Greetings to you from Soddo, Ethiopia
COMMUNICATION: First let me apologize for our sporadic, at best, direct communication. Our 4 years here have passed very quickly, and we have tried to keep you all updated with our prayer requests and needs. THANK YOU for being so very supportive through your prayers and financial seed for us through this time. When we left the USA, we sent newsletters, which outdated itself quickly, however, the slow internet connection made it more and more frustrating on this side, because pictures took a very long time to send, provided we could keep the dial-up connection long enough. To try and maintain better communication we did establish a blog site, which we have tried to update at least monthly with photos and dialogue to keep you informed of the events in and around Soddo Christian Hospital. We have tried to send notices via email when we have placed a new post on the blog. We encourage you to visit our blog, www.thebowersinafrica.wordpress.com, on a regular basis and look back through the archived posts to see how things are progressing here.
KARMYN & BENJAMIN TO RVA: Since both our children expressed an interest in further education after high school, we applied at Rift Valley Academy in Kijabe (KENYA) in May 2010, were surprised when both were accepted into Grade 8 when we took them to School in August 2010! Benjamin is boarding with a beautiful and gracious family for this term until his space opens up in the dorm later this year. He is adjusting well, learning how to balance the new found joys of friendships and high academic demands. Karmyn adjusted well to the academics, but struggled in the dorm environment, so she came home until later this year when we hope that she would be able to return – her desire!
MMI & EYE CLINIC: It has been an exciting time here at the hospital. We have built the MMI Eye Clinic and are currently training three staff members to manage the clinic and plan to add a fourth trainee in the next few months. The clinic has achieved the initial goal of being self-sustaining, once the construction was completed! We rejoice in the Father’s faithfulness! The volume of patients has steadily increased and we are edging and dispensing our own glasses. To my knowledge, this is the only clinic capable of this service between Addis, the capital and the Kenyan border, a driving time of about 19 hours on a rough road. Due to your support of our work here, we have accomplished this together! MMI is also working on acquiring land for the eye hospital which is to be built directly adjacent to the hospital, where it will become a tertiary training center of ophthalmologists for Ethiopia. There are three Ethiopian ophthalmologists who will be returning within a year to start the residency training here for other Ethiopians.
SODDO CHRISTIAN HOSPITAL CAMPUS: When we first arrived here at Soddo Christian Hospital (1996), the entire on-campus staff consisted of Dr. Duane & Jackie Anderson and ourselves! Yep, that was it! Now, 4 years later, we have a general surgeon and his family, two general practitioners, anesthesiologist, obstetrician/gynecologist and an ob/gyn resident. It is wonderful to see the hospital’s tremendous growth over these years. These physicians fill to capacity the current housing available here at the hospital. Within the next two years there are two additional surgeons and a pediatrician planning on moving here to Soddo Christian Hospital – space is becoming a real problem here!
WHAT NOW?: Over the past year, our focus has shifted somewhat to a vision that Stephne was given regarding ministering to the poor, establishing a permanent infrastructure (more organized and efficient) from where the poor can be cared for. A place to gather the needy, minister to the orphans and the widows, as it states in James 1:27. This vision has actually exploded into a full scope project of:
- a children’s home;
- a food production facility (check out our old blog archives for more information);
- a guesthouse, and
- a multi-purpose building to minister to the community (training, worship, etc);
It is named: “Wolaitta Village”. Through a powerful series of events, rich testimony resulted in this project being blessed by a team of Master’s level architects, led by their very talented professor, Jack DeBartolo from Arizona State University, who were on the ground here in Soddo for a week and have taken on the responsibility to design this village, every building, and every detail. The design of each building is slowly being finalized and it is very exciting to see the Lord’s plans being delivered through Stephne’s dream on paper for a ministry future to the poor. This was a door that only the Lord could have opened by putting His people together in a very special way. This design team ministered to us and we ministered to them for an incredible week of work, so worth every sleepless night that was invested. So we have a plan, the property has just been secured by local- & regional governments and we have a logo for the project! We have started the fund-raising for the project and are working to raise about $1.5 million for it all! I, Harry has accepted the responsibility of managing this project, with Stephne by my side keeping us all accountable to the original Word from the Father’s heart for the poor of Wolaitta! We have just hosted the official launch/dedication of Wolaitta Village during a ceremony on the approved land – 10 November 2010. Further information can be found on the web sites of two foundations that have partnered with us: New Covenant Foundation, www.newcovenantfoundation.org, and Joseph Alliance, http://www.JosephAlliance.com. We are anticipating having the www.wolaittavillage.com web site up – have a look! We are so humbled by the Network of compassionate people who have been our motivation to drive this project into all that the Lord has for it!
HOUSING: I would like to now bring the aspect of the housing at the Hospital and the Wolaitta Village project together to say that it is time for our family to find alternative housing outside of the hospital campus. After all, this is a surgical training hospital, and of course more surgeons will be needed as the program grows here. Our house will be needed for a family of the incoming surgeons, who will be assisting with the training. Our housing is secured until the end of 2011, so we have slightly over a year in our current home before we need to be off the compound and into a new home…..!
WOLAITTA VILLAGE MANAGER’s HOME: Because Wolaitta Village is a long-term commitment, long beyond our foreseeable time here, we believe that the construction of a house, rather than renting, would show better stewardship of finances, training, eventually being able to hand over the Administration and Ministry to the Ethiopian Nation – as it is theirs originally! The house would be a part of the Wolaitta Village project for those managers who come after us for future development. We have concluded that the construction of a house for our own family & all of you who would like to visit with us, would cost $80,000. This would be for a three- bedroom, approximately 1600 sq. ft. home. We have a piece of land very well situated within walking distance of the Wolaitta Village property and close to a tarred road. This home will allow us to oversee this project longer, allow the Village to grow on the Foundation of the Original Vision from the Lord. We believe that it will be necessary for a bridging/training family to oversee this project to provide training, equipping the nation to care for its own poor.
NOW, WHAT? THIS is an URGENT opportunity for you:
Friends, churches, mission boards, families and foundations, please prayerfully consider seeding into building a Manager’s Home for the project as soon as possible, since we need to dig the foundation since construction is quite the tedious adventure here! We are already blessed with a US-Construction Expert and his wife who is going to oversee the construction aspects! He is itching to dig the foundations! We need to raise:
$90,000 (US Dollars)
for a WV-Village Manager’s home, please! We anticipate the construction to take 9 months, so we need to start the construction as close to January 1, 2010! Through these past 4 years of our work here in Ethiopia, you have been very faithful both in prayer and financially. We are well aware of the difficult economic times people are going through, but we are also confident in the sovereignty of God in all things, including the provision of the things of the Kingdom to ALL of His children!
INVITATION: Please feel free to seek the Lord in what your role is to be here – we would LOVE to invite every reader to prayerfully seed your faith and financial resources towards this project, please! This project cannot be built without us here – we need to live here in order to see this amazing moment through with your holding up our arms! Therefore, it is very important that you seed with us, please! Help us take care of this very economical building plan for a family home quick, please! We ask that you consider submitting this to your church mission board for review and for possible support.
- $80 000.00 USD for Bowers family home;
- $1.5 mil USD for Wolaitta Village
- Vehicles for WV Project: Donations in vehicles or financial are welcome!
PLEASE earmark your donations & send to:
NEW COVENENT FOUNDATION, P O BOX 751, Liberty Lake, WASHINGTON, 99019 , “WV Managing Family’s Home”
THANK YOU for your faithulness and grace! May your storehouses overflow
In His joy!
Harry & Stephne, Karmyn & Benjamin