Questions and fears at home and abroad
The whole world is watching West Africa. Its concern is not due to some great achievement or advancement. The world watches out of fear . . . fear of the Ebola virus. How many are sick? How many have died? How many will die? These questions are a daily concern. But in the United States we ask other questions. How far will it spread? Will it come to my city? Could I become infected?
The near certainty is that the infection will not spread in the United Sates as it has in Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia. But the fear of what could be can cause us to minimize what is being experienced by our brothers and sisters in Christ in the affected countries.
While Ebola takes it toll, life and ministry go on in West Africa. And the toll is not just health related. Ebola affects the economies and infrastructures of countries where it is present. Food is more expensive. Travel is restricted. Some are afraid to gather for church for fear of contamination.
The Church’s commitment
What should the commitment of the Church be in these trying circumstances?
The following email I recently received from the APT Ministries Liberian Training Team sums up the heart and passion of so many believers there. I had recommended postponing the workshop because of the Ebola virus. But our training team was beseeched by Liberian pastors to conduct the training. Their words underscore why it is a privilege to be associated with these men and women of God.
“We finally conducted the workshop for some 56 determined and dedicated pastors and church leaders who could not accept “no” for an answer. Despite the Ebola scare and risk, they mobilized themselves and underwent the training. Some of them said to us, perhaps there will not be time left for them to attend a postponed workshop because of the severity of the Ebola virus in Liberia; hence there is a need to be trained so as to share the gospel quickly with the living and dying in Liberia. We were really touched by this statement! In fact, we facilitators decided to label this particular Thompson Bible Workshop: Ebola Thompson Chain Reference Bible Workshop! It may sound bazaar and humorous, but it will be a memorable experience in our lives and our ministry for many years to come.”
“There is a need to be trained so as to share the Gospel quickly with the living and the dying.” This is perpetually true for the Church and anyone committed to fulfilling the Great Commission. How much more is that reality brought into focus in West Africa today!