The following information was put into a handout and distributed on October 11, 2014 at a special FPC of Ulster prayer meeting held for the Ebola crisis in West Africa. Ulster missionary Joanne Greer who was evacuated from Liberia on August 5, 2014, along with FPCNA minister Rev. David DiCanio, request prayer for the worsening situation in the country.
SITUATION AT THIS TIME (OCTOBER 10, 2014)
“A total of 8399 confirmed, probable, and suspected cases of Ebola virus disease (EVD) have been reported in seven affected countries (Guinea, Liberia, Nigeria, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Spain, and the United States of America) up to the end of 8 October. There have been 4033 deaths.” (Quote from the WHO Situation Report of 10 October, 2014)
The three countries most affected, and their respective statistics (WHO, 10th October), are
Guinea 1350 cases 778 deaths
Sierra Leone 2950 cases 930 deaths
Liberia 4076 cases 2316 deaths
Most experts agree that these known cases are only about half of the true totals.
- PERSONNEL: Pray for the missionaries who were working in West Africa that they will know the Lord’s guidance as doors of service open for them while they wait to go back to West Africa.
- Free Presbyterian Mission Board North America: Rev. David DiCanio (minister FPCNA) and Miss Joanne Greer (member of Ballymena FPC in Northern Ireland) were evacuated from Liberia on August 5th.
- New Tribes Mission: Mr. David Burke, his wife Rachel, and family (members of Markethill FPC in Northern Ireland) left Guinea on September 2nd.
- PRAISE: The Burkes are thankful that they have been able to move back into the same house in Northern Ireland and have their children attend the same school that they were in during their furlough a few months ago. Mr. Burke is working on translation from Northern Ireland via Skype. DiCanio is carrying out deputation meetings in North America and Northern Ireland, which was planned for the near future anyway, and will be working in Jamaica for two months. Miss Greer is doing some deputation in Northern Ireland and will also be travelling to Uganda for a few weeks to assist in the new work there.
- PEOPLE: Pray that the people will go forward spiritually and the missionaries’ evacuation will not create a stumbling block in the future. All of the missionaries are keeping in contact with the believers in their respective works as much as possible via the internet, and are seeking to help and encourage from afar when possible.
- PHYSICAL: Pray for the physical needs of the believers. The North American FPC Mission Board has an emergency fund for serious medical cases, and Rev. DiCanio and Miss Greer are helping to channel those funds. Food prices have risen slightly in Liberia, and any extra money in the emergency fund is being used to buy staples such as rice and beans for those in the churches who have the greatest need.
- PROTECTION: Pray that God will protect the believers from Ebola, and that they would be wise in taking precautions. So far, Ebola has not reached the Burkes’ village in Guinea, but two of the three Liberian FPC mission churches are in the center of the outbreak. One woman from the Liberian Ballah Creek congregation has died from probable Ebola. Pray that none of her quarantined family would become ill. Pray also for children in the affected countries; over 3,700 children in Guinea, Sierra Leone, and Liberia have already lost one or both parents due to the Ebola virus. Many of these children are shunned by relatives or neighbours because of fears that they may have become infected by their dying parents.
- PREVENTION: Pray that the spread of the virus would be slowed down. The number of Ebola cases in West Africa has been doubling about every three weeks. There is little evidence so far that the epidemic is losing momentum. Transmission in Guinea is persistent but not increasing rapidly; sadly, in Liberia, the spread is exponential. Pray that screening systems will be effective so that Ebola will not spread to any other countries, and that the infected individuals in Europe and the USA will recover and no further spread will occur.
- PRESERVATION: Pray for both the healthcare workers and patients. Hundreds of medical professionals have already died, and many others still do not have adequate knowledge or protection. The already fragile health system is so overwhelmed that many patients are now dying from non-Ebola related diseases. Additionally, ill-informed villagers have attacked some medical professionals; in one instance, six community workers were murdered in Guinea.
- PROVISIONS: Pray for a more rapid response from the international community, to supplement the local medical efforts. Without this help, the effects of the virus may be irreversible. All Ebola treatment centres are overstretched in Liberia, and hundreds of suspected Ebola cases are being turned away. In Guinea, MSF (Doctors without Borders) workers report that their treatment centers are soon to reach capacity.
- PEACE: Pray for wisdom and honesty from the West African governments, and that peace and stability will be maintained. Pray that corruption and greed will not hinder aid agencies, and that supplies being donated will reach those in need.
- PROFIT: Pray about long-term effects on these countries. Most schools and universities have been closed down, food prices have slightly risen, and many businesses and workplaces have been closed. The effect on the economy, it is feared, could be disastrous.
- PRACTICE: Pray for those who are still denying the existence of Ebola, and for those whose superstitions and cultural and burial practices are helping to spread the virus. Pray that those who, out of fear or a misguided love, are hiding themselves or their sick relatives will realise that they will be best cared for in a treatment centre. There is no known cure for Ebola, but there is treatment. A few drugs and vaccines are being developed but are still in the experimental and untested stages, but if a person gets supportive treatment such as IV fluids, rehydrating drinks, and pain medication, the chance of his body fighting the disease successfully is much higher.
- PROVIDENCE: Pray that the people will know that the Lord is in control, and that they will glorify Him in all of these things. Pray that the people’s hearts will be turned to the Lord in the midst of fear, suffering and death.