News & Updates


MONTHLY UPDATE - October, 2008

Dear Friends of CEH,

The past few weeks, we have witnessed a destabilization of the financial markets unprecedented in most of our lifetimes. Non-for-profit organizations around the country are rightly concerned that the resultant tightening of donors’ grips on their dollars will result in severe shortfalls in the contributions needed to balance their books.

As a member of the Board of Compassion Evangelical Hospital and former medical missionary, I’d like to talk to you about what I believe are the two important reasons, despite the recent financial crisis, that we shouldn’t neglect continued generous giving to CEH.

First, although the present clinic work at CEH is unable to be financially solvent, our generous donations at this time will ensure that the ministry moves to a point of independence. Let me explain. Revenue from mission clinic visits simply cannot be priced high enough to cover personnel salaries. When African mothers bring their little children who are sick with a fever to the clinic, the price of the visit needs to be priced competitively to that of the few government health clinics available and needs to be affordable to the poor, the vast majority of whom are subsistence farmers with an income of around $100 per year. Similarly, hospital inpatient ward costs cannot be raised to the level needed to independently support the medical staff. Experience from mission hospitals across the continent of Africa (and, similarly, from US hospitals!) has clearly demonstrated that these ministries depend upon a vibrant surgical practice for financial solvency. In the African culture, surgical procedures are expenses that extended family consider their responsibility to help cover. Surgeries can therefore be priced at a level that generates significant revenue to cover hospital and clinic expenses.

Through our generous contributions at this difficult economic time, we can build the surgical suites, and propel the work of CEH to financial independence and greater spiritual and medical ministry. The 2009 CEH Budget proposal of some $601,000 calls for $237,000 to build and equip the Operating Rooms, ER, and X-ray suites and $76,000 to build Wards C and D that will propel CEH into the status of a fully functional community hospital. Once built and staffed, Dr. Jean-Paul can begin doing C. sections and other needed surgeries, procedures that will generate substantial revenue to reduce the current salary subsidy needed per CEH worker, but will more importantly bring life-saving care to 100’s of women, enable Dr. Kristen and her staff to save the lives of countless newborn babies, and enable all of the staff of CEH to even more effectively share the Gospel message with the hospitalized patients, a higher percentage of whom will have the opportunity to hear a clear and thorough presentation of the Gospel through one-on-one evangelism, and see it lived out in the loving care of the CEH staff.

Second, this current worldwide economic crisis gives us an opportunity to demonstrate true sacrifice, to “carry” the work of CEH through a needy time. Let me share with you a simple example. This past weekend, my wife, our 7 children and I were at a Wisconsin Dells water park for a medical conference. One of the few things I really enjoy at a water park is the ropes course. For those of you not so fortunate as to have visited one of these kid Mecca’s (in so many ways), they are loud, boisterous, humid, chaotic places that my children love. The ropes course and the water polo/basketball areas are at least a bit of physical activity, a reprieve from the vertiginous water slide rides. Saturday, while doing the ropes course with my youngest child, Drew, he ran out of energy near the end. Since I was tight behind him, he suddenly turned and grabbed onto me. I was left dangling from the ropes, trying to find my footing on those floating, moving-target rubber crocodile and turtle stepping stones below, while holding a “40-pounder.” My options at this point were to a) Drop Drew and finish the course alone or b) Drop Drew and drop out of the course in despair while saying something about the sky falling or c) Finish the course with Drew hanging on, the ropes digging into my hands that much the harder. Since I’m telling the story, you can guess which I chose (this time). Persistence, reliability, sacrifice, and commitment were the teaching points. Now, to clarify, I’m not comparing Drew to the painful crisis in the financial markets, but rather to the ministry of CEH. Our collective support of CEH depends on these same virtues, modeled perfectly by Jesus, in laying down His life for His sheep. The future success of CEH cries out for His kind of service at this critical juncture in world economic history.

In closing, there is much here that is really good news! CEH exists to effectively share Jesus’ life-transforming love, and that IS happening! Prior to the opening of the medical clinic a year ago, two of the Muslim construction workers building the clinic became Christians, simply through the faithful, corporate reading of God’s Word each morning prior to starting work. And, now, in August, a woman who had come to the clinic many times for treatment of her chronic leg infection also decided to follow Jesus. She is the first fruit of our collective labor of love, evidence that God is “on the move”, that He is using the ministry of CEH to reveal Himself to the people of Guinea, so very few of whom know Him.

Thank you for your faithful financial and prayer support of CEH. May God unify us with a solid resolve to contribute generously to grow this exciting and effective ministry to share Jesus’ love with the people of Guinea.

Every Blessing,


Stephen P. Merry, MD, MPH
CEH Board Member
Liaison to Autumn Ridge Church
Consultant, Mayo Clinic

Compassion Evangelical Hospital, P.O. Box 870, Southfield, MI 48037