Monday, October 6, 2014
Bringing it in focus
I'm not typically the serious blogger, but after Sunday learning more about the Ebola outbreak, I feel like I need to share this information with you (you know the four people that may read this blog. haha!). My preacher's brother is involved with missions in Liberia and happens to be home right now. I will say he almost seemed to feel guilty for not being in Liberia right now, but I think he's doing great work by visiting churches to share his information.
The Ebola outbreak has been traced back to one little boy in Guinea. He either ate fruit after an infected fruit bat had nibbled on it, or something along these lines. The initial symptoms of Ebola resemble Malaria, which is not uncommon in this region. Therefore the family treated him as if it were Malaria, not realizing they were becoming infected as well. Since the incubation period for Ebola is 2-21 days, they have a delay until they, too, exhibit signs of Ebola, which look like Malaria. Eventually one person travels to Sierra Leone to visit the witch doctor, spreading it outside of the area of Guinea.
Many things are promoting the spread: the fact that families prepare the dead and it is at this point that the virus is at its most potent. The religious beliefs are such that if you are sick, it's assumed you are being punished for doing something bad. There is a huge mistrust of the government and a severe lack of health care. The international response was slow, allowing the virus to spread - and continue to spread - at a rapid rate. According to the presentation, there are over 6,700 cases and 3,000 deaths thus far. The past THREE WEEKS saw a 57% increase in the number of cases - and it's predicted we'll see 20,000 by November and 1.4 million by the end of January. I can't even fathom this number. This is how quick Ebola spreads.
Rev. Chuck McArthur and the group he works with www.restoreliberia.org, are working to reach the community through the churches. By using people already in the community with established relationships, the trust is already in place to listen and learn about how to prevent the spread of Ebola. Their goal is arm 50 churches with the ability to make and distribute their own soap. To serve as food distribution centers to those families at risk. To spread the education about Ebola.
One of his coworkers described a lady who received a bucket, bleach and a bag of rice, how she DANCED IN THE STREETS with JOY for receiving these items that would keep her family alive. Danced. In. The. Streets. Thanks to A BUCKET. BLEACH. and a bad of RICE.
We can't fathom this, ya'll. We are not in this situation. But we can have empathy for our fellow human beings and reach out to them. As Chuck said - when things are so dark, it's a great time for the church to shine bright.
I'm not asking you to donate - that's for you to decide if you are being led to contribute financially to the cause. But I am asking you to Pray Pray Pray for these people, the 50 churches, the doctors and leaders. Please pray that this situation is handled before another 10,000 people are lost forever.