We have had TWO sets of friends visit us in Benin! This is so crazy to me and does my heart so much good. Our friends, the Hickey’s, have been central to our lives since the beginning of med school and Kirk came to serve as an anestheiologist on board and his wife, Jennifer and 3 amazing kids came too! I have lots of words written about them, but Jennifer is also writing about her experience on board and I’m going to post those together. (no pressure Jenn…:)
We now have some friends serving on the ship, Todd and Joli Beasley. It’s so cool to see two worlds collide.
Have you ever met someone and after getting to know them, you realize they have woven through your life way more than you can ever have imagined? This is happening to me.
When Brian did residency in Birmingham, AL we didn’t know anyone. We attended a Bible Study and I met two incredible girls, Katie and Kali. They were both from Oklahoma. Throughout the year I began to be drawn to them and God used so many things they said to specifically speak to my heart at specific times. Kali would often start with “my sister says…” or “my sister does…” The first time I knew I really liked them was while eating at their house, we finished eating and we ALL did the dishes together immediately! It was so fun, and having us over wasn’t a performance, it was truly about us just enjoying each other. And, she didn’t have to stay up way after we left washing dishes all alone. Katie and Kali are the types of people you feel right at home with and like you’ve known your entire life.
Kali was an ophthalmology resident at the time… therefore crazy busy. Our first year in Birmingham was their last year. I remember my brother telling me a million years ago, “if you want a mentor, don’t ask them to coffee or to carve out time for you, ask them how you can help them.” I knew I didn’t have much more time with Kali, and I knew I needed some more Kali wisdom in my life… so I showed up at her house to help her pack when they were getting ready to move. I remember my jaw hitting the floor as she described her family and their faith journey. I also remember as we went through her stuff, she would say things like “my sister would say I don’t need all these cheap picture frames.”
Fast forward a bit, and Kali’s mom was very, very sick. She was in the hospital for a very long time and the outcome didn’t look good. I prayed and prayed for that family, and would check Kali’s sister’s blog each day to know how she was doing. Her words would go straight to my heart. There she was, suffering a great deal, and her writing was ministering to me! Her mom made a miraculous, amazing recovery thanks to God, and I still hold on to those words written during that time.
Fast forward 4 years and I found myself sitting in a mexican restaurant in Tulsa, OK with Kali’s sister and her husband! The famous “Kali’s sister!” Kali’s sister’s husband, Todd, was the head of the anesthesia department at a hospital in Tulsa. Kali had mentioned Brian to Todd, and we found ourselves sitting there interviewing for a job at a hospital in Tulsa. Brian started working in Tulsa shortly after and Todd became not only an anesthesia mentor to Brian, but a mentor in being a husband, father and follower of Jesus.
Fast forward a few years and my sister-in-law’s very close friend is struggling with aggressive cancer. When I inquired about her doctor, it was no other than Kali’s husband! He walked with that family through the most horrible experience I can imagine.
Fast forward 7 years, and I was sitting on a ship this week with…. Kali’s sister, Joli! She was sitting next to me as she shared and poured honest, valuable mothering advice to me and my international friends. All the “my sister” statements came back to me and I couldn’t help but be so overwhelmed with gratitude for this family. Did you follow all that?!?
Todd and Joli have supported us the past year and a half in so many ways, genuinely interested in our lives here and the mission. Now, they are actually physically here serving for two weeks. I’m so very grateful. Joli has no idea of the impact she has had on me and the ways God has used her in my life even before we met. Now, I’m thinking of all the other people who have tremendously impacted me, and they probably have no idea. Remember, you are impacting people for good or bad.
Thank YOU again for allowing us to be here and impacting us for good!