Thursday, September 13, 2007

My friend Dr. Jen

The other day we said goodbye, at least for a while, to a wonderful young lady named Jennifer Halverson.

No she didn't die. She left for Haiti.

Let me tell you about my friend Jen. I first met Jen when she was a naive, geeky looking freshman at Bethel University back in the mid-90's. She took theology from me and immediately stood out as an exceptional student. This, combined with the fact that I liked her sweet personality, led me to ask her to be my Teaching Assistant. She did this for two years and was outstanding! I tried hard to get her to pursue a higher degree in theology, but she (somewhat to my chagrin) decided her calling was medicine.

After graduating with a 4.0 she went on to Medical School and of course blew away the competition, getting one of the highest score in the country on her boards. After this she spent one year of residency at Harvard and finished up at the University of Minnesota. During this time, she managed a couple of mission trips to Haiti and did other good deeds along the way.

So here she is, finally done with all her schooling. You'd think a person with these medical qualifications would perhaps cash in on it a bit, earn the six-figure-plus income she deserves, pay off her medical school debts, get a nice car, buy some nice clothes. You'd think. But not Jen.

Jen decides to leave all the high buck opportunities behind as well as leave the people she knows and loves to work in a third world hospital! Why? Because the people of Haiti need her to.

In Haiti she'll work twice as hard as she would in the states while earning less per month than she would earn per hour if she stayed here. She'll have to attend to however many patients show up (usually a lot!), treat whatever illnesses or injuries they happen to have (there's little-to-no specialization in third world hospitals), work with limited help and even more severely limited resources.

If you assess Jen by "normal" American standards, she's an absolute idiot. But Jen knows that Kingdom people don't assess anything by "normal" standards. Kingdom people try and assess in terms of whether we're imitating Jesus and obeying God. And by these standards, Jen is hitting the bullseye! She's forsaking privilege to serve as God leads her and is thus advancing the Jesus-looking Kingdom.

I'm proud to know Jen! Though she would hate the tag, she's a model of Kingdom living for all of us.

Thank you Jen! We love you, miss you, and will keep you in our prayers!

In his Love


Jen plans to blog as she ministers in Haiti...check it out here.