Reports from Liberia indicate that the advance of the deadly Ebola virus has begun to lessen a bit. In Ganta, Nimba County, Pastor Arthur Wehyee has reported several times that conditions have been improving with less numbers of new cases and some very welcome recoveries. And in Lofa County, Pastor John Ndorbor’s home region and home to the majority of our partner coffee farmers, over the past 6 weeks there have been declining numbers of infected patients, with no new reported cases at all in the past week. But although less people are becoming sick in several counties, a member of the country’s Ebola Task Force and longtime partner at Lighthouse Baptist Church, Joseph Morris, has informed us that in Monrovia, Montserrado County, the crisis is still serious with 50 probable new cases this week. The World Health Organization is concerned that this “continuing intensity of transmission emphasizes the need to continue efforts to contain the spread of the disease in the capital.” (WHO, Ebola Situation Report, 11.5.14)
The infrastructure needs are an ongoing concern in Liberia. So far, they have been able to increase the number of beds at Ebola Treatment Centers (ETC) to 593, but there are only 3 foreign medical teams at 3 ETC’s and they are in need of 13 more teams to help operate additional ETC’s with 1200 more beds.
Compassion Corps has focused on helping to meet this particular need, in part, by working hard to raise funds for shipment of a 40’ container of donated beds, medical equipment, and other supplies (in all, worth approximately $100,000) to better equip our partner clinic in Barnersville, Monrovia. Along with Pastor Perry Messick and his congregation at First Baptist Church of Collingdale, our CC Staff co-hosted Healthline Clinic Director, Pastor Tage Swallie, during the month of October, setting up speaking events, radio, TV, and newspaper interviews for him. (We were even featured as the front page story on the Delaware County Sunday Times!) In this way, Pastor Tage was able to share about his clinic’s personal involvement during the past few months of the Ebola crisis (reported in our last crisis update) as well as offer an opportunity for many to give to help him ship his container over to Liberia.
As a result of the generous giving of many churches, community groups, and individuals, Compassion Corps was able to raise $7,000 to put toward the shipment costs. Pastor Tage, while deeply thankful for our support, is still looking to raise an additional $2,000 so that he can send off the container by
freighter before he returns, himself, to Liberia on November 27th. If you can help, please see below.
Despite a glimmer of hope that with its decline in some places the disease may be contained sooner than some have predicted, the casualties so far have left our hearts grieving. First, we received the news that one of our precious sponsored students, 9-year old Elizabeth Cooper, had lost her mother to the Ebola virus, and then she, herself, along with her father, had to be rushed to an ETC in Monrovia. (We pictured their family in a previous post.) Her father recovered, but Elizabeth did not survive. Just a few weeks after her death, her little sister, Rose, also died from the disease, and her younger brother, Bill, became ill but thankfully was treated successfully at Ganta’s new ETC and released there on Oct. 31st. He and his baby brother have not yet been reunited with their father – they have no place to go home to as everything in their home was destroyed in an attempt to eradicate the virus. Surely the realities of loss and heartache like that of this family have greatly affected all of our partners, and we must continue on in prayer for them.
We can also help in another way: in light of the severe food shortages and diminished sources of income due to closed schools, closed clinics, and closed businesses, the Liberian people are hungry. Thanks to your many generous gifts this past month, Compassion Corps has been able to send $2,650 to be used solely for food support for our two partner orphanages (Martha’s & the Valentines’), and two of our partner schools, Trumpet School and Haweh Academy. We are grateful to Pastor John who delivers these food items to the Monrovia-area partners, and Pastor Arthur has worked tirelessly with his team in Ganta to deliver food items and mattresses to many afflicted families.
Another one of our dear partners in Monrovia, Eva Taye, heard our interview with Pastor Tage on a Liberian Radio Station which had been broadcast all over the country. She called to express her thanks to all of us for remembering them in this time of extraordinary need. Eva is one of the craftswomen whom we help each year by purchasing many of her unique, hand-crafted dolls. She reported that, “Things are so difficult: the hunger – the hunger – no money – no business – everything stands still, so I thank you so much for all you are doing for us. We ask that you will continue to pray for us for things to be all right. The main problem that we face is food…hunger is on the high increase because there are no customers…there is no way that we can sell…so we depend on the mercies of God…We hope you will remember us.”
During this month of giving thanks for the plenty that we so enjoy here in America, can we indeed “remember” these Liberian people who are suffering such loss and prolonged hunger? Please give what you can now by donating online here on our website (indicate Ebola Crisis in the comments section) or by sending a check to “Compassion Corps”, PO Box 103, Chester Heights, PA 19017.
Along with Eva, we thank you “so much for all you are doing” to show you do truly remember.
“…Not having become a forgetful hearer but an effectual doer, this man will be blessed in what he does.” James 1:25
May the Lord, indeed bless you for remembering and doing this good for others.