I have known Dr. Joanie since the fall of 1992, shortly after Heidi and I moved to the Twin Cities. I met her when I hosted a "Supper 8" for the singles group at Wooddale Church, where she and I were attending. This is a supper where one invites 7 new people into their home to get better acquainted. Of those 7, Joanie is the only one with whom I became friends.
At the time of our meeting, Joanie was doing her residency at the University of Minnesota. Perhaps we hit it off because she was Dutch—and as you know, I love the Dutch: the windmills, the Delft, and the Netherlands itself. Also, Joanie was raised in south Chicago, not that far from where my Aunt Ginny and Uncle Allan lived at the time. My apartment building in the Twin Cities had a wonderful indoor pool and Joanie is a swimmer. She loved to come over to swim in our pool. To this day, if a pool is available, she swims at least an hour EVERY morning. Oh, and she's skinny as a stick!
Once she finished her residency, she invited me to join her for two job interviews. The first was a clinic in Sturgeon Bay, Wisconsin - at the south end of Door County. The clinic put us up in a very nice hotel and treated us to wonderful meals. While Joanie had her interview, I wandered around the area.
Her second interview was in the Grand Rapids, Michigan, area. We drove there, driving up to Duluth, and all along the North Shore of Lake Superior, through Canada, and coming down through Mackinac Island—where we spent a day as tourists. I had never seen so many fudge shops in my life! Again, while in Grand Rapids, we stayed at a beautiful hotel and were treated ever so nicely. It was the offer from this second interview that Joanie accepted, and off she moved to Michigan.
Thirteen years later, I got a call from Joanie, and lo and behold, she had transferred to the hospital at the University of Minnesota! (I must note that we have spaces of years in which we have not corresponded because she was so busy and committed to her work.) She wanted to get together with me. This new job afforded her the opportunity to work many weeks in a row – for long, long hours, and then giving her a break of 4 or 5 weeks during which she could do mission trips with
Samaritan's Purse. To date, she has gone on 9 mission trips for them to places such as Kosovo, Afghanistan, Togo, Niger, Gabon and Rwanda. She’s happiest when she’s on such a mission.
Dr. Joanie’s specialties are pediatrics and internal medicine. She is a top-notch doctor who could practice nearly anywhere she wanted to. Presently, she is in transition to a hospital in Chicago. She is returning to her roots, to be closer to her family. Again, she will be working in a practice that will allow her to continue the mission trips.
Is there a doctor in my house? Yes, for the next 7 days she is staying with me!