Monday, October 06, 2014

Nica News & Details!

So, exciting news:

I (TJ) have recently accepted a position with an organization called Palmetto Medical Initiative as the Regional Director for Central America, and will be moving with Holly and the kiddos to Managua, Nicaragua in the coming months! I know… crazy, right?!

But, then again, you’re probably not too surprised… ‘cause you know us better than that.

Many of you will know that I’ve just finished a Master’s in International Development from Eastern University. It was a great experience and prepared me well to be involved in lots of different kinds of developing-world ministries. The organization I will be working for, PMI (Palmetto Medical Initiative), is an innovative, faith-based non-profit dedicated to developing excellent, sustainable primary medical care in impoverished communities all over the world. Though I’m no doctor or nurse, I have seen countless times how access to medical care changes the life of a person and the future of an entire community. My role with PMI will be to oversee the establishment, sustainability, and expansion of their programs and medical clinics in Nicaragua and eventually, into the rest of Central America.

I have really enjoyed my work coordinating mission teams and teaching with Lipscomb University in Nashville. Although Holly and I will really, really miss our friends and family, this new position is a great opportunity to use our passion for Latin America and experience in developing communities to help PMI achieve a lasting impact for the Kingdom of God.

As for the family, we are thrilled about jumping into this new adventure together. Holly has already investigated the availability of Dr. Pepper in Managua, and TJ is pumped to try the Nicaraguan version of Cheetos. The kids are learning to say NIC-A-WAGWA, and are giddy at the idea that everyone there will talk like Dora and Diego.

OK. Here’s the timeline: I will move down November 5th to get set up. During that time, Holly and the kids will have a blast in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Both sets of grandparents live there, and with so many hands eager to help with the kiddos, it's Holly's personal version of Disneyland. I will come back for the holidays, then we'll all move to Nicaragua in January. 

We’ll have a guest room at our house in Managua, and Nicaragua has awesome beaches just a short drive from us. Come on down and learn how to surf with me! Or, just be there to laugh at/with me as I try. PMI has regular volunteer medical/mission trips to supplement the clinic’s work in community outreach, and I’d love for some of you to join up and serve with us at some point. You don't even have to fly. You just drive south… and keep on going. And going.

It's really tough to leave Nashville after nine great years of being surrounded by friends and family. But this is exactly the type of opportunity and ministry we have been preparing and praying for. And we will stay in touch. We can FaceTime! Skype! Viber! (Or, whatever the cool kids are into these days.)

Anyway - love you guys. How many breakfasts and coffees and lunches and dinners and church services and memories can we fit into the next 30 days? Let’s see.


TJ and Holly

Saturday, August 06, 2011


Oh, no. Amanda Mankin, what have you done?! Now we REALLY can't wait to meet these baby twins. Is this really what life looks like as we wait for Ian & Isla to join our family?!

(Thanks to TJ McCloud for the sweet surprise-happy-2nd-trimester-Twins-shirt. And Summer Millican for the super-hot maternity capris. Oh! And Linda Zelnik for the manicure/pedicure gift card! And Kara Graves for hanging out at their pool while I worked on my tan! And Elijah Norman for coining the phrase "baby twins!" And Ian & Isla for being so cute! And most of all, to Amanda Mankin, for making a pregnant-with-twins gal look glamorous.)

Friday, August 05, 2011

Hotel Baptist

So what have the cutest yet-to-be-born babies on the planet been up to this week? Just hanging out at the hospital, kicking away, passing all their tests with flying colors and showing off their sweet profiles in ultrasounds.

We've been at Baptist for a week, and everything is going better than expected. I'm 31 weeks along, and showing no signs of preterm labor. The doctors continue to monitor the twins' growth, and keep a close eye on Ian's umbilical cord function. They didn't expect it to improve, but it has, and the doctors are very pleased. We'll still be in the hospital until delivery, which will likely be between Aug 11-25. The babies will need some time in the NICU - maybe 2-4 weeks.

The thing is... we can't help feeling thrilled and incredibly grateful. We are so thankful the doctors caught this umbilical cord issue. And we couldn't be in a more comfortable, competent hospital. I keep thinking I'm on a cruise (minus the laying out by the pool, plus fetal heartrate monitors and consults from excellent doctors). I can't believe how very dedicated the doctors and nurses are to caring for us, and monitoring the babies closely so they have time to mature in utero. Access to this level of healthcare is truly humbling.

We're also amassing quite a library of ultrasound pics, and we love looking at them. I'll see if I can post a few from the hospital... (You are not even going to be able to stand it. They are so cute!)

Saturday, July 30, 2011

By the way...

... we're having twins! And they shall be called: Ian & Isla. Ian Thomas, and Isla (eye-lah) Jane. They're due mid-September, but it looks like they'll make their debut a few weeks early, due to an issue with Ian's umbilical cord.

We met with several doctors today, and received lots of good news! I have also ordered lots of delicious food from room service (room service!) and am starting to think I will never want to leave the hospital.

The doctors have noticed an issue with baby Ian's umbilical cord. It's attached in a difficult place - at the edge of the placenta, instead of in the middle. It doesn't seem to be functioning as well as it should. He's still growing, and within a normal size range, so all they can do is keep an eye on his heartrate, blood flow, and growth. So that's why I'm in the hospital - so they can monitor those vitals. I feel great, and the babies are doing great!

Ian is (almost) 3 pounds, and Isla is 3.5. I'm at 30.5 weeks, and the doctors would like to make it 32 weeks, if Ian continues to do well. At 34 weeks (Aug 25), they will definitely deliver the babies. Making it to those milestones would reduce the amount of support they would need from the NICU.

The ultrasound from today looked better than yesterday, which was unexpected, and great news. They may still keep me here for monitoring until delivery. That seems to be the option my doctor is most in favor of, unless he sees dramatic improvement in Ian's umbilical cord function. Dr. Bellardo is consulting with the maternal-fetal group who specializes in cord issues, so we have an excellent team of doctors and nurses taking care of us!

We really are doing well - I feel great, and have tons of books, movies, paint/tile/fabric samples & baby registries to keep me busy. I'm at Baptist, and visitors are totally welcome - just call or text before you come - they take me for ultrasounds often, and I wouldn't want to miss you! TJ might need some help getting the nursery ready, or maybe an easy meal or two. Just call or text him if you're in the mood for manual labor...

We are so excited to meet these sweet babies that we're already in love with. And we're excited to introduce them to all of you! Thank you for you love, thoughts and prayers.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Headed to the DR/Haiti

Friends and Family,

My former mission team, Manna Global Ministries, has opened a supply chain from Santo Domingo to Port-Au Prince, supplying materials, and food to 200 or so church members now fed and sheltered out of Sonlight Children’s Home. They are also supplying medical triage units that they have set up in the area of PaP under the direction of Brad Gautney.

They have supplies right now, but not enough reliable, trustworthy personnel to drive them over the border into Haiti, since the trucks/cargo are priceless right now. It is a fourteen hour trip from Santo Domingo and back. The borders are open, and are easily crossable right now, which is not always the case, and won’t be for long, so they want to take full advantage of the opportunity to get as many supplies as possible into Haiti.

Because of this time-sensitive situation, they have asked me and my former teammate Cory Lamb to fly in tomorrow and make supply trips, relieving the few people they have right now who can drive the truck, speak Spanish and basic Kreyol, and negotiate the culture/graft/craziness that getting this stuff across the Border could represent.

I plan to leave at 6:30 am tomorrow, Jan. 20th and meet Cory in Puerto Plata, where we will join the Manna team and head to Santo Domingo to begin making three or four trips to Haiti and back. I plan on returning Thursday, Jan. 28th.

Please pray for safety for myself and the rest of the Manna Team as we rush to try and get these crucial supplies to the people who need them most.

For information and updates, check my blog,, or follow @tjmccloud on Twitter. I’m not sure how accessible cell coverage will be, but will try to keep everyone in the loop.

If you would like to help financially with my travel expenses, contact

Thank you all for your support for me and for the people of Hispaniola,

TJ McCloud

cell: (615)479-1772

"The World can't stand what It can't own, and It can't own you 'cause you did not have a home" - Rich Mullins

Friday, October 24, 2008

Three letter word: J O B S !!!!

While we obviously haven't been working hard on our blogs lately, we are working hard; as we are now both officialy gainfully employed! (cue cheering and applause)

With just a few weeks of being stateside under our belts, we have both landed jobs that we are really excited about.

Holly is working at Catholic Charities, and is a Care Coordinator for the Bridges to Care program. Basically, she helps uninsured patients get connected with clinics and doctors who will bill on a sliding scale. It's a great program and Catholic Charities has an amazing track record for service to underserved communities. She is working in a mostly hispanic area of town, where she gets to use her Spanish all the time. Perfect, huh?

I (TJ) have been hired as the Young Adult and Spiritual Development Minister at the Otter Creek Church. Basically, I'll be working with our College, Singles, and Young Married's groups.I am really passionate about getting people connected to a church body during these three key transitional times. We are also really excited to be working for OtterCreek, where we were members before we left,and one of the churches that supported us so well while we were in the Dominican.

Life is still pretty topsy-turvy, as we get used to being in the flow of American style worklife, and look for a place to live (rent? buy? pitch a tent?). We miss our friends (the little and the big ones) in the Dominican, and we haven't gotten used to the cold weather, but we love being near our Nashville friends, and are already looking forward to our first Thanksgiving with family in two years!

Sunday, October 05, 2008


I guess the first thing we can say in our first Stateside blog is...
Where do you people in America find time to blog?!!

We have been in the States now for almost two weeks, and while it has been wonderful to see everyone, we are feeling a little dizzy from all the newness and hustle. We flew into DFW and met with Missions Rescource Network to do some exit counseling and re-entry training. It was great, and will surely pay off in the coming months to have a better understanding of the things we can expect. Another added bonus to being in DFW was seeing some great friends. We got the chance to catch up with the Cookes (Holly's college roommate),the Pinsons and the soon-to-be Cox's (TJs college roomates), as well as our Guatemala friend Blair (who is not Guatemalan... long story).

Next stop was Tulsa, where we had the chance to see both sets of parents and say thank you to one of our supporting churches, Park Plaza, for their amazing care and encouragement of us over the last two years.

Now, we are in Nashville, and making baby steps at settling back into life here. It already feels like Fall, and we realized the other day that we haven't seen a Fall in two years! We raided our friends' houses to find all of our warmer clothing and are now unpacked (mostly) and staying with the Srygleys (an elder and his wife at Otter Creek) for a month or two.

We are also hitting the job front hard, with both of us interviewing this week for positions. Hopefully we will know more about the outcomes this week!

We are starting to feel a little funny- Saturday we didnt have much to do and it really hit us that we actually are planning to LIVE here... not just visit for a few weeks. We find ourselves missing friends and little brown faces from the DR, but are also so glad to be surrounded by our Otter Creek family and friends. I think we are getting used to driving again in the States, but Kroger was a little intimidating... buying groceries in the States again for the first time in two years.The sheer volume of choice leaves us a little dazzled(How many kinds of salad dressing does one person need?!). Surely this bewilderment will wear off (which is sad to realize, as well) but hopefully we have forever been changed in some deep ways by our Dominican experience- ways that will pay spiritual dividends in the years to come.

Thanks for your continued care and prayer-
TJ and Holly