Eric and Rachel McLaughlin both grew up all across the United States. They met during medical school and were both interested in international long-term missions. They were married in 2005, then in 2007, while Rachel was completing her residency in OB-GYN and Eric in Family Practice in Ann Arbor, MI, they joined up with two other medical families from their church and decided to pursue medical missions as a community. This community (informally known as the “McCropders”) went together to Tenwek Hospital in Kenya from 2009-2011, where they added a few team members, as well as decided to pursue working longterm in Burundi.
They joined Serge in 2011, before being sent to French language school for a year, and arriving in Burundi in the summer of 2013. They live at Kibuye Hope Hospital in the impoverished rural interior of Burundi, in the heart of central Africa, where they care for patients while training national doctors as professors for Hope Africa University, a Christian Burundian University.
They have the distinction of having three children born on three continents. Maggie was born in 2009 in Michigan. Ben was born in 2011 in Kenya, and Toby was born in 2013 in France.
Kibuye Hope Hospital is located in the central region of Burundi (Gitega Province) approximately 2 ½ hours from Bujumbura. It is a 110 bed facility: (30) surgical; (35) maternity; (35) pediatrics; (10) medicine. Long-term expatriate staff include (1) American general surgeon, (1) American family practice doctor, (1) American OBG, (1) American med/peds physician, (1) American ophthalmologist, and (1) American emergency medicine physician. There are also (6) Burundian general medical doctors.
Jim Priest began his leadership with Sunbeam Family Services in November 2014. Jim is a husband, dad, attorney, author and ordained deacon in the Church of the Nazarene. He was a trial lawyer focusing on employment and civil rights law for more than 30 years. He graduated magna cum laude from Houghton College in Houghton, New York and magna cum laude from Syracuse University School of Law. He is a member of Leadership Oklahoma City, Leadership Edmond and Leadership Oklahoma and has served on numerous non-profit boards.
Jim regularly appears on television and before groups speaking about writing about social responsibility, legal topics, ethics, and marriage and family issues. Jim is a weekly columnist for the Oklahoman writing a column called “Family Talk” that addresses marriage, parenting and families. He also serves as a volunteer columnist for the Journal Record newspaper writing columns about business ethics.
He and his wife, Diane, have been married for 38 years and have two adult children.