Dear friends and family,
We’ll never forget our lunch with Teddy, an Ethiopian nurse, on the last day of our visit to Soddo, Ethiopia this summer. It was a warm Sunday afternoon, and we sat with Teddy in a bustling little coffee shop in the center of town. A ramshackle, tin-roofed music shop blasted African pop music across the street. Three-wheeled taxi cabs and donkeys loaded with water cans hurried past. As we sipped rich, sweet coffee, we were reminded that Ethiopia is teeming with life.
We had just finished visiting Teddy’s church that morning, where we had the privilege of worshipping with 1,000 joyful, dancing and shouting locals. It didn’t matter that we couldn’t understand the words to the songs, we were able to worship anyway!
As we walked back to Soddo Christian Hospital after church, we stopped for coffee in order to spend just a few more minutes with Teddy. He found a special place in our hearts during the days we spent at the hospital, as he took us through the wards to pray for patients. Teddy is one of the most on-fire Christians we’ve ever met, a young man passionate about sharing the Gospel with every patient he cares for. You can see it on his face – he is totally, completely filled with the love of Jesus.
One of Teddy’s favorite conversation topics is how often Ethiopia is mentioned in the Bible, and how he believes that God has special plans for his country. “Make sure you read Psalm 68,” he kept telling us, “My country is going to reach out its arms to God!” Unfortunately, our lunch ended early due to a “bathroom crisis” with one of our kids (suffice it to say that public restrooms in Ethiopia consist of a concrete hole in the ground). But as I rose to race back to the hospital compound (which has western-style toilets) with the kid in question, Teddy took my hand, looked me in the eye, and said, “I am praying that you will come back to live here and to work with us, that you and your family will become a part of our hospital.”
It is stories like this that are a huge part of why we believe God has called our family to move to Soddo as full-time missionaries. I want to serve as an administrator at the hospital because of people like Teddy. I want to help him reach more patients with the love of Christ. There are millions of people in southern Ethiopia, and it’s people like Teddy who are going to reach them. As a family, we are ready to go shoulder to shoulder with Teddy and the other incredible people serving at Soddo Christian Hospital, in order to help heal the sick, bind up the broken hearted, and see Ethiopia reached with the Gospel.
For more information on our progress towards getting onto the mission field in Soddo full time, visit our blog and our facebook page. Also, Soddo Christian Hospital recently added us to their staff web page, and you can check it out here.
Brad Canfield (on behalf of the whole Canfield family)