LiveBeyonder, Tayler Johnston, is an RN working in an OB/GYN office. She is currently in graduate school working toward becoming a Certified Nurse-Midwife and Women’s Health Nurse Practitioner, so she can work more with LiveBeyond's Maternal Health Program and save more mothers and babies in Thomazeau. Tayler has been married to her wonderful husband Dave for three years. She is originally from Jackson, Tenn. and went to school at UT Knoxville where she met her husband. The Johnstons moved back to the Nashville area (where Dave is from), and Tayler graduated from Cumberland University. Dave and Tayler recently sold their “big house” in a subdivision and moved into a tiny house in the country.
How many LiveBeyond mission weeks have you served on?
Six trips since September 2013. This December medical mission will be my 7th!
Share how you got involved with LiveBeyond.
My husband and I had agreed that we wanted to go on an international mission trip. Our church offers lots of mission journeys, but most of them are non-medical. I am a nurse and wanted to be able to use my medical skills. My husband is not medical at all, so we needed to find an organization that we could go with that could use both of us in different ways. Those are hard to find!
During the time we were looking, Dr. Vanderpool came and spoke at our church. He spoke to a crowd of about 750, but I felt like the Lord had brought him there that day just to speak to us! We went straight home, researched the LiveBeyond website, and signed up for our first trip that night! We originally planned on going on one international mission trip to a different country every year. We thought that would be a nice way to get to travel the world while serving. During our first week in Haiti, we realized that God had different plans for us. We weren’t called to travel the globe. We were called back to Haiti. The day we got back from our first trip, we had signed up for our second and planned our third. We have been a total of six times in a year and a half!
What's your favorite part(s) of the mission week?
My favorite part changes on every trip. My first trip, my favorite part was definitely the home visits. Going into the villages and seeing the poor, sick, and oppressed in their own environment was life-changing for me. Making house calls to the chronically-ill that are too sick to come to clinic is life-changing for them.
My second trip, my favorite part was working in the maternal health clinic. I had brought a Doppler from the office where I work, so the pregnant women could listen to their babies’ heart beats. This is something that women in the United States take for granted, but the Haitian women were mesmerized. The smiles on their face when they realized it was the heartbeat of their unborn baby was priceless.
On the most recent trip, my favorite part was the church services with the Haitians! I love to sit beside them on the pew and get to sing and worship with them. They are so expressive and their songs are so catchy.
Over the past two years that you've been involved with LiveBeyond, how have you seen our work expand?
We were the first group to get to stay in the Hamilton Guest House on our first trip. Since then, we have watched the clinic go up, the hospital get started, and the long-term missionary housing go up. The programs have expanded dramatically. The Maternal Health program has grown and transformed, now providing hot meals to the pregnant women, in addition to the rice and beans they are sent home with to feed their families. Kè Pou Timoun is feeding malnourished children from the surrounding communities. There is now a daily church service on the LiveBeyond base open to anyone who wants to come.
LiveBeyond has grown so much and expanded their horizons in every aspect! The people of Thomazeau seem healthier and more joyful, and the Haitian staff members have grown tremendously in their faith and walk with God.
What keeps you coming back to Haiti with LiveBeyond?
The Lord has placed a burden in our hearts for Thomazeau and Haiti. We have been to other parts of Haiti, and Thomazeau is unlike any other place we’ve been. It is one of the poorest, most isolated parts of Haiti. We have chosen to return with LiveBeyond because they are doing a great job. They are reaching the people of Thomazeau with medical care, clean water, maternal health care, food, education, and most importantly, the hope that is found in the Gospel.
How have the people of Thomazeau have changed your life?
Our hearts have been changed little by little after every trip we have been on. More recently, it has been a more tangible change. After seeing how poor and in need other people are, we have realized how spoiled Americans are.
God created all people, and He did not intend for me to get to live in a 2,000 square foot house with a six-month emergency fund in the bank while my Haitian brothers and sisters live in a 200 square foot mud and thatch hut with dirt floors and no doors, windows, temperature control, or toilets and don’t have money to buy the next meal. He didn’t intend for me to get to live a life of luxury and excess, while others are starving and oppressed. He has given me excess, so I can supply their needs (2 Corinthians 8:14).