Learning to Live and Serve in a Different World

Thanks to you we are at work in Ethiopia

Tseganesh. This is the woman many of you prayed for. We celebrated the miracle of her life and her twins’ lives. This was God’s win, the glory is His and we are so blessed to get to celebrate it as a part of the team here at Soddo Christian Hospital!

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Dear Faith & Mountains Family,

The man was completely naked, his wiry muscles tense in the mid-day African sun. In one hand he held a thick wooden staff, taller than he was. In the other, he clutched a rock the size of a grapefruit, poised over his head and aimed at the windshield of our taxi. 

Like everyone and everything else around him, he was powdered in red dust from the road – the kind of dust resulting from a rainy season that was supposed to start weeks ago but hadn’t yet appeared. We had been traveling through this dust and heat for a couple of hours, and now we were at a dead stop on the edge of a small town in southern Ethiopia, this man squarely blocking our path.

He boldly approached the driver side of the taxi, shouting and making threatening gestures with the rock. It was pretty clear he would have no qualms about attacking our car if he didn’t get what he wanted. Then, our Ethiopian driver handed him a few birr (the equivalent of about 25 cents in US currency), and just like that the man walked on – probably preparing to waylay the next car that drove by.

This brief incident, which happened to us (and some other missionaries who were with us) a few weeks ago, served as just another reminder that we are in another world now. There are so many of these reminders every day: Muslim calls to prayer blasted on loudspeakers each morning before the sun rises; shouts of “farenji!” (foreigner), yanks on our clothing, and hands in our faces each time we walk down the street; the wails and cries of patients in distress and pain at Soddo Christian Hospital. 

And yet, in the midst of all these strange new sensations, there is also incredible blessing and joy: the miracle of seeing patients healed at the hospital, and all the glory given to God by the doctors and nurses who work here; praying for patients; forming relationships with new Ethiopian friends and other missionaries; learning the ancient African tribal language of Amharic; and of course, drinking amazing Ethiopian coffee (the best on earth, in our biased opinion). 

One of our greatest joys during this first month was the healing of a mother of twins here at the hospital. Her name is Tseganesh (which means “Gift from God” in Amharic). After having a long seizure in her home, she underwent an emergency c-section and then had to be intubated and kept on a ventilator for five days. The hospital just recently acquired the ventilator, and Tseganesh was the first patient to be intubated on it. Missionary and Ethiopian staff literally worked around the clock to keep Tseganesh alive. People on our hospital compound prayed without ceasing (it was so sweet to watch Jackson and Oliver pray over Tseganesh’s new babies as they slept in their crib in the birthing ward). Finally, Tseganesh pulled through, and a few days later we held a huge celebration for her and her new family. The best part of this story is that the love of God was shared in a very concrete way with this family and all of the friends and relatives who gathered around them during the crisis. These Ethiopians saw the love of Christ in action, touching their lives.

It’s stories like this that confirm for us that God has called us to be in Ethiopia and to serve at Soddo Christian Hospital. While it’s tempting for Brad to jump immediately into working in administration, instead we need to spend our first several months here studying the Amharic language and Ethiopian culture full-time. So, language school has begun: several hours a day of lessons and studying! We need to have a firm grasp of the language in order to serve effectively. And without a solid understanding of Ethiopian culture, serious mistakes can be made in relating to Ethiopian staff at the hospital. We’re looking forward to sharing what we’re learning in future newsletters.

Thank you to those of you who continue to partner with us in prayer and support. You are a part of impacting the lives of patients like Tseganesh.

With love,

The Canfields

Prayer Requests
  • For God’s ongoing help with learning the Amharic language and Ethiopian culture
  • For favor with the Ethiopian government as they process Brad’s permanent work permit and our family’s permanent residency papers
  • For health, as we’ve experienced several new African sicknesses this last month
  • For our hearts as we start to really miss family and friends we have left behind (and for the hearts of those same people who are missing us)
  • Above all, we would love your prayers for God to be honored in our mission, for patients to be blessed and healed at the hospital, and for the good news of Jesus to be spread in Ethiopia.
Want to give?
Gift Giving Options: 
  1. Check: Please make your check payable to Shepherd’s Staff Mission Facilitators, and write “Canfield 6105” in the memo line. Mail to: 6739 Academy RD. NE, STE 320, Albuquerque, NM 87109
  2. Credit Card or Electronic Transfer: Click any of the donation buttons in this email, or at anytime you can give through our website at faithandmountains.com/give
All gifts are fully tax-deductible. 

Thank you for impacting the people of Ethiopia!