1. Why medical missions?
Our calling to medical missions has been 13 years in the making! Brian felt the call to Africa before he ever even started down the path to becoming a physician. Once he realized that it was through medicine that he could serve in other countries, we began to pray and God has knit our hearts together to serve Him in this way. Brian loves doing orthopedic surgery, but greater than that he loves people. His heart has always been to serve others. We have seen that the need for missionary physicians is great, and we want to help. Medical missions provide a unique opportunity to not only bring physical healing, but more importantly share the love of Christ that brings spiritually healing. That lasts far longer than physical healing ever can.
2. Why Soddo, Ethiopia?
When we first began seeking where God might want us to go, we had our sights set on Kenya. About a year into thinking that we might be headed there, God clearly redirected our path to Soddo Christian Hospital. It was during a phone call with the orthopedic surgeon from Tenwek Hospital in Kenya that he mentioned that the were was only one orthopedic surgeon at Soddo Christian Hospital that cared for a region of 5 million people! A few days later, that very surgeon from Soddo happened to be speaking at a medical conference the Brian attended. They ended up meeting and connecting, and a few months Brian was able to work with him for three weeks in February of 2014. God allowed us to see the great need and we believed He was calling us to fill it. We felt this calling confirmed during our trip in January of 2016. You can watch the video of our 2016 trip here to see what it was like for us there!
3. With so little orthopedic support, will Brian be constantly working?
The orthopedic surgeon that is currently at Soddo knew that he could never sustain a long term missions career if he didn’t operate in a manageable manner. He set hours that allowed him time away from the operating room, and Brian will be able to observe the same hours. He will also have residents who will be able to cover the time he is not there. We may have more time with him in Africa than in the states!
4. Where will you live?
We will be living in missionary housing at the back of the hospital property where several other American doctors and their families live. Brian will be able to eat breakfast with us, walk home for lunch if his schedule allows, and walk back home for dinner. We’ve never had that much time together, and we are looking forward to it! We are also excited that we will be close enough to visit him and serve in the hospital and community as the Lord leads.
5. Will you have to learn another language?
Yes! Our family will spend the first three to six months of our time in Soddo learning Amharic. It is a complicated language to learn with over two hundred symbols. Please pray that we can learn it quickly and speak it intelligently!
6. What is the Post-Residency Program?
Samaritan’s Purse International Relief is a Christian humanitarian relief organization that has several ministries serving all around the world. Their World Medical Mission ministry sends short term missionary physicians and their families all around the world to provide assistance in emergency situations and to fill in when long term missionary physicians need a break or time away to travel home. World Medical Mission also has a special program for recent residency graduates interested in serving at a mission hospital. This program is the Post-Residency Program. Through this program recent residency graduates are partnered with a mentor missionary physician to teach them the ways of missionary medicine. It is far different from operating in developed countries. Supplies are often lacking, and creativity can play a huge role in the success of an operation. You can learn more about the Post-Residency Program here.
7. Why do you need to raise support?
Being part of the Post-Residency Program, Brian will be receiving a monthly stipend, as well as having his medical license, plane ticket, visas, etc., covered financially by the program for the two years he will be participating. The remaining five members of our family, however, will not be receiving any funding. And although Brian will be working at the hospital, he will not be receiving any payment for his work there. We will be serving as full-time missionaries. All international missionaries are completely self funded so that the hospital can pay the 350+ Ethiopian employees that work there. In order for us to serve together as a family, we need to raise support. If you are interested in being part of our support team, please contact us or click here to donate. You can be part of the amazing work being done at Soddo Christian Hospital! You can be a part of reaching the Ethiopian people for Christ by being part of the team that sends us to do the work. We are willing to go! Will you send us?
8. How long will you live in Ethiopia?
The Post-Residency Program is two years. Although we could be in Soddo indefinitely, we want to be sensitive to what God has planned for us.
9. What about the kids? School?
Autumn will continue to homeschool the kids as she has for the last five years. Elisabeth will be starting 4th grade this fall, Abigail will be starting 1st grade, and John will be in PreK/K. We are excited to see what God has for us in Soddo. There are opportunities to pray for patients and spend time with children in the hospital. There is a children’s home close by as well. There are many ministries and opportunities in the community and we want to be involved however God wants us to be.
10. What will Brian be doing at Soddo Christian Hospital?
Brian will be doing orthopedic surgery, his trained specialty. He will be working alongside, Dr. Duane Anderson, who has been at Soddo since it’s opening in 2005. Dr. Anderson is in the process of starting an orthopedic residency program for African physicians. Brian will have the opportunity to teach and train these residents as he is part of this program.
11. What will Autumn be doing?
Autumn will continue homeschooling and caring for the home and family. She will have the opportunity to attend Bible studies and times of prayer, visit with friends that live there, and serve in the community as opportunities arise and as the Lord leads.
12. What is Soddo Christian Hospital like?
Soddo Christian Hospital was founded in 2005, to provide excellent medical devices, to proclaim the gospel of Jesus Christ, and to make disciples. International missionaries work side by side with a staff of 350 Ethiopians. As part of Pan African Academy of Christian Surgeons (PAACS), SCH is currently training African orthopedic and general surgeons who are committed to staying in Africa to provide care. As the saying goes, “Give a man a fish, he will eat for a day. Teach a man to fish, he will eat for a lifetime.” These men and women are being sent out across Africa to bring care and healing and the Gospel to more people than could ever be reached by one hospital alone. 30,000 patients per year are treated at SCH, where spiritual healing, along with physical healing, is the heart of the hospital through sharing the Gospel with every patient and discipling new believers. SCH is committed to caring for patients even when they cannot afford treatment or surgery. The heart and hope of SCH is to demonstrate to patients of all religions and backgrounds compassionate and loving care, and to share with each patient the Good News and love of Jesus Christ.
13. How can I be involved with your ministry?
Your prayers and encouragement on this journey we are about to take are foundational to being able to sustain our ministry overseas. But we cannot go without the financial support of those who are excited about being part of what God is calling our family to do. We want to invite you to be part of our team. With your giving, we will know that it will be because of you that we are able to love and serve and care for the people of Ethiopia. Please consider giving monthly, as our greatest need is to know that each day of the month we can serve without worry about the finances to continue doing what we are called to do. If you know you want to be a part of our team, THANK YOU!! You can give here, and you can contact us personally here. We are grateful that you stand behind us and send us forward!!
If you have any other questions, please don't hesitate to ask!! You can email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or you can contact us here.