Dear friends,
Blessings during this Christmas season.
I vividly remember a devotion shared by Dave Kersten at one of our staff retreats. He noted from John 16:33, a promise that never makes it onto plaques or calendars of promises, where Jesus says that in this world you will have trouble. Thankfully he continues that we should nonetheless take heart because he has overcome the world. This verse fairly well describes my past year. As many of you know, I have suffered with chronic pain from idiopathic (big word for we really haven’t a clue what caused it) neuropathy of my hands and feet. I have only abnormal sensations but lack all normal sense of touch and feeling, impacting both hands and feet. The disabling part came with the onset of severe spasms seemingly triggered by the pain. While having EMG guided Botox injections in my calves and feet, my neurologist noted that I have pathognomonic wave formations for a rare autoimmune syndrome, Stiff Person Syndrome (SPS). When I was in med school it was called Stiff Man Syndrome, but equal rights have brought us a long way! It occurs in about one in a million people. It has no cognitive impact but can cause spasms of muscles (in my case hands, feet, legs, and back) from many different stimuli. The treatment consists of some oral medications and monthly IV Immunoglobulin infusions which take 8 hours a day for 2 consecutive days and are extremely expensive (thank you Bethany Benefits!). I am getting a lot of relief from these infusions though still have some pain episodes.
Because of these infusions it is impossible for me to live fulltime in Oaxaca. I proposed trying to create an alternative job profile so I could work from Florida through Skype and email with the existing Semillas de Salud (Seeds of Health) team and to develop a Zika program that could be used in not only our churches in Mexico but also in other impacted countries, including the US where we have Hispanic churches in Texas and with our churches here in Florida. This would be supplemented with periodic visits to Oaxaca as I do have a 3 week window between my treatments and recovery from them. This, however, was rejected, leaving me only the option of applying for long term disability. It breaks my heart to leave Oaxaca, but I live in the proleptic now and not yet of John 16:33. I’m having troubles, but Jesus is still in control.
Semillas is currently actively working to join with the nonprofit NGO Fuentes Libres so that they can work more closely with some government programs. School testing continues and we’re seeing our first group of kids who were tested 15 years ago and had problems referred for correction entering health careers with the intent to work with Semillas. Germination of seeds can take time, but little by little the seeds sown through the loving networking of the churches with other agencies are sprouting, creating more seed, and providing rest to the birds of the air (Mark 4). Dra. Elidia Ramos is now the Medical Director, a Oaxacan physician who has selflessly given of her time to help with Semillas in the Isthmus region. Although I still have a gazillion dreams of what Semillas could do, now it is time for the Oaxacans to dream their dreams, plant their seeds, and wait….
So what’s next? Well, I always hold on to hope that eventually we will be able to reinstate me with Serve Globally so I can spend the few years left before retirement serving with the mission family. In the meantime I’m looking into volunteering as a guardian ad litem and am investigating an online Master of Arts degree from University of London dealing with treatment of and legal matters pertaining to refugees and displaced persons. ICE has a camp about an hour south of my home in FL of detained undocumented minors in the US without their parents and unable to locate family here. ICE has refused permission for anyone outside of their agency to check on the kids or work/play with them-no church groups, civic groups, pediatric association, no one. If I can’t work with my beloved Oaxacan kids in Mexico, maybe I can work with them here in South Florida.
In the meantime please keep the Semillas de Salud team and the missionary colleagues in prayer as they strategize for the future. And please pray for me-this transition is neither easy nor desired. Pray that I will remember “Soñar no cuesta nada!” – It doesn’t cost anything to dream- as I look to the future ministry God has for me.
As you consider what to do with the prayer and financial support so graciously given me, please consider supporting my long term missionary colleagues in Oaxaca or others in health ministry as well as a wonderful and talented young man, Robert McLeod, who is raising funds to serve as a short term missionary teaching music at Oaxaca Christian School where our MKs attend and working with music in our churches.
Thank you again for all of your love and support. You have helped the light of God’s love that came into the world and that we celebrate in this season, to touch and change the lives of many in Oaxaca. (And I’m still willing to converse, skype, or visit and tell stories about Oaxaca, speak on holistic Christian health, and share the great things God has done through your faithful support.)
Grace and Peace be with you all.
(AKA Oaxacadoc)
P.S. I will lose access to my covchurch email account January 1, so if you wish to contact me, my email is cjhooverlawson[at]

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4 Comments on “transitions”

  1. Alan Peterson Says:


    I will continue to be in prayer for you! The overwhelming love for what you have been doing in Oaxaca has always been evident in your expressive responses when you attended our Bethany Mission meeting, and I expect Oaxaca has not heard the last of their Oaxacadoc. Keep up the fight, because God still has plans for you.



    Alan Peterson

    St. Cloud Window Inc

    AE Peterson & Associates

    64 North Amherst Rd

    Bedford NH 03110

    Cell: 617-803-8319

  2. Bill Hoover Says:

    Please note that the email address shows incorrectly, at least in my browser. It should be cjhooverlawson (at Even though it was in the document, the final “n” didn’t display.

    • oaxacadoc Says:

      Thanks. Someone else noticed and messaged me. I think I’ve gotten it corrected now. Think I lost the “n” when I took out the @.

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