Liberia (GAiN) — Editor’s Note: Finally, some GOOD news about the Ebola crisis in West Africa. The World Health Organization has declared both Senegal and Nigeria free of Ebola transmission. Things remain serious in Liberia, Sierra Leone, and Guinea, but health workers are daring to hope. What follows is a recent post from Global Aid Network’s Cru partners in Liberia:
It seems the enemy force has not only succeeded in paralyzing our economy and causing an untold suffering to people who were gradually rebuilding their lives after fourteen years of armed conflict. The virus also subjected the entire country to fear and uncertainty regarding who would be hit next. The government, therefore, instituted emergency measures, such as declaring a state of emergency, imposing a curfew, closure of public and private institutions of learning, and requesting nonessential government staff to remain home for a period of ninety days to limit the spread of the virus.
Despite these stringent measures, the virus has killed about 2,316 persons in Liberia as of October 14.
There is a saying that “when one door closes, God opens another.” Our primary environment for doing ministry is university campuses. Therefore, the closure of these campuses indefinitely is very frustrating. However, the students accepted the situation and quickly saw the open doors for ministry opportunity in the midst of the Ebola virus epidemic.
The first door of opportunity was a “Mobile Prayer Chain.” Two leading mobile phone companies offered promotions offering periods of free calling. So, five students used this opportunity to great advantage. They prayed on their cell phones for one hour after every two days. Right now, this mobile prayer chain has grown from 5 to 65 students into groups of at least 5 students per group. “My involvement in this mobile chain hasn’t only improved my prayer life, but I have learned to pray strategically using Scriptures,” said Fatu, a student at the University of Liberia.
The second door of opportunity is a campaign called “Ebola kills, Jesus heals.” This campaign is an ongoing community effort to stop the spread of the virus using two primary approaches:
Public Service Training — The usage of PowerPoint presentations and video clips of the virus with emphasis on the cause, how it kills and preventive measures. The PowerPoint presentation transitions from the negative effect “Ebola kills” to the gospel message “Jesus heals,” providing the audience the opportunity to make decisions for Christ. This campaign started on the 7th of August and ended on the 12th due to the imposition of a night curfew. However, 266 people watched the presentation, and 20 prayed to receive the gift of salvation!
Community Task Force Training — Every community has set up a task force to fight against the spread of the virus. Two communities invited us to help train their task force with focus on the history of Ebola, the cause, preventive measures, contact tracing, the usage of the Personal Protection Equipment (PPE), and the gospel presentation. This training brought together 110 participants. Thirty-two persons made decisions for Christ.
The third Door of Opportunity provides students the ability to help with ongoing distribution of medical and food supplies in several places, including hospitals with Ebola Treatment Units (ETUs), quarantined communities, and disabled communities. The humanitarian aid supplied was provided by our major donor, GAiN International, based in Plano, Texas, USA.
The fourth door of opportunity involves the “In Touch Messenger.” This device contains the New Testament Bible and prerecorded inspirational messages by Rev. Charles Stanley. Our primary focus is to give each device to an Ebola survivor to help him or her understand that if no one will accept them as they get reintegrated into communities, Jesus will. On the 7th of October, 21 Ebola survivors were discharged from Ebola Treatment Unit at E.L.W.A. Each received a copy of the device.
It is so unfortunate that there is not much publicity regarding Ebola survivors being discharged from ETUs across the country. There are more than 500 confirmed cases in which infected people have survived. It is even more frustrating that few resources exist to help survivors rejoin their communities after losing almost everything during their misfortune. As students make follow-up visits in communities where survivors have returned, it is so disheartening to note that some return to empty homes with no mattress, food, clothes, or other basic necessities.
Fortunately, the students have begun distributing humanitarian aid to survivors, and include the In Touch Messenger. By meeting the physical and spiritual needs of Ebola victims, and by equipping communities to confront the Ebola crisis, the name of Christ is shining brightly in the darkness.