SCH Promoting Women's Health

At SCH, we care about the whole person.  Of course, we provide great medical care when patients come to the hospital.  But we are also looking for ways to improve health in the community.  In this case, women's health!

Allison Karnes is the wife of our Ob-Gyn, and Ingeborg Roth is the wife of our Radiologist.  The two of them have teamed up to start a new ministry called "WRAPs".  What are "WRAPs" you ask?  Well, I'll let Allison tell you:

"Hi Friends! Inge and I want to welcome you and introduce you to a very special ministry that we have been working on while in Soddo, Ethiopia. WRAPs: Washable, Reusable, Affordable, Pads. We are empowering school girls to embrace their God-given femininity and learn proper hygiene by providing them with reusable sanitary pads. Most village girls in Ethiopia do not have funds or even access to purchase disposable pads, so therefore, often miss one week of school a month during their menstrual cycle. We are committed to using Ethiopian products as much as possible. Also, we are providing jobs for Ethiopian women as they learn to make our WRAPs. God has given us a dream and it's a honor and joy to see girls tell us that "this product has changed my life!"

Inge teaching the girls to make the WRAPs
Inge teaching the girls to make the WRAPs

Watch this quick video to learn more about us and how you can help!

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Taking the Mission Beyond the Hospital

At Soddo Christian Hospital, we are investing in our staff through discipleship.  And some of them took what they were learning to the Soddo community - going outside the camp to bring about transformation.  Here's how it happened:

The members of the small group meeting in SCH chapel.
The members of the small group meeting in SCH chapel.

While studying the Gospels in their small groups, some of the members had an idea: to minister to the prisoners in the local Soddo prison.  They would share the Gospel and meet practical needs of the people they met.  Wanting to hear from the Spirit, they took a month to pray, fast, and ask for God's guidance in their plans.  Then, they began to collect donations from individuals as well as the Hospital.  Those of us working here were more than happy to play our part in seeing these faithful employees live out our mission in Soddo.

On June 7th and 8th, the group ventured into the local prison.  There were 50 people involved in the ministry.   Their efforts reached out to 600 prisoners - providing medical services, giving out donated medicines and clothing, and sharing the Gospel of Jesus Christ.  In those two days, 74 people prayed to receive Jesus as their Savior.  Among them was a man imprisoned for murder.  He asked, "Can God really forgive someone like me?"  Yes!  He repented, and received Christ.  Praise God!

One of the core beliefs of our hospital is in doing holistic ministry - sharing with people the salvation found in Jesus combined with practical and excellent medical care.  This group of ministers sent out from us carried that holistic message to the broader community.  Fueled and excited by seeing the work of God's spirit, they are now planning their next move.  They plan to try a similar program in some neighboring towns, or possibly to focus on job creation and discipleship training.

Counseling and sharing the hope of Jesus Christ.
Counseling and sharing the hope of Jesus Christ.
Celebrating all of what God did!  Praise to Him who makes all things new!
Celebrating all of what God did! Praise to Him who makes all things new!

Thank you, Dr. Gray and family!

Recently, we waved goodbye to the Gray family who have been a part of this hospital for the past six years.  Dr. Paul Gray came to Soddo to be a General Surgeon, and for much of that time, he was the only one.  He served in many roles during his time here including Medical Director and Director of the PAACS residency program.  His wife, Becca, served as the Guest Coordinator for all the short-termers that come through, and in recent days she coordinated charity surgeries through the Watsi program.

The Grays are loved by many in Soddo, and much could be said about what God accomplished through them during their time here.  More, in fact, than could fill the pages of this blog.  God used Paul’s skillful hands to save the lives of countless patients, and his excellent teaching skills to pass the knowledge on to the residents.  His administrative skills contributed much to shaping the vision of the hospital, as well as reams of documents and curriculum related to the PAACS program.  He spent countless hours in intentional discipleship and Bible study with the residents.  Becca patiently coordinated guests’ comings and goings, as well as served out of her professional background as a dietician.  Not to mention raising two kids on the mission field.

Recently, one of the residents told a story that really encapsulated Dr. Gray’s attitude when it came to patients.  There were two patients in the ICU who had just received tracheostomies – a temporary airway placed in the neck.  One of our residents had been called to see the patients because they were in distress… at the same time!  In fact both of them were on the verge of cardiac arrest.  The resident called Dr. Gray, but as can often happen here, the network dropped the call just as he was beginning to explain the issue.  On instinct, Dr. Gray rushed from his house to the ICU arriving, in the words of the resident, “before I even put my phone back in my pocket!”  The patients were suffering from occluded trach tubes, which Dr. Gray immediately remedied and saved both of their lives.  The reason this story had such a huge impact on the resident, was that it is counter-cultural for a distinguished surgeon to come running.  Especially when summoned by someone lower than them in social hierarchy.  (Much more common to run when you are called by someone who outranks you).  Also, many times a resident would be left to fend for themselves.  Dr. Gray’s servant mindset toward his patients (and the resident) saved their life that day, and made an indelible mark on that resident.

We will miss you Grays!


5 Things We Love about the CMDA Conference!

How many medical conferences have you ever heard of that offer these classes all at the same course?:

  • Tooth extraction for the non-dentist
  • Setting up an ICU in resource-limited settings
  • Flap coverage of lower-extremity wounds
  • Cardiac echo crash course

That is one random collection of medical topics.  But when you gather medical missionaries from all over Africa and Asia, these are the kinds of things they need to know!  For these eight days, in Eritrea, Greece, our physicians and staff are joining over 700 other missionaries from close to 100 countries.  We are worshipping together morning and evening, and during the day, we are enjoying lectures and workshops from experts in their respective fields.  Here are 5 things we love about the bi-annual CMDA conference:

1.  When we come together with missionary docs, nurses, and dentists from all over the world, we get to hear the amazing stories of how God is using medical care to bring people into a saving relationship with Him from all the people groups of the world.

2.  We get exposed to continuing education that is really relevant to what we are doing, and where we are serving.  What is the latest in malaria treatment?  How do you operate on a brain bleed if you're not a neurosurgeon and have no CT scanner?  How do you set up an ICU in a place where you don't always have electricity?  This is the kind of CME that we need! (And we get credit for it too.)

3.  This year, there is a kids' and spouses' program.  So we got to bring our families.  Our kids are having fun playing at the pool and games with the other MK's, and our spouses are enjoying some relaxation as well while the kids are being watched.

4.  The quality of the lecturers and the spiritual program.  CMDA has gone to great lengths to provide speakers like Dr. George Murray, the Chancellor of Trinity International University, who is speaking to us every morning on the "Deity of Christ".

5.  The fellowship of the believers who are pouring out their lives in countries all over this world to bring the Gospel and physical healing.  As we talk together, learn together, pray together, and worship together, we realize that we are all in this together.  It is so refreshing to be with these fellow laborers and share our struggles and triumphs.  To God be the glory!

Our Soddo team (most of them) at the conference
Our Soddo team (most of them) at the conference
Morning worship service before class starts
Morning worship service before class starts
We are so glad that our senior surgery residents got to come too.  Here they are chatting by the pool.
We are so glad that our senior surgery residents got to come too. Here they are chatting by the pool.


The Blind See

"It was not that this man sinned, or his parents, but that the works of God might be displayed in him." John 9:3

This is how Jesus responded to his disciples when they asked him why the blind man couldn't see.  God intended to show his mercy and power in the miraculous healing of this poor beggar.

Now, meet Dana.  Dana is Ethiopian, and 60 years old.  Not blind from birth, but for many years.  At a young age he suffered trauma to one of his eyes that left him blind on that side.  Then, beginning in middle age, he started to develop a cataract in his good eye.  As the years passed, the cloudy vision progressed further and further.  The cataract became solidly opaque, and Dana was left completely blind.

Dana doesn't live in Soddo, but in one of the even more remote villages many kilometers from town.  In the villages, many suffer from all sorts of diseases and disabilities, and access to health care is minimal to non-existent.  The idea that there would even be the possibility of healing would be completely foreign to most of the villagers.  Through our partnership with Mossy Foot, SCH sends health workers into some of these villages.  And one day our ophthalmologist, Dr. Nahom, saw Dana as part of one of those outreaches.

Dana, who had lived in darkness for over a decade, heard that a surgery might bring his sight back.

At the Eye Clinic here at Soddo Christian Hospital (a partnership with MMI), Dr. Nahom performed surgery on his eye, removing the clouded lens that prevented him from seeing.  He replaced it with a new lens, and for the first time in many years, Dana could see again.  The beautiful green slopes of Mount Damota.  The fiery blooms of the hibiscus trees.  The faces of his beloved family.  He could see it all again, as he had many years ago.  Not just in his mind's eye anymore.  But actually see them!

 "That the works of God might be displayed in him..."

At Soddo Christian Hospital, we are correcting all kinds of ocular problems - cataracts, strabismus, pterygium, trabeculectomy, nasolacrimal duct stenting, and tarsotomy for trachoma - just to name a few.  And we are doing it, so that the works of God might be displayed.  When we operate on anyone at this hospital, they hear the Gospel.  That Jesus died to set them free from sin.  We aren't just about physical healing, but spiritual healing as well.

May God be glorified as many re-gain their sight at Soddo Christian Hospital.

100 Giving $100

100 giving 100


We need your help!  In the next 100 days, we want to find 100 donors to give $100 per month for a year!

The care at Soddo Christian Hospital is subsidized for our poorest patients.  We have a Benevolent Fund which offsets the cost, so that all patients receive the highest standard of care we can provide, without respect to their ability to pay.  Many amazing stories of physical and spiritual healing have taken place within this hospital because of the Benevolent Fund.  We post the stories on this blog as often as we can.  Read one such story here.

In order to make this subsidy available, we need donors for the Benevolent Fund.  We have set out to recruit 100 donors who would be willing to give $100 per month for the next year.  We can set up an ongoing, recurring donation using the link on our Donate page.

And you can give with confidence, because 96% of  your gift will go directly to patient care!  Please sign up today, and tell a friend.  Our goal is to find 100 such donors in the next 100 days.  Won't you help us?

96% means 96 cents on every dollar donated goes to the Hospital in Ethiopia

Not many charities can claim this, but we promise you 96% of the money you donate will go directly to Soddo Christian Hospital in Ethiopia and our patients.  How do we do that?  Here are five ways:

  1. All of our medical missionaries are supported through partner mission sending agencies.  That means that they raise their own support, and the hospital does not pay them.   So, none of your donated dollars will go to pay salaries of our expatriate staff.
  2. Our US and Europe-based advocates are all volunteers.  All of our board members, and the people who do the work on the hospital from outside Ethiopia are not paid.  You can rest assured that your donation is going where it's needed - not to pay our admins.
  3. Of course we have costs as a non-profit.  Things that are unavoidable like postage for our newsletters or wire transfer fees to get the money to Ethiopia.
  4. The hospital charges patients a very small fee.  (Except for the very poor - for them, see point #5).   These patient fees go to pay for the electric bill and a lot of the day-to-day operations of the hospital.  So you aren't contributing to the utilities.  So what are you giving to?  Well, that leads us to our last point...
  5. The donations we receive go directly to pay for care for the poorest of the poor, and to help us build new wards, patient facilities, and equipment that we need to care for the patients.  We have a Benevolent Fund which pays for our poorest patients, and a significant portion of your donations go to that.  Another portion goes to provide equipment that the hospital needs like an ambulance, or a piece of lab equipment.  And lastly, some of the money goes to build more beds and more space for more patients.

Doesn't it feel good to know that your money is going to the place where it's most needed?  We think so - that's why we do it this way.  You can give today and help us keep providing excellent care and proclaiming the Gospel in Ethiopia!

Welcome to the Blog!

welcomeWelcome to the Soddo Christian Hospital blog! We hope that this will be a place for you to hear from our staff on various goings-on at the hospital and in the area of medical missions. Here are 5 things we hope to achieve with this blog:

  • Tell amazing stories - There’s a lot going on here in Soddo!  There are patients being healed physically from longstanding infirmities, staff members growing in their faith, and long term missionaries serving alongside and training nationals.  We want to tell you all about it!
  • Answer your questions - What do you want to know about the hospital?  About missions in Africa?  About Ethiopia?  Ask us questions.  You can email us at or go to our Facebook page, and put your question there.
  • Introduce you to some incredible people – We have some devoted, compassionate staff we’d love for you to meet.  Some are Ethiopian, and some are expatriates.  All are providing quality medical care in the name of Jesus Christ.  We would love to tell you more about them.
  • Show how your donations are making a difference – Through your generous giving, we are building new buildings, getting state-of-the-art medical equipment, providing Bibles to patients, subsidizing surgeries and care for the poorest of the poor, and all sorts of other amazing things.  We want to give you feedback on all of it.
  • Be a resource for you – Do you have friends interested in medical missions?  Do you know someone who is considering a career as a medical missionary?  Maybe you need some information on health in Ethiopia.  We are here on the front lines, and we want to give you information that you can use.

Thanks for stopping by!