SCHChapelBstudyPrayer_148 (Small)Every Wednesday morning, the hospital staff at Soddo Christian Hospital gathers together before work for a chapel service led by the chaplains. Songs are sung, the Word is opened, and testimonies are shared. For our team, here only a short time, it was a highlight in a week full of highlights, because we heard the joyful testimony of a teenage Ethiopian boy whose mother is receiving care at the hospital.

This young boy, whom I’ll call Barnabas, is from a rural area of Ethiopia that lacks infrastructure and educational opportunities for children. In fact, he said, in his home region education is not prized and many are hindered from pursuing one. In his longing to receive an education, he attended a school started by Christian missionaries, where he heard the gospel and became a follower of Jesus.

However, when Barnabas told his family about his decision, they forced him to choose between his family and his faith. He chose faith in Christ, experienced persecution and isolation, and was forced to leave his home. Barnabas moved around, staying with people he hardly knew, all the while growing in his knowledge and love of Jesus.

Barnabas soon received the news that his mother was sick. He returned home and tried to find her health care locally and then at a referred hospital in Addis, but no one could help his mother. Finally a doctor referred him to Soddo Christian Hospital, saying simply, “They can help your mother.”

Barnabas spent the last of his money getting his mother to Soddo. He handed his mother’s care to the doctors and nurses at Soddo Christian Hospital, so grateful that she could be served with the love of Jesus Christ.  While his mother is treated, Barnabas has spent his time at the hospital sharing the gospel with patients and their family members, believing strongly, as he says, that “Jesus is the only way. He is the Way, the Truth, and the Life. He has given me life.”

Through the love shown to her at the hospital, Barnabas’ mother, who once forced her son to leave because of his faith, has decided to become a follower of Christ. In Barnabas’ words, he “once was just one” in his town and family, but “now we are two.”

With that, the listening chapel congregation burst into applause, rejoicing that God sees and saves all that desire Him, but also knowing that Barnabas and his mother are not just two but join the multitude of brothers and sisters all across the world who call Jesus their Lord.