This has been one heck of a year. Thankful doesn’t even begin to describe how I feel about all of us being together – alive and healthy – after multiple crazy traumas. Over the course of a few months it felt like everything that could go wrong did: Adam’s foot had gotten worse so he wasn’t able to fly back to the DR, I continued to hold things together in the DR along with having a newborn, Emily broke her arm, our water pump kept breaking and flooding the yard (which meant we had no running water inside either), and ultimately the worst – one of our children became very, very sick almost didn’t make it – twice she faced emergency surgeries, and the doctors prepared me for the worst both times.
When it rains, it pours… right?
This fall I spent a month with Camila admitted to various hospital (first in San Juan and later in Santo Domingo). She had a severe bowel obstruction that should have caused a fatal sepsis. God was merciful. Our sweet and spunky little girl had the odds stacked against her but she made it.
As Camila continues to recover we have settled into a good routine for taking care of her colostomy. At first it was challenging due to the tropical climate here. Not only were flies attracted to her but she would also sweat which caused the base of the bag to not stick the right way and then more flies would be attracted to her – a vicious cycle to say the least! However, we’ve jumped those hurdles and she has completely adapted to life with a colostomy bag. She is back to jumping, running and bossing all of us around – the sassy Cami we all love! Her next and final surgery will be March 8, 2023 at Mott Children’s Hospital in Michigan. This should be the final surgery, they will remove the colostomy and reconnect her colon. Afterwards, she needs to stay in the States for 6 weeks for recovery. So, as a family we are going to take advantage of that time to come home. By then it will be close to 2 full years since we’ve all been in Michigan. We are embracing that gift of time – even though it comes at the cost of a 3rd surgery.
Though it’s been a doozy of a year personally, it’s also been a very fruitful year for BBOH. We hosted two teams (one from St Mary in Pinckney and one from University of St Francis). We’ve started a new Youth Outreach program with Olivia Kumke, our new long term volunteer. Olivia is doing Christian ballet classes and helping with youth programming for the parish in our small town. She has been such a blessing! Later this month we have an Advent Family Night where her classes will perform and we’ll do family centered reflections in preparation for Christmas – a first event of its kind for the area!
We also have a short term volunteer, Rob, who came to work for 3 weeks. His program fee allowed us to get back to remote communities (other than Rosa la Piedra) and provide medical consultations (something we haven’t had the funds to do since before COVID). The medical team visited Manyaya, Dos Bocas and Juan Cano, among other communities. Another huge blessing!
Looking into 2023 we have a few more teams scheduled than last year, but we would still love to have more! If you know of anyone interested in serving – individual people, parishes, youth groups or anything in between – please get them in contact with us!
Our home parish, St Mary in Pinckney, will be doing a spaghetti dinner hosted by the Knights of Columbus to raise money for our family. As a missionary family finances are typically very tight, but with all of the medical bills plus upcoming travel to the States, they have become overwhelming. We are VERY grateful to the Knights for hosting this event and to the parish for their help. We literally can only keep serving with your help – and we take your many sacrifices seriously. Thank you from the bottom of our hearts! ❤️❤️