Paul writes a prayer letter every Saturday morning.  One day, I envision a ghost writer taking all of the letters and inserting them into a missionary “tell-all”.  But for now we have pages and pages of word documents, in which to look back upon and reflect on God’s faithfulness.  Here is the letter from early this morning…

Dear friends and family,

Good morning. I (Paul) thank God for His love and mercy this week. The family is doing well. Becca has been working with the kids, especially Nathan, with home schooling. We are so encouraged by his learning and how he is picking things up. In addition to the school curriculum, Becca has been using a Bible study series through Desiring God. It is the same curriculum our home church in Dallas is using. Both Nathan and Lydia are engaging, learning memory verses, and learning the stories. We continue to pray for their walk with the Lord.

Jeremy and Christina Gabrysch have arrived back in Soddo.  They lived in our house while we were in the states, but then they went home for a few weeks since we have been back.  So, after meeting them 4 years ago and talking about being neighbors one day…we finally are!  The kids have enjoyed playing with their 2 kids. Nate and Nathan are the same age and they have had a blast doing boy things.  But don’t worry Lydie holds her own.  Someone commented this week that Lydia has some leadership skills in her…right now we mostly see a bossy 3 year old girl, but we will pray one day this will be used for good.

I had a successful trip to Addis Ababa. It was sad to drop off Dave Hardin, but I’m encouraged to know he will be returning. We were able to visit the accreditation division of the Ministry of Education and introduce Netsanet, our new administrative assistant, and the new surgical staff. I suppose I’m learning the culture because I felt the visit was a strong success despite the paucity of actual work accomplished. We dropped off some documents and picked up a spreadsheet file of information they wanted. But we had a good visit with the head of the division and I think relationships were strengthened. Each visit like this affirms our willingness to work with the system and be a team player. And we were able to connect them with Netsanet and improve our long-term communication.

This past week four of our residents took exams.  Tewodros and Ronald both passed their PAACS retake exam. I praise God for this. Tewodros and his family have now left for Goba. Also, Dejene and Segni both took their COSECSA MCS written exam last week. They felt it was hard, but we’ll see about the results.

We are still praying daily in who God will bring to administrate the hospital.  Please pray with us that God will lead both Ethiopian leaders and western trained administrators to work and serve at Soddo Christian Hospital.

Please pray for my wisdom, balance and endurance for the next month. Duane won’t be returning from the US for another month. Orthopedic coverage had been arranged for his absence, one staying for the first two weeks and the second staying for the last month. However the second orthopedic surgeon cancelled his trip. Rhett Rudolph, the orthopedic surgeon covering for the first two weeks, left Soddo yesterday. So for the next month, with the exception of ob/gyn, I’m it. Our most senior PAACS resident has yet to start his third year so the residents are quite junior and need supervision on most cases. I am shifting into emergency mode and scaling down the elective surgeries until this period passes. Please pray for me especially with the orthopedic cases. I am thankful that I have spent time with Duane in the past and at least have a basic clue about what to do with broken bones.

We’re nearing the six-week mark of being back in Ethiopia. It is becoming evident that we need to get away for a weekend break; just too much stuff happening without a reprieve. Jon Pollock has graciously offered to come hold down the fort for a weekend, so our social coordinators (Becca and Bekah) are coordinating to find a weekend. I pray that we will remain disciplined to maintain a practice of getting away regularly.

Love you guys,

Paul, for the family