John and Jessica first met in 2nd grade in Ypsilanti, Michigan while John’s family was back for a year of furlough from Togo, West Africa where they served as medical missionaries. John and Jessica’s relationship can best be described as distant and cool at that time, but it didn’t end there. They were reunited in high school, both with a vision for missionary service. The high school sweethearts found themselves in holy matrimony in the year 2000.
John graduated from the University of Michigan with a B.S. in Biology in 2001 and continued to pursue his studies at the University of Michigan Medical School. In the same year, Jessica graduated from Eastern Michigan University with a B.S. in Secondary Math Education. While teaching high school math, she earned a Master’s degree in Teaching English as a Second Language. In 2005, they moved to Philadelphia where John completed his internship at Albert Einstein Medical Center and ophthalmology residency at Wills Eye Hospital.
After completing residency, John and Jessica joined World Medical Mission’s Post-Residency Program. This program provided them with an opportunity to serve and to be mentored for two years (2009-2011) at Tenwek Mission Hospital in rural, southwest Kenya. They embarked on this journey with a group of two other families from their home church in Ann Arbor, Michigan. Using a portion of each family’s last name, they dubbed themselves “The McCropders”. God kept this team united and has continued to add new members. John and Jessica have three children: Elise (2007), Micah (2008), and Samuel (2011).
After their return from Kenya, everyone on the team joined Serge as career missionaries and gathered a support team of family, friends, and churches in order to pursue long-term work in Burundi, East Africa. After 10 months of French language study in Albertville, France, they moved to Burundi in August 2013 where they are working at Kibuye Hope Hospital as clinical medical professors for Hope Africa University. John and Jessica are serving as the team leaders for the Kibuye-Burundi team and have established an eye care center at Kibuye Hospital that provides medical and surgical care for the visually impaired. For more information about the work in Burundi, visit the team blog or the Serge team page.