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Tulsa Doctor Describes Mission In Afghanistan

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Dr. Mitchell Diuininck went to Afghanistan as part of a non-profit group called "In His Image." Dr. Mitchell Diuininck went to Afghanistan as part of a non-profit group called "In His Image."
Leah Diuininck gets a hug upon returning home to Tulsa. Leah Diuininck gets a hug upon returning home to Tulsa.
Mitchell and Leah Diuininck and their two youngest children in Afghanistan. Mitchell and Leah Diuininck and their two youngest children in Afghanistan.

Tara Vreeland, News On 6

TULSA, Oklahoma -- A Tulsa doctor and his family are back in Tulsa. The Diuinincks spent eight months in Afghanistan teaching medical care to local physicians.

Dr. Mitchell Diuininck is part of a non-profit group called "In His Image." He said he went to teach, but also learned.

Hanna, Emily, Sam haven't seen their parents and youngest siblings since Christmas.

"Our little brother has grown so much," Hanna said.

When the reunion came at the Tulsa International Airport, it was hugs all around.

5/16/2011 Related Story: Tulsa Doctor Returns Home After 8 Months In Afghanistan

"Awesome. Icing on the cake. Everybody's back together now," Leah Duininck said.

Dr. Mitchell Duininck, his wife Leah, and their youngest children, Levi and Cora, went to Afghanistan last September.

"We were there helping," Dr. Duininck said. "Helping doctors deliver medical care. Help establish a community health center in the old city of Kabul.

Their children were enrolled in school. Dr. Duininck provided medical care to the underserved, mostly in family medicine. He also taught local doctors in the country.

"The ebb and flow of the emotions of successes and defeats of great victories and great disappointments is back and forth but that's what they live with all the time," he said.

The Duinincks say the technology was limited, but the skills of the physician's and their willingness to learn was not.

"The doctors we were working with are just so bright," Leah said. "So smart. They just want to help their people move forward."

But the Duinincks say they didn't just teach the physicians. They learned from them as well.

"It helped me realize one, how good I have it and two, how important it is to not just give up," he said.

The Duinincks say although it was hard to leave, they felt at peace and accomplished what they needed to in Afghanistan. Another family will travel to the country to continue the "In His Image" work.

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