Saturday, April 27, 2013

Leaving HAS

This is likely the most exciting update I’ve given in years!

As my contract with Hospital Albert Schweitzer (HAS) was up for renewal, I decided to see what other employment opportunities may be available for someone with my qualifications. I wasn’t looking to leave HAS, but simply to increase my salary (or at least make sure the salary I was receiving was competitive).

To me, it seemed the perfect timing because Partners in Health (PIH) was just ready to open their new Hôpital Universitaire de Mirebalais (HUM) not far from HAS/Deschapelles. I already had a great working relationship with their IT/medical informatics staff, and even knew their medical director. After sending my CV and passing through several interviews, I was informed that they wanted to give me a job offer. But first they wanted to communicate with HAS to let them know their intentions. HAS basically told PIH/HUM that it would be poaching to hire me. Instead, they designed an exhausting proposal to share me between the two organizations. All of that, and nearly two months later and I still had not heard what PIH had to offer me financially, which was the whole point of contacting them in the first place.

In frustration late one Friday night, I hopped on the Internet (on my phone while I was showing movies) and found contact info for an organization in the Grand'Anse. It sparked my interest and I emailed them immediately. I got a response from them Monday and then had contact from the person in charge of IT. On Tuesday we had a great discussion about their IT needs and goals, and how I could help meet them. During the call I felt the presence of the Holy Spirit several times. I got excited about the task at hand; something that didn’t happen during PIH’s discussions or visits. He said he was not responsible for hiring/firing, but he would make the recommendation to those in power to hire me.

Also, Tuesday morning I heard from PIH with what they had to offer financially. PIH asked what I made at HAS and was shocked by the low salary. HAS made little effort to raise my salary to approach PIH’s offer, not even over time. I was exhausted and frustrated by the months it took to get the offer from PIH and even more disappointed that HAS didn’t rise to the occasion and offer to significantly increase my salary.

This is how God works. He puts his people in positions where they are desperate for his power, and then he shows his provision in ways that display his greatness. (Quote from RADICAL, Taking Back Your Faith from the American Dream, by David Platt)

As I lay in bed exhausted Tuesday night, I kept calculating my options, thinking and praying. I finally decided that I had to put it into the Lord’s hands. I prayed something like this…

Lord Jesus, I’m exhausted by all of these contract negotiations. I want to be where you want me to be. If you want me to move to the Grand'Anse, I ask that you have them contact me tomorrow and offer me a package the same or equal to PIH’s offer (that took me 2 months to get). I pray that HAS would be unwilling to increase my salary above that offer. In Jesus Name, Amen.

Wednesday morning I got an email from the organization in the Grand'Anse asking when we could talk, so we did. They said whatever PIH had offered that they would match. They said to tell HAS I’m leaving and joining them. A few minutes later I talked with HAS. Just like God had hardened Pharaoh’s heart to let the Israelites go, God has hardened HAS’s heart, so I could go to where God want’s me!

I will continue to work in the IT / Medical Informatics field, as Manager of Informatics and Information Technologies. My initial task will be to setup an OpenMRS server and migrate their medical data. They are a slightly smaller operation than HAS, with their primary focus being at the community level.

I will have the same freedom for personal ministry there that I had with HAS. This will allow me to do media ministry on the side and host teams from time-to-time.

The most exciting (and scary) part of it all is where they are located. They are located in the only department (state) in Haiti where I have never showed movies before; the only place in Haiti where I don’t know anybody or have any contacts. (I feel like Abraham when God spoke to him and told him to “Go”.) They are based in Jeremie, in the far South West of Haiti, in the Grande Anse, 10 hours’ drive from the PAP airport.

I hope to move to Jeremie the end of May, and start working June 1st. 

Thank you so much for your prayers during this time of transition; tying up loose ends at HAS and media ministry near Deschapelles, selling unneeded items, packing and saying good bye.

What a fun ride! Kind of like a roller-coaster with the tall hills and curves, and the feeling of danger at every turn; with full knowledge that it has been well engineered and tested. I’m on a ride designed by THE ULTIMATE ENGINEER. I know He will carry me safely through to the debarkation platform (and beyond)!


  1. Congratulations, James, on this new chapter and best wishes to you!

  2. James, this is fantastic and encouraging news! It's a hard line to tow, knowing that you are giving over some incalculable portion of your life and income to the mission of your vocation and yet feeling under-appreciated. A few of us are lucky in that respect, and I think you just joined the ranks!

  3. Wow! What a journey! Congratulations on the new job and prayers that the move and everything will go smooth. =)

  4. James, glad to hear that you're going somewhere inspiring, and I look forward to continuing to work with you indirectly!

    1. I'm excited that I can still be a part of the OpenMRS community and even put another dot on the OpenMRS atlas! It's reassuring that you, "my hero", will still be there to help!

  5. Congratulations, James! It is important to be recognized for the work you have put in and it is a shame that you didn't have better luck with HAS and PIH but the community is growing now, and I am glad that you still will be a part. Hope to see you in Nairobi in October! Best wishes!

    1. Thank you Andy! I hope I get to attend the OpenMRS Implementers conference this year! Seeing you will be pleasure!

  6. Congrats James! Sound like exciting times are ahead for both your career and missionary work!

  7. Sounds like a great leap of faith. It will be another great adventure. We will continue to be great collaborators wherever we sit. All my best.