The Ebola outbreak

Adjusting ministry focus

Liberia and the Ebola outbreak

Adjusting ministry focus

From March 2014, as maps of Liberia began to indicate how the Ebola virus was spreading from Guinea and Sierra Leone throughout Liberia, the number of deaths in Liberia were quickly rising. The infections and deaths of health care workers, including doctors and nurses led to the closing of all hospitals to regular care so that diseases such as Malaria, Cholera and Typhoid with similar initial symptoms were being counted as Ebola with no available testing to determine if it was an Ebola virus death. Women with pregnancy emergencies had nowhere to go for help and many died, along with their infants. Almost 100% of infants with Ebola infected mothers die as a result of infection during their birth process. As of Jan 14, 2015, the number of Ebola virus deaths in West Africa is 8,429 with 3,538 occurring in Liberia.

Ebola Treatment Unit

Ebola Treatment Unit

How close it gets

Late December 2014 people in Eric’s living compound returned from a visit to distant counties in Liberia and soon discovered they had Ebola and had likely infected others in the compound. In total five were taken to hospital — all have died. Eric had been invited to a local church to enjoy a Christmas meal but within hours was very sick with Typhoid and began getting daily IV treatment from a local doctor. When he returned from his last treatment, he found the compound locked under quarantine. If Eric had been inside, he would not have been able to leave for 21 days, unable to collect Western Union funds from ICMS, work in our office, teach at the Bible School, visit villages, or accept invitations to preach on Sundays. Your constant prayers for Pastor Eric are vitally important.
Red Cross Assists Liberia VIL
But stats are illusive because as the burial team take the dead away to reduce the spread of infection, the bodies are being cremated in groups and the ashes are not buried or returned. On “Decoration Day” when Liberians go to clean grave sites of family and remember them, there will be no place marked for these Ebola victims.
Cremation is not a part of the Liberian culture, consequently Liberians stopped calling the health care workers to collect their dead but instead they washed, dressed, embraced, and buried the body themselves thus getting infected when the body is most virulent.
The Liberian government responded to this practice by donating a new 50-acre plot of land for a cemetery where people would be buried and previously cremated victims would be given a marker to indicate their death.
Vision Impact Liberia Ebola Poster

Village Ministries Ebola Poster

Vision Impact published this poster in Liberia during the Ebola outbreak.

When the international community teams and money arrived, their help and funds were immediately applied to the crisis of caring for the dying, but no money or manpower was given for prevention by education and hand washing kits for the 1.5 million people living in the villages of the interior of the country. The people of the interior needed to stop eating bush meat, specifically bats and monkeys, believed to be carrying the Ebola virus.

When county borders were closed Pastor Eric delivered bags of rice to these isolated villages. The reputation of Vision Impact spread throughout the mostly Muslim villages of the Interior, and even to people who had never heard of this Christian ministry and we believe in this way God has prepared their hearts to allow us to return and show the Jesus Film or put down a well which has in the past led to an invitation for us to build a Christian church and share God’s Word on a regular basis. By God’s grace we will experience these new opportunities created by the Ebola Virus epidemic.

Pastor Eric Delivers Rice to the Villagers

Pastor Eric Delivers Rice to the Villagers

Eric Teaching on Ebola

Eric Teaching Villagers on Ebola

Eric teaches villagers on Ebola

This project has allowed us to build relationships with new Muslim villages. Along with the teaching, your donation of $20.00 (USD) has permitted us to supply hand washing buckets, bleach, and hand soap to village families as requests came in.
Lahai Healed by God

In 2014, Lahai, a Muslim since birth, lost his whole family to the ravages of the Ebola virus. When he began to feel unwell, he was very fearful, and someone told him to call Pastor Eric who prayed for him over the phone and promised to pray for him for the crucial days of the next week. Lahai tested positive at an Ebola clinic and remained for treatment. After a week his blood showed no further signs of Ebola virus, and he was discharged. In his gratefulness he called Pastor Eric to report the good news. Eric invited him to our office where he led Lahai to the Lord and provided him with literature to help him.

The Believers Personal Handbook
Orphaned by Ebola

Liberian Children Orphaned by Ebola

The Ebola outbreak created approximately 1,000 orphaned children in Liberia. The area in and around Kakata township, Margibi County has about 200 children whose parents or caregiver died of Ebola. The fear of contracting Ebola from these children and the stigma of having a family member who died of Ebola is so powerful in the community that it keeps family members or even neighbours from accepting these children into their homes — no one wants to touch them. The children have been wandering from house to house asking for food and have been allowed to sleep in a local church. Pastor Eric gathered donations of food and clothing in Monrovia and delivered these to the children.

Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.”

Matthew 19:14