Janet & Jim Whittle began working with missions in 2010. Jim was on the board of an organization working with children and their families who live on a "trash dump" near Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic.
Shortly after their first trip to experience what the ministry was about, Janet & Jim decided to move to Santo Domingo for eight months. While adjusting to a new culture, they were able to build relationships with the families and children. They began making contacts at many levels of the Dominican government, business, educational, religious, and medical communities.
The next three years were invested in helping to change the conditions and provide opportunities and encouragement to the families. At times difficult, the Dominican and Haitian families they were involved with, made a strong and lasting impression on Jim & Janet.
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As things improved in the community, Jim & Janet began to look for opportunities to serve outside of the "trash dump." It was on a fact finding trip that Jim connected with a larger organization that leads people on short-term mission trips. This was the next step in creating the mission that seemed to draw them.
After looking for a year for a leprosarium in the Dominican Republic, Jim & Janet found and begin working with people living with the effects of leprosy. Their ministry was now focused on advocating for the patients who were being "warehoused" in poor conditions not far from where they had worked with the families living on the trash dump."
The experience they had making connections in and around Santo Domingo worked well for them as they sought out local doctors, dentists, politicians, business professionals, and clergy willing to assist the patients.
The stigma and conditions the patients endured were extremely difficult. Jim & Janet soon discovered a deep compassion and love for these lonely and lovely people. In 2017, they founded Left At The Gate, so as to devote their full focus to advocating for the patients.
In 2018, two months were spent in the Dominican Republic. The May trip was to be the last.
In June, Janet & Jim lost their son Baron to suicide, truly the worst day of their lives.
In July, Jim underwent a surgery that went wrong. He spent the better part of four months in the hospital, a month of that time in critical care/ICU. He now faces a long road to recovering fully.
As a result of these events and the fact that there have been reductions in the number of patients at the leprosarium and changes in the leprosarium's administration, Left At The Gate has decided to focus on helping survivors of suicide loss. As they experience their on grief journey, they have decided to provide as much information and encouragement to others who are or will find themselves on similar journeys.
This is where we are today. Please consider supporting our work as we strive to support others whose new "normal" has placed them on a difficult journey of their own.
Left At The Gate - 803.760.6145 - Post Office Box 90975 - Columbia, South Carolina 29290