This truth is near and dear to Jeff and Debbie Marquez. Over 12 years ago, they attended a presentation given by Dr. Marietta Thompson about E.I.’s work and mission trips. Debb is a women’s physical therapist and Jeff is involved in medical sales. Their interest was piqued and their hearts were moved as they heard about the need. During that first presentation, they knew they wanted to go to Kenya and serve.
Africa has been on Debb’s heart since she was seven years old, “I always knew I wanted to go to Africa! I thought maybe one day I would become a trained midwife and go over and help with delivering babies.” All of the dots connected and going to Kenya seemed to be the way they would fulfill this dream to go and serve. Jeff shared with us the impact this presentation had on him. “You start learning about needs and see opportunities for how to meet them. Your first thought is that you are going to go and be missionaries and that is how you are going to make an impact.”
While they thought they would soon be going on a trip to Kenya, God had other plans for their family. Right around the time that Jeff and Debb learned about E.I., they began to pursue adoption. Their story is one of the miraculous, God’s timing and wisdom bringing together a beautiful family. Over the coming years, God weaved together their family, two boys from Ethiopia and a little girl from the United States. “Adoption has filled my heart with a love for being a mom. My heart is to go over one day and take our kids and do mission work as a family.”
Since their first exposure to E.I. twelve years ago, Jeff and Debbie have had this work brought to their attention several times throughout the years, “Dr. Marietta Thompson planted that first seed. Lori Roser planted a seed. And most recently, Drs. Buzz and Kelly Showalter planted a seed and reintroduced us.”
Jeff and Debbie recently heard about the Bahati borewell project and wanted to be involved. Around that time, we had finished raising the funds needed to construct the borewell, so we shared with them about the needs at the Magumu Mercy Medical Clinic. As they heard about the maternity ward, and how the community is benefiting from this clinic, their hearts were stirred and they knew that God brought them to E.I. for a time such as this!
“The timing of everything was perfect," said Jeff. We’ve heard about E.I. for years, then we decided to give to water, but at that time the goal for water had been met so we talked about the clinic and everything just lined up perfectly! We both have a medical background, but I’m a salesman so I don’t feel like I can volunteer any specific medical skills, but I can still be the hands and feet of God this way.”
For Jeff and Debbie, being a part of the clinic is a way to walk out a God-given dream that they have held onto for years. For Debbie, it fuels her passion for caring for expecting mothers in Africa, for Jeff it fuels his passion for providing health care to our Kenyan brothers and sisters. While they are thrilled to partner with the clinic, they remain excited and hopeful that one day they will go on a trip as a family.
“We didn't think we would be as satisfied being donors. We thought we would rather be there. But it gives us tremendous satisfaction knowing that there is such a profound impact being made on this community because of the clinic. There is a lot of risk when you give. You want to see communities transformed. We love that we are enabling them to be self-sustaining and giving them ownership so they can really take pride in what they do.”