We have a story to share that is both amazing and sad; a testament to God’s power and timing, but also a testament to the fact that His ways are higher than ours, and that we can’t always fully understand why He does what He does.
A year ago when we first decided to pursue missions in Ethiopia, we had a very strong sense that God wanted us to be in Ethiopia by February 2015. We didn’t know exactly why we had this feeling, but as the months went on, it grew stronger and stronger.
Thanks to God’s hand moving through many of you, we found ourselves stepping off of a plane and onto Ethiopian soil on Feb. 28. It took eight months to raise the support necessary to get us onto the mission field. We know people who have taken years to do the same thing. The only answer for how quickly we made it to Ethiopia is that God wanted us here in February.
And now we have seen why.
Because we were able to start our Amharic language training in March, we had completed six months of training by mid-August. This coincided with a tragic event at Soddo Christian Hospital, where we serve. Our hospital’s Finance Director, an Ethiopian man about Brad’s age named Hizikiel, died suddenly due to a lifelong illness. He was at work on a Friday, and on Sunday he was with God, leaving behind a wife and two small children. Hizikiel’s death shocked our entire hospital and left a huge gap in our hospital operations. He was an extremely hard worker and man of high integrity.
Because we had completed our basic Amharic training by this time, Brad was able to immediately begin his job as the hospital’s Chief Operating Officer while also assuming leadership of the hospital’s finance department. While he has a huge learning curve ahead, God has made it clear that He prepared Brad to step in and help lead the hospital at this specific time. We do not understand why Hizikile died. But we do know that part of God’s plan was for Brad to be in place and ready to work when it happened.
Brad is excited about the technical work of hospital operations and finance, but the most important work ahead is the work of investing in the people at the hospital. The five Ethiopian accountants and finance specialists who are now part of his immediate team. The other senior leaders and missionaries the hospital. And the thousands and thousands of patients who come through the doors seeking medical help, but also needing to be shown God’s love and kindness.
While we have great challenges to face in the months ahead, we know beyond a shadow of a doubt that God is with us and will help us as we learn to lead here in Soddo.