles. One way I looked at the choice was: which consequence would I regret more? Missing the retreat or missing the birth of our second child? When I looked at it that way, the answer was clear. But is that the way God wanted us to approach this? “For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.” (2 Timothy 1:7) There certainly was a lot of fear and anxiety underlying our thought process, but ultimately, we wanted to follow the Lord’s leading by His Spirit. After laboring in prayer and going back and forth on the issue multiple times, Michelle gave me her answer: she was at peace with me coming on my original scheduled flight. “Who can find a virtuous wife? For her worth is far above rubies…But a woman who fears the Lord, she shall be praised.” (Proverbs 31)

The Lord was gracious to us. I’m writing this in the company of my lovely wife. Despite increasing insecurity and protests in the area, I was able to get a COVID test at a government-approved lab downtown and I tested negative. I didn’t run into any issues at the airport or on my journey back.

The retreat was a blessed experience with our hospital leadership. We spent time in nature on the beautiful Adventist university campus up the street. We reflected on Jeremiah 33:3, an incredibly encouraging promise God gave to His people during a particularly challenging time in Israel’s history. We were inspired to seek God’s vision as leaders at HAH, rather than relying on our vision, which is often clouded by discouragement and human limitations. We spent more than an hour that morning waiting on the Lord, individually or in small groups, asking Him for His plans for our hospital. We came back together and shared how God had inspired us during our time of reflection and we each shared Bible promises that we wanted to claim for HAH this year. After a simple meal back on the HAH campus, we prayed together as a group and closed the Sabbath hours singing praises to Him in the HAH chapel. It was a time of sweet fellowship in the Lord and a time to hone in on our mission “to continue the healing ministry of Jesus Christ by providing quality care to all classes of people”.  We are looking forward to seeing where God leads us as we continue to claim His promises in prayer. Some of us have started reading “Steps to Personal Revival” by Helmut Haubeil together and we are confident that as we continually and repeatedly ask for His Holy Spirit, God will keep His Promise to fill us with streams of Living Water that will overflow to our staff, our patients, and our community!

HAH Leadership Prayer Retreat

I will leave you with a few of the promises we are claiming for HAH this year:

  • “If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask Him!” (Luke 11:13)
  • “Can a woman forget her nursing child, and not have compassion on the son of her womb? Surely they may forget, Yet I will not forget you. See, I have inscribed you on the palms of My hands (Isaiah 49:15-16)
  • “Have I not commanded you? Be strong and of good courage; do not be afraid, nor be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.” (Joshua 1:9)


Selah… It’s a term used in the book of Psalms that means to praise or to pause and reflect upon what has been said. Now that a year has passed, it’s a time to pause, a time to praise.  

When we moved to Haiti, we knew we were entering a troubled country. The reality is that we don’t go out much because of the increase in gang violence, kidnappings and protests. We often hear the nightly “fireworks” that has become background noise to our bedtime routines. The terrible stories that trickle into the hospital are heartbreaking and the struggle of the local people are real. However, despite what goes on outside our hospital gates, we feel relatively safe within our compound and live our day to day lives without too much worry. Some days are hopeful and some painfully slow as a stay at home mom stuck on a compound. Some days we are burdened with heavy hearts while other days we are overjoyed with relief. 

In summary of the last 13 months since we moved to Haiti—we’ve transitioned to life in a low-income country, faced the reality of racial profiling when COVID19 hit this country, took an unexpected 3.5 month furlough after evacuating Haiti, returned to Haiti in July to find that COVID19 did not affect the Haitians too adversely, transitioned back to compound life now with a growing fetus, and continued to establish our missionary work with the hospital and the community. We found ways to stay sane from our isolated life by taking a couple beach days, a weekend getaway and a visit back to California during Thanksgiving. It was nice to be with family for part of the holiday but we were also looking forward to spending time with our HAH missionary family before heading back to the states for the arrival of baby #2. 

The week was busy with holiday plans—our dear friends Jo and Jonrey’s wedding at the mountain house, Christmas lunch, Eden’s birthday party as well as hospital events during the week. The week was going well. Our friends had a beautiful, intimate wedding and we attended a couple hospital events. Then Christmas morning we heard the news… Irma and her dad never made it home last night. Our stomachs dropped as the thoughts raced through our heads. Was it an accident? A shooting? A kidnapping? Are we mistaken? Let it not be true… The kidnapping was confirmed. The next four days we bound our hearts in prayer and clung to the promises in Psalms. “Hear my prayer, O Lord, give ear to my supplications: in thy faithfulness answer me, and in thy righteousness” Psalm 143:1. “Wait on the LORD; Be of good courage, And He shall strengthen your heart; Wait, I say, on the LORD!” Psalms‬ ‭27:14‬. We were hopeful but at times disheartened and discouraged. Our holiday plans became an excuse to keep our minds occupied. Then, finally, we heard the sweet, sweet news. They were released… the overwhelming joy and relief brought tears to our eyes. We embraced and prayed our praises to God. “Oh, give thanks to the LORD, for He is good! For His mercy endures forever “Psalms‬ ‭118:29‬. Never has the Psalms come to life for us as it did in these moments of desperation and despair for our dear friend and her father. We are so grateful for God’s promises, His deliverance for Irma and Pastor Henry, His salvation and victory. 

This time of uncertainty brought our expat missionary community together in a special way. I’m so grateful for the people here who have become our family and greatest support in this missionary life. We were all grateful and cherished the time we got to visit Irma and her family the day after her release and are amazed by their faith. Despite the recent events and hardships, they are declaring praises to the Lord. Amazing, inspiring and beautiful. 

Reunited with our dear Irma.

“You are my hiding place; You shall preserve me from trouble; You shall surround me with songs of deliverance.”


Psalms‬ ‭32:7‬

God will take care of you…

It’s Monday night, March 23. The routine is the same, but our hearts ache. Nurse Eden, brush her teeth, read her bedtime story, pray and sing her lullaby. We start singing the verse, “No matter what may be the test, God will take care of you” and tears stream from his eyes. We don’t know when Jeff will be able to sing to Eden again. It could be weeks, it could be months. To lighten the mood, Eden thinks Daddy is laughing and starts to chuckle. We end the song in tears and laughter. 


Jeff has started working but things have been slow paced as he eases himself into the workings of the hospital. We begin adjusting to our routines and settle into our new space. Eden begins to walk more confidently outside with the rocks, leaves, flowers, dogs and chickens. Despite the poverty and crime all around us, life is peaceful within the hospital gates. We feel safe in our little compound with eight missionaries living in a fenced off area. It’s breezy and the sun shines.

On Sabbath afternoon, we take our usual walk around the neighborhood and up into the hills. We receive the familiar stares and “Chinwa” (Chinese) comments that I have come to understand, but this time was different. As we keep walking, some utter “Kowonaviris” and others cover their nose and mouth. I begin to sense the reality of our situation if COVID-19 enters Haiti. How will the people respond? There is a possible case of COVID-19 in the north and we discover the man being tested is getting harassed by the Haitian people…

Our missionary community prays that God would spare Haiti from the virus, but on the night of March 19 we receive the news. Two cases of COVID-19 have been confirm in Haiti, and country is on lockdown. Airports, ports, schools, churches and factories have been shut down. A countrywide curfew has been mandated. It seems that we won’t be going anywhere any time soon. What does this mean for the hospital? What does this mean for our family and fellow missionaries? Jeff gets to work immediately coordinating with the other administrators, planning for a screening process, and implementing what he can with the other volunteers and hospital workers. His once slow-paced days are now in full force. However, things seem to move frustratingly slow while the weight of responsibility bears down on his shoulders.

Every day we receive decision-altering news. We are staying in Haiti through this crisis to support the hospital. We will be safe. Will we be safe? Some predict a humanitarian crisis so electricity, food and safe water may not be available. What will that mean for Eden? Maybe it’s not safe. Asians and Whites are not welcome by the community. Foreigners are bringing COVID-19. The hospital will be in danger. They are threatening to burn down the hospital. Maybe we need to leave. We can’t leave. We are at a loss. After the airports closed, we hear about repatriation flights that will evacuate foreigners to the U.S for only a few days. Jeff needs to stay and work for the hospital, but perhaps Eden and I should leave. But how can we separate our family and for how long? Weeks? Months? Eden will be running and Daddy will miss it. Eden will be talking and Daddy will miss it. We keep praying for wisdom, and the answer is unclear. The morning of Monday, March 23 comes and we need to make a decision and get a flight booked for the next day. I don’t want to leave, but what about Eden? We are leaving.

That night we have a nice dinner with the other missionaries and the Haitian administrator’s family. After dinner we discuss our plans. Four missionaries, including Jeff, will be staying to help the hospital. Soon after, we receive news that the hospital leadership is very concerned about the community’s reaction to foreigners being at the hospital. Some community members are threatening the hospital and things could escalate fast. The Haitian administrators make it clear – we must all leave. It’s for our safety, and for the safety of the hospital. The gravity of the news sinks in, coming from leaders who are well connected with the pulse of the community. It’s not what we want to hear, but we all know, God has answered our prayer. It’s time to go. God’s timing has been revealed. By Wednesday, March 25, all the missionaries leave Haiti Adventist Hospital (HAH) with heavy hearts.

Jeff, Eden and I are back in Loma Linda for an indefinite time. We are so grateful that our family is able to stay together, but our hearts go out to HAH. The devastation of COVID-19 in high-income countries has been unprecedented, however, a crisis like this in the poorest country in the western hemisphere could be catastrophic. Jeff and the other missionaries are doing what they can to help remotely, but those on the front lines at HAH are the ones meeting this challenge face to face. We ask for your prayers.

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart, And lean not on your own understanding, in all your ways, acknowledge Him, And He shall direct your paths.” Proverbs 3:5

Waiting at Port-au-Prince airport for 9 hours.
Boarding the charter flight from PAP to MIA


We just arrived home in Haiti a couple hours ago. We are jet-lagged, but in good health after traveling from Thailand with an extended layover in LA to pick up our baggage from our previous home in Loma Linda, which still feels like home too. The last 3 weeks, we have been in Chiang Mai at a mission training course provided by the SDA church, which was an incredible experience! I loved every moment of it! On the last day of class, we were asked to share the things we were grateful for and for some reason, I became teary-eyed as people were sharing. I didn’t even share what I was grateful for, but being in a room full of people dedicated to missions, pouring out their gratitude to God moved me. During the course, I learned a lot about transitions, culture, and missions. Many interactions I’ve had with other cultures in the past started to make more sense. Our instructors and fellow classmates, some of whom have been missionaries for many years, shared from their rich experiences, which was encouraging and inspiring. And spending time with these people for 3 weeks was a tremendous blessing in itself. Eden went to day care for the first time, so that both Michelle and I could attend class and she loved it! Her teachers and classmates took such good care of her. Our classes and Eden’s day care were all located on the 3rd floor of the hotel we stayed at and on our last day in Thailand, I wandered onto the 3rd floor and saw what it looked like normally when it wasn’t set up for Mission Institute. Our discussion tables were put away. The library of books on the tables in the back of the room was gone. Eden’s day care room was bare. All the people were gone. I felt a sense of loss seeing this. The feeling reminded me of how I felt as a kid leaving Yosemite after spending a few days there with my family and friends, reveling in God’s beautiful nature with the people I loved the most. I guess I got attached…more than I realized. But it’s time to say goodbye, to the place at least. I will cherish the memories and the lessons learned. And I’m hoping this is just the beginning of the relationships we’ve made with the other missionary families. It’s time to live out what we’ve learned. On the way back to Haiti, I thought about many blessings God has poured on us:
– One of the couples we connected with at Mission Institute, Russell and Jenene, babysat Eden for a few nights so that Michelle and I could go on date nights
– We had an extra seat on all our flights back so Eden had more room to move around. On the long flight from Hong Kong to LAX, we had a bassinet, which helped a lot with Eden’s naps and playtime.
– My sister Jennifer picked us up from LAX late at night and drove us all the way to Loma Linda and then drove home, even though she had work the next morning
– We were able to see a few of our friends in Loma Linda during our brief stay, including Eden’s BFF, Ellie
– Michelle’s brother, Elliot, helped us unload and check in our luggage at LAX, which would have been extremely difficult without him, especially because we were on a time crunch and I had to return the rental car
– We made it to Port-au-Prince safely with all 6 check-ins, 3 carry ons, 3 personal items, a stroller, car seat, and car seat base, all of which seem to be in good condition
– Eden was not upset for most of the flights, which isn’t always the case, so we were very grateful
– Eden was having some GI issues right before we started traveling, but it completely resolved by the time we started traveling back
– Michelle wasn’t feeling well once we got to Loma Linda, but once we were in the air again, she felt much better
– I’ve had a sore throat on and off the last couple days, but it seems to have resolved without progressing, which is unusual for me
– We made it from the airport to our home on the hospital compound without incident aside from heavy traffic
– We are here with renewed passion and are excited to join God and His people in His work
– We are part of a worldwide movement dedicated to sharing the gospel to the whole world
I’m sure I could go on for a while, but that’s what’s coming to mind at the moment. I’m going to join my family in taking a nap now…



Written during a brief pitstop in Loma Linda.

We have spent 6 weeks in Haiti and now we are back in Loma Linda for a few days before we head to Thailand for Mission Institute Training. Spending the last couple days back in the States has been such a sweet treat. Everything is noticeably bigger, faster, organized, clean, quiet, and so luxuriously comfortable. Just 24 hours of the American life makes Haiti feel like a distant dream. The chaos of the streets, buzzing tap taps, motorcycles and cars utilizing every inch of the road, the chickens, goats, cats and dogs looking for their next meal, black water and garbage collecting and flowing in the streets, the smells, the suffering… How are these worlds so different? How is it so easy to forget about the unfortunate places of this earth when you enter into a hedge of comfort? This hedge is cozy and warm.

Aboard the ambulance airport transport with empty suitcases.
PAP airport
Quick visit with family.
En route to Chiang Mai