Saturday, June 10, 2017

A Mission President's Transition Back to Work

Almost five years ago, when President was first called to preside over the Taiwan Taichung Mission, he was at that time serving as the Director of Surgery at Ventura County Medical Center (VCMC). Some sections of the hospital were built as far back as 1919!
Fortunately, a couple of years prior to our call, the surgical group had already moved to a brand new clinic behind the old hospital:
By the time we left for our mission, the ground had just been broken for a new hospital on the same property. Four years later (last night), I attended an open house for the new hospital. I was shocked! Where did this beautiful new building come from? My how things change when you leave on a mission!

Standing next to Mike Powers, CEO of Ventura County:
 New hospital lobby:
 And information desk:
 New surgical operating room:
 WOW, state-of-the-art DaVinci robotic surgical system!
 Orthopedic surgical room:
 Surgery Waiting Room:
 ICU Beds:
What beautiful patient rooms! Notice how the hospital is decorated in my favorite! And so many windows to let the light of hope in! And notice the window seat? The cushion transforms into a mattress where a family member can stay overnight with the patient. How many of you had to sleep on a chair-converted-to-chaise while your companion recovered in the hospital? Remember those long days/nights?!
 Only a sink and no toilet in the room?
 Haha, hide-a-potty!
The real miracle, however, is in President's transition back to work experience. They never told us this before we left for Taiwan, but now we can testify, that the fourth year of a mission is the hardest! When he first returned, he knew he had to catch up on CME (continuing medical education) credits in order to re-activate his medical license, which was inactivated while he was on leave for missionary work. So President spent the month of July studying and even attended a course in Chicago sponsored by the American College of Surgeons.

When all his CME requirements were met, he applied to the California Medical Board and was told he had to wait 5-6 weeks for his license to be activated. So he notified his colleagues, who had very graciously welcomed him back and offered him a position to return to the surgical group at VCMC. After Labor Day in September, he received notification that his license was reinstated and he reported to the surgical group that he was ready to return to work. NOT! More hoops to jump through!

Just as we had left for Taiwan in 2013, the American Medical Association began implementing strict guidelines for physicians to re-enter the work force after having taken two or more years of leave. These guidelines were enforced to insure that physicians leaving for drug addiction, mental health, illness, etc., be qualified to return to clinical practice. Now that President was returning to his clinical practice after laboring in the Lord's vineyard for three years, he had to participate in one of these "reentry programs." Fortunately, his partners were willing to fund the cost of the program, $14,000! Unfortunately, it would be another 8-10 weeks for the certifying program to develop a course tailored to President's practice:( Patience is truly a virtue that needs to be cultivated, and President was being given a lot of cultivation time!

Upon return from Taiwan, our son-in-law was heavy into a workout program. President got interested so our son-in-law gave him a 12-week workout program. Every day, President now had time to work out at the gym and return his body to shape. After all, he wasn't riding his bike 24-7 on the streets of Taiwan. As you all know, he spent many hours sitting behind his computer reading your wonderful letters every week!

In early October, President finally received a call that he could attend the reentry course/assessment in Denver later that month. Bad timing, we already had our trip planned to return to Taiwan for the 60th Anniversary Celebration of Missionary Work! So he had no choice but to postpone until the end of October. Upon our return from Taiwan, President flew to Denver to complete the course of interviews, exams, evaluations, and skill demonstrations. Exiting the facility, he inquired as to how soon he could obtain his completion certificate; he was anxious to be reinstated to the Medical Staff at VCMC. He was curtly told that the evaluation would take another 8-10 weeks!

About mid-December, President finally finished his 12-week workout program. He's pretty dang buff now! And the following Monday, the assessment having been completed, almost six months after his return from Taiwan, President was officially back on the Medical Staff! I chided my son-in-law and told him that had he given President a 6-week workout program, he would have been back to work that much sooner!

So where's the miracle? As you can imagine, it becomes quite stressful when you start running out of money because you have no income coming in. You start wondering if you should take money out of your pension to pay the bills, or, even worse, borrow money from your children! One day, mid-October during choir practice, President noticed an email inquiring as to his W-4 information. He thought there must be some mistake, because he was not yet on any payroll! However, he found out he had been approved to start receiving a salary though he was not able to fully return to practice. We felt that this was an incredible blessing, one that came after continual prayers, and was a witness to us that the Lord really and truly does take care of His missionaries!


  1. It is sweet to see the Lord's hand in our lives. Especially when the tough times get so close.

  2. Those tender mercies just keep coming. We were blessed to serve two missions in Taiwan, and when we had two children on missions simultaneously, I had never earned more and received more blessings. Hope year five is smoother! :-)

  3. I loved reading this. Thanks for sharing your miracle stories with us!! I'll be heading to the gym now.... ;)

  4. What a journey! And thank you so much for keeping the blog going!