In the Summer of 2001 we went on our first international missions trip to the Dominican Republic. The experience completely transformed our outlook on life and ministry. Vicki felt called to quit her job and learn Spanish. Within 3 weeks we met with the founder of G.O. (Brook Brotzman) and 2 weeks after that Vicki had put in her notice. Thus began the wild ride of living on God’s provision through the gifts of others. We, like all staff with G.O., raise our own support so as to not take funds away from the work being done abroad. God has been faithful every step of the way.
We filled much needed support roles at the office state-side and traveled back and forth to the Dominican Republic. Over the course of 7 years we spent about 3 years on Hispaniola, helping facilitate teams and serving the people of the Dominican and Haiti. In January of 2005 we were making the move to the island full time and discovered in January of that year that we were pregnant. We discovered in Spanish with our Dominican O.B. that we were having twins.
We returned state-side in early June to finish off our third trimester with the expectation to return after the girls were born. Our first visit to our state-side O.B. revealed that we had a very high risk pregnancy; we were having monoamniotic twins. We were in the hospital almost 2 weeks after our return home and were delivering almost 2 weeks later. Our girls came at 29 weeks, 2 ½ months early. When they got out of the NICU they failed their hearing screening and it was confirmed 4 months later by their audiologist that they had severe to profound hearing loss in both ears due to a recessive genetic trait that Vicki and I both carry, Connexin 26. At 14 months old Sophi and Raena received Cochlear Implants and began intensive therapy with a teacher of the deaf, developmental interventionist and speech therapist. Today they attend the Heuser Hearing and Language Institute . They speak and sign.
Our daughters’ deafness has made us mindful of the deaf in the DR and Haiti in a way we were not before. We are beginning to dream about possibilities of how we might intentionally reach out to these people in the future.
The support needed for our daughters is not available in the Dominican Republic which led us back to working state-side at the international headquarters. Since 2005 our roles with the ministry have transitioned and we now serve as 2 of the 4 key leaders (the others being Tim Krauss and John Martinez) of the ministry under Brook. Vicki works in tandem with Tim regarding teams and supervises everything related to the development of our teams, G.O. Kids, office staff and promotional material. Jeff supervises everything related to Partnership development, On-going training and Kingdom Business and works in tandem with John Martinez with the National Partners. Together we both represent G.O. Ministries networking and developing new relationships and visiting churches in order to help further the ministry initiatives of G.O. all over the world. We still spend about one to two months out of the year in the Dominican.
We believe that God’s Kingdom work is both local and global. We are always called to both. Since circumstances have required us to remain based state-side we have made an effort to be faithful to the local call by living intentionally and incarnationally in the inner-city, hoping our presence and neighboring in Jesus name will be a service to the community. It’s been exciting to see how God has connected us with some of our neighbors over the past year. He has connected us with urban allies who had already been living in our specific neighborhood missionally prior to our arrival. We are currently dreaming of ways G.O. can become involved in some specific ministry initiatives in our ‘hood.
So this is who we are and what we’re up to. Micah 6:8 is a passage of Scripture that is always before us. We desire to love mercy, do justice and walk humbly before God more and more each day. May we each grow into his Kingdom as we await its fulfillment.
Grace and Peace,