The Ebola Epidemic in west Africa was one of the defining news stories for last year. At our last the global partnership meeting in February 2015, we were praying and thinking about this crisis and wondering if there was still any need and if so would we able to do anything about it.
Tim Brooks recalled that his aunt, Allison Howell, professor at Akrofi Christaller Institute, Accra, Ghana, was heading up an Education program to help in the fight against this disease. She also has contacts with community leaders and pastors in Sierra Leone, one of the most affected countries. So we decided to contact her to find what we could do.
Although Ebola is now out of the headlines, and though the number of new cases are declining, and district quarantine measures have been eased, they are not out of the woods yet.
She replied with the contact details of Rev. Kelvin Koroma, who is heavily involved in providing for those affected by Ebola. Part of his work is to organise and deliver food parcels to the quarantined homes of people that have been diagnosed as having the virus.
In reply to our email asking for how we could help and what we could pray for he wrote:
"Our prayer request is that God will bring to an end this ugly chapter in the history of our nation. We were, as a nation (Sierra Leone), on the verge of standing on our own as a nation when this Ebola outbreak came to reveal what we lack and should develop: our healthcare system. This means the Ebola outbreak then is a blessing in disguise. Our healthcare system is now considered a national priority but we need to see the end of this clarion call. Our education system is out of order; agriculture will bring a low yield this year because of less farming due to quarantines; businesses have collapsed since the loss of jobs has brought down the purchasing power. I may not be doing myself much good to go on and on with this endless list. We have three church members who are sick, two have could not walk again due to high blood pressure sickness which the Ebola made them not to get proper medical care, while the other is down with a liver sickness: Sapri Kanu, Vera Barley and Nana Fofana respectively. Please pray that God will grant them healing."
You see not only were the people who caught the disease affected by it, people could not work because of the quarantine measures: especially affected were schools, health care and farming.
It has also affected the church: They have not been able to share communion since the start of the epidemic, They have to observe strict hygiene rules such as wash their hands in a Veronica bucket containing chlorinated water before they enter the building. There is no hand shaking or hugging allowed. As a community hub they are also key to defusing information on infection prevention and hygiene.
We thought that as well as sharing this with you for your prayers, we would send them £500 to help with there endeavours to get back on there feet after such a knock.
Having received our gift, he replied:
" I thank you very much for your generosity towards Ebola response relief provisions. [...]
I am using what you have sent to help our remote or rural community teachers. These are community people who studied up secondary school level but could not continue to college level, therefore they return to their urban communities to start schools in the name of our church (Wesleyan Church in Sierra Leone). These teachers are paid by hand outs contributed by the community people. This community schools are most times the forerunners for our schools and the planting of churches. Most of this pioneer teachers are used also as pastors to start churches using the schools as motivation for parents and their children to attend church. When the Ebola out break came these community teachers who used to receive handouts from the village communities, lost such facilities. Recently, around the week leading to December, we gave relief supplies to those teachers/pastors (we designate them as 'Supply Pastors'). The pictures below will tell you more. I am using what you have sent to help some of these 'Supply Pastors' whose situation is desperate due to the crisis."
Please join us in praying for those still affected by the Ebola Virus:
• Thanking Him that the end seems to be in sight in the fight against Ebola
• Thanking Him for people like the Rev Koroma, working hard to bring relief and Good News to those in need.
• For a rapid close to this nightmare chapter of Sierra Leone’s and West Africa's history
• For God's light to shine in this situation, redeeming it and bringing new life.
• For those physical needs currently felt,
• the sick to be healed,
• for the hungry to be fed,
• for those out of employment to find work
• that the farmers crops would bear good yields despite the constraint imposed by the quarantines
• For government to make wise choices as to how to develop the heal care and education systems and develop their economy after such a hit.