John and Jessica first met in 2nd grade in Ypsilanti, Michigan while John’s family was back for a year of home assignment from Togo, West Africa where they served as medical missionaries. John and Jessica were reunited in high school, both with a vision for missionary service. The high school sweethearts married in 2000. Shortly after, Jessica received her undergraduate (secondary math education) and Master’s degree (TESOL) from Eastern Michigan while John completed his undergraduate and medical studies at the University of Michigan. They then moved to Philadelphia where John completed his ophthalmology residency at Wills Eye Hospital.
After residency, they joined World Medical Mission’s Post-Residency Program which provided John with an opportunity to be mentored for two years as a Global Ophthalmology fellow (2009-2011) at Tenwek Mission Hospital in rural Kenya. They embarked on this journey with 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”. The McCropders joined Serge in 2011 as career missionaries to serve as clinical professors for Hope Africa University’s teaching hospital, Kibuye Hope Hospital, in rural Burundi.
During their time in Burundi (2013-2021), they partnered with Hope Africa University to more than double the number of doctors in the country through their training programs. It was an honor to participate in the mentorship and discipleship of these medical students. Our unofficial team motto was, “We aren’t the best people for this job, our students are!” John opened Kibuye’s ophthalmology service in 2014 which grew rapidly and began providing services that weren’t available anywhere else in the country (corneal transplants and retina surgery, for example). With a team of other nurses and doctors, the Kibuye Retinoblastoma Treatment Program for children with fatal eye cancer was opened as well. Ophthalmology is now Kibuye Hospital’s first fully nationalized specialty service with a team of capable African eye care professionals bringing sight to the blind in the name of Jesus.
In 2021, the Cropseys transitioned out of Burundi to pursue opportunities to serve as a resource for eye care development in the Great Lakes Region of Africa. In July 2022, they will move to Kigali, Rwanda to begin a partnership with the Rwanda International Institute of Ophthalmology (RIIO) where John will serve as the Director of Clinical Training and Global Ophthalmology. He will provide discipleship and training for the African ophthalmology residents in the program and also coordinate and supervise visiting global ophthalmology residents from the USA. In addition, he will assist in RIIO’s community outreach and development programs to bring eye care to rural areas in Rwanda.
In order to support and maintain already established relationships and to help meet the vast eye care needs in the region, John and Jessica started Eye Love Africa, a Serge project aimed to support African ophthalmologists with the training, mentoring, and equipment that they need to provide high quality eye care services to their own people. The Cropseys' passion is to see African eye care professionals be the hands and feet of Jesus in bringing sight-restoring care to the underserved.
The Cropseys have three amazing kids who love Africa — Elise (2007), Micah (2008), and Sam (2011).
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