How do you do medical missions in a sustainable way?  Medical care is expensive, and providing it to the poorest of the poor is financially implausible.  And yet, those with a Christian worldview know that God commands us to “act justly and to love mercy” (Micah 6:8).  Basic economics teaches us that doing so will come at a cost.  And who is to bear that cost?  Well, we learn in Acts 4:32-35 that the early Church had a good solution for this.  They were sharing their possessions with each other “as they had need.”  This may be the reason (according to Rodney Stark and others) that the early church grew in such an explosive fashion.  As new Christians met the needs of others in the Body, the world was watching.  This kind of selfless compassion was contagious, and new followers were added to their numbers daily.

The map shows the per capita GDP (gross domestic product – a measure of economic output) across the globe.  North America and a handful of Western European countries represent the wealthiest.  Ethiopia and other Sub-Saharan African countries the poorest.  We find members of the body of Christ in all of these places without respect to political boundaries.  If you live in a “blue” or a “green” country, do you feel a new weight of responsibility?  So, as Francis Schaeffer famously asked, “How should we then live?”

Soddo Christian Hospital does not provide care for free.  Some mission hospitals do, but ours charges a small fee.  We believe this to be important to the longstanding sustainability of the hospital.  (That’s another post for another day.)  But that alone is not sufficient to run a hospital.  We have pledged as an institution to offer “excellent medical services,” and that we intend to do.  But the economy in which we work is not able by itself to support this lofty vision.

And so we turn to you.  We need your help.  We need the Body of Christ in the “blue and green countries” to step up and say, “We’ll take care of it.”  Someday, we hope that the economy in rural Ethiopia will be booming, and will fund the hospital fully.  But until then, we know others will have to stand in the gap.  Is that sustainable? Well, perhaps it is, and perhaps it isn’t. If you have thoughts on the subject, we invite you to comment below.