You are needed.

One truth that seems to be coming to the forefront is that we need help. There are many levels of excellence that can exist in any institution and it certainly holds true in one as complex as a hospital. There are many roles to be filled and, while a level of functionality can be obtained by a few people doing many jobs in which they have no training, the road to real excellence needs to be traveled by a full complement of well-trained people who are dedicated to the endeavor. We need your help!

Since arriving to pitch in at Soddo Christian Hospital, Beccca and I have seen a small group of people trying valiantly to do an essentially impossible job. God has shown His mercy and power in the process but, by definition, miracles are not the norm. Medicines haven’t flown out of a rock when it was struck with a staff. The buildings haven’t fallen out of the sky. The doctors haven’t been raised up from stones. Though no less divine, God has chosen to provide for the needs of Soddo Christian Hospital through the generosity of His people. We now ask you to prayerfully consider whether or not God is asking you to follow Him in a radical way.

A hospital is a complicated organism that requires a lot of things to be happening at the same time, all with excellence, if it is to be an excellent institution. Soddo Christian Hospital currently has some dedicated people who are trying their best but we need some help to move it to where we believe God is leading. Here are a few of the perceived needs:

Hospital administration: We have a couple of wonderful, dedicated men leading our hospital administration but none of them have experience running a hospital of any sort, much less one of excellence. We need someone who has seen it done right, knows how to make it happen and is committed to seeing it through by God’s guidance and power. Our current Ethiopian administrators are putting forth a great effort against the challenges and our plan is to have them at the helm long into the future. Our prayer is that someone experienced in hospital administration would come alongside them to assist as we push towards excellence.

Business finance: If you think running a business in the West is difficult, you should try the challenges of Africa! The people running our finance department here have done a heroic job and allowed us to make it through the last four years. If we are to move to the next level of excellence, though, help will be needed. Again, we need someone who has seen it done right, knows how to make it happen and is committed to seeing it through by God’s guidance and power. Again, our prayer is for someone with experience to come alongside our current finance people to assist as we push towards excellence.

Physical plant coordinator: Imagine running your business in an environment where water and power are unreliable. Your water supply is dependent on a well and, if the pump breaks down, you have to organize the repair/replacement process across a distance of 200 miles with difficult transportation and even more difficult supply situations. You have electricity a little more than half the time and are dependant on a generator for the remainder. The same difficulties of upkeep and maintenance apply here as well. Imagine also that your business has many technical machines that require upkeep and maintenance but expertise and parts are even harder to come by than for the well pump and generator. Now add on to that sewage difficulties, electrical work, storage problems and construction projects, to name a few. And… you’re doing it in Africa. I suppose you can imagine the difficulties. Basically there isn’t anyone alive that can do it all. But it’s a full-time job trying to see it all through. Are any of these areas your bread and butter? Any engineers, construction or maintenance personnel out there? God may have a challenge in store for you… but a blessing as well.

Nurses: One key way to improve the quality of care given at a hospital is to improve the nursing care. Nurse play a vital role in caring for patients. We need skilled nurses to work with and train our nurses in several areas of patient care. These include pediatrics, general inpatient nursing, ICU nursing and OR nursing.

Pediatrician: There has never been a pediatrician on staff at the hospital. It is a critical need and an area in which we could greatly improve. There is at least one pediatician currently considering coming but his arrival is at least a year or two away and is not yet certain.

Obstetrician: Only 6% of pregnant women in Ethiopia will ever see a health professional during their pregnancy. This includes non-physicians such as midwives. The maternal mortality (number of women dying from childbirth) in the US is about 1 in 14,600. In our area, it is 1 in 12. There is one obstetrician committed to coming in late 2010 but he will need help. There is more than enough work!

Midwife: Along the same lines of argument for an obstetrician and nurses, we eagerly long for a committed midwife to come and work with and train our staff for caring for these women. It is a tremendous need and a rewarding ministry.

Internal medicine/general medicine: Our hospital has a lean toward surgery but there is a need to bolster the care of our medical patients. Dr. Ruth Droppers and Dr. Shigute are working with our general practitioners to provide medical and pediatric care at the hospital. They are doing a good job but additional help and input is needed and would be appreciated.

These are a few of the areas that have been identified as needs. They are not exhaustive! Permit me to make a few comments. I realize we are asking for no small thing. Short mission trips of two to four weeks are appreciated and good work is done, but it simply takes a longer duration to make an enduring impact. I would say that involves at least a year but, in reality, it truly means longer. Consider how much time and effort it makes to make an enduring impact in the West, in your own culture. It’s much harder in this setting.

So, basically, we are not inviting you to give up a vacation or a portion of your income. This involves a big chunk of your life, maybe even a career. Too much to ask? Well, if it’s for our sake, yes. We’re frankly not worth it! But whom are we serving? Is it not our Father in heaven? When I compare the sacrifices we can make, even the big ones, to what Jesus gave for us, I am humbled to the point of silence. The distance from the US or anywhere else in the West to Ethiopia pales in comparison to that between heaven and a cross. We can never outgive Jesus and I can now assure you from personal experience that Jesus will fill whatever you empty for Him.

If you would like more information (no commitment necessary!), please use any or all of the following resources:

Paul Gray: paul.gray@paacs.net

Becca Gray, guest coordinator: visitsoddo@gmail.com

Soddo Christian Hospital: www.soddo.org