Friday, December 13, 2013

How I Learned to Say Thanks With the Smallest of Lists

Family withstanding because they are all MVPs.
Year One - Sandy Wilkins
Sandy is historically a nurse, but she does it all. She was my main contact at Christianville before I moved and my primary coach and cheerleader once I arrived. I would have been more than a little lost acquiring meds and supplies without her advice and Excel spreadsheets. She and her husband, Jim, showed me around Port, invited me over for Bible study and movies, and made sure I was progressing in understanding the culture. As Americans, most of our interactions happened over food. The first time we sat down to a meal together she told me she was recruiting an American Physician Assistant for their clinic and we could probably get married. Which brings me to...
Year Two - Teresa Murphy / Price 
Well I don't like feeling manipulated, but this instance worked out great! Teresa is a controversial pick for Y2 MVP because she is family and my MVP every day, but she so overshadows everything else from that year that I must hand her the award. Besides all the lovey-dovey stuff (she turned me into a poet, exhibitionist, board-game player and happily married man) she showed me a new, winsome side of the island. I think it was the South West.
Year Three - David Elliott 
I met David and was married in his Eustis, Florida church in Year Two. He and his sweet wife Evelyn were here for the earthquake of early 2010. Looking back on that time, I think I would have been content to sit looking at my broken clinic with ashes on my head. David was understanding and encouraging and helped me get to working and thinking again. We blacked out a school room together to serve as a temporary clinic, salvaged a lot of the stuff from our old building and talked about what it would take to restore / rebuild. I think he even let me beat him at cards once.
*Honorable Mention - Joe Jasperse
It was always great to get UNLEASHED with J.J.
Year Four - James Gray
Everybody, consider dropping the hand-wringing about your life plan and go James Gray style. If the Lord puts you here or there just go at it 100%. I hate to use a cliche speaking about James, because it's remarkable the way he doesn't use any. I stopped by to visit with him and his wife, Val, just before my Titus was born. Their crazy, wonderful, vibrant house was a reflection of the life they were living together. I don't know how James took my ramblings and sketches and turned them into a blueprint for an eye clinic, but he did and it's going up now.
Year Five - Chris Thompson
It was great to have my brother-friend here for several months. I admire Chris for all the work he put in to get to Haiti and what he did with his neighbors while here. It's easy and normal to feel isolated in a different culture, but Chris was a good example to me of opening up and enjoying the nationals. His kids and marriage are older than mine, so I was able to pick up a few things about being a dad and a husband. I'll miss our trips to Port together, talking books and movies and his clothing choices. (Keen sandals, cargo shorts and a Warren Moon jersey aren't acceptable as attire in any government offices in any country)
Year Six - Teresa Price
Yeah, yeah. Don't even start about her eligibility. She's been a champ for me and becoming stronger in so many areas. Moving like we are is a difficult thing for me after six years here, but Teresa has been in Haiti twice as long and feels ten times more at home here. Even with that as background she's been nothing but supportive during our time of change. I am now almost used to how she takes care of her patients and family, but it has been a year of delight (and sometimes, incredulity) at how she takes care of her relationships.
Year Seven - TBD

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Beginning of the End

As most of you know, Teresa and I are getting ready to move back to the U.S. I sent this letter to my financial supporters a couple of weeks ago. There are some who won't be reached on the FCO mailing list, so the reprint here is for you.
Our family will be moving back to the United States at the end of the year. It has been my pleasure to serve as the optometrist for the ChristianVision Eye Services to Haiti clinic since 2007.

For six years my counselors, encouragers and co-laborers have been many. If I should begin to list all I might not make an end of this letter and we would all be older for reading the start of it. Instead, I am thanking you who have made no less of a spiritual impact, and perhaps the greatest practical one.

As a young man it was strange for me to know I would  be living as a child again--my livelihood coming at the hands of others. When many aspects of going on the field could have rightly given me pause, it was the thought of asking for money that haunted me. I could steel myself to raise support only after realizing this:  You who would contribute knew God had a call on your life and possessions. I didn’t have to persuade because you were already resolved.

The same thought gives me some confidence as my family prepares to return to the U.S. As individual missionaries we are not reproducible, but we are replaceable. As God wills, others will go and you, me and others will give.

Please don’t give up on us yet. Until the end of 2013, we will still be living on support. As you decide what to do with your contributions, I hope that many or all of you have been convinced of the great need of primary eye care in Haiti. Anything you give in 2014 will go towards the continuation of the eye clinic at Christianville Mission. I have great faith in David and Lori Geddes, our U.S. directors, to extend provision for our employed Haitian families and thousands of patients.

With more thanks than I can say,

Friday, June 7, 2013

It's Nice to be Wrong

Doc, my glasses are finished.
No, they're not.
Doc, you didn't give me a prescription.
Yes, I did.
Doc, I can't see anything at all out of my left eye.
Well that's not true. We already checked your vision when you came in and you're doing pretty well.
Doc, I put the drops in four times a day, just like you said.
That's not what I said. Look. I wrote it down.

Monday, April 1, 2013

No Fooling, Samuel's Here

I may have burned some bridges last April 1st; if you are still following and believing, we have great news!

Our third child, and second boy, Samuel George Price was born at 2:11pm. It was the quickest and most straightforward delivery for Teresa yet. We are so glad to be out of the pregnancy woods and into the new life light. Samuel weighed 8 lb 6 oz, which is average for one of our kids. He's got quite a bit of brown hair and his eyes are brown, if I'm not deceived (no one's handed me an ophthalmoscope).

Samuel is a name Teresa had reserved for a boy since the time she was a little girl.
George is Ryan's maternal grandfather's name. 

Many thanks to our family who have supported on and before this day. Thank you, as well, to Dr. Cynthia Cater and RMC's labor and delivery staff. Mom and baby are doing great.

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Trade from Green Bay

The calendar keeps changing. Thank you, God, for moving the hearts of these eye doctors. We pray you would move their bodies well too--especially Dr. Landwehr, who will have four flights before she reaches us. Sandra Landwehr, O.D. is our latest acquisition in an off season move from Green Bay, Wisconsin. She will be the anchor leg for our visiting docs, as my family hopes to be back in Haiti for the start of May.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Like Mike

From his website, .
I'm happy to say the clinic will benefit from the work of Dr. Mike Hutton during April 2013. Mike is one of three doctors that has stepped up to keep the clinic going while my family is out this Spring.

Dr. Hutton, or D-Mike as he's known to many of the optometry students he has mentored, has been leading teams to Christianville for over 20 years. He's just as likely to roof something or throw on his clown suit while he's at the mission, but his Nittany Lion-festooned scrubs have been a fixture in our morning clinic during the five years I've known him. I appreciate his expertise and servant's heart.

If you want to be like Mike, there are a few slots left in the calendar below.

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Grateful, Great Empty

I was really happy to hear from Lori Geddes O.D. and Rob Svensen O.D. this week. They will be able to fill in for me the first part of our trip in March.

We are still looking for volunteers for the end of March and the month of April.

The only way to replace the unsettling green with soothing blue in the chart below is to find docs that will be willing to see our patients, here, while I am gone. Thanks to Lori and Rob and the other doctors davans.