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Why the Ebola Crisis Needs a More Biblical Response

Ministry leaders empower West African Christians to do what no government or hospital can do.
Why the Ebola Crisis Needs a More Biblical Response
Image: Anadolu Agency / Getty Images
A Christian prays for the people who died due to Ebola, on a ritual in St. Joseph Parish Catholic Church in Monrovia, Liberia on 12 October, 2014.

West Africa’s Ebola pandemic is far from over and the confirmed death total has surpassed 6,070. As it slows down in Liberia, the number of cases is accelerating in Sierra Leone, according to the World Health Organization (WHO).

Public health authorities are now expanding home-based observation and care for people newly exposed to Ebola. In an urgent bid to reduce new infections, many individuals and families are under quarantine for 21 days. Caring for people under quarantine is something tangible that churches, ministries, and trained volunteers could do. In the hardest hit nations (Sierra Leone, Liberia, and Guinea), there are in total about 8,600 churches and hundreds of Christian ministries.

One ministry to disabled African women is Memphis-based Women of Hope International. Kim Kargbo, the adult child of missionaries to Sierra Leone, founded Women of Hope in 2009. As the Ebola crisis grew worse, Women of Hope teamed up with the Global Community Health Evangelism Network in teaching and training local Christian leaders to respond to the Ebola pandemic. (They don’t do direct clinical work in treatment centers.)

Leaders drafted a unique written resource in English and French called “A Biblical Church Response to Ebola.” It is free online and explains a Scripture-based response model for churches, using 18 passages and historical references to the Black Plague, the yellow fever epidemic, and HIV/AIDS. Kargbo and Ruth Ada Kamara, Women of Hope’s Sierra Leonean program manager, returned to the United States to raise awareness about what American churches might do as well. They spoke recently with Timothy C. Morgan, CT senior editor, global journalism, and Deann Alford, a Texas-based ...

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