Sierra Leone (CAM) — Caring for the poor,
proclaiming Christ amid occult and Islamist
influences, and assisting amputees who suffered
atrocities in a civil war (1991-2002) was
challenging enough for a locally based ministry.
And then Ebola hit.
In the impoverished West African country where
life expectancy is only 47 years, the rapid spread
of the Ebola virus has stretched ministry workers
striving to support grieving and suffering families.
“There are hundreds of families around us that
have lost loved ones,” said the director of a
ministry assisted by Christian Aid Mission, your
link to indigenous missions.
“Besides the loss of loved ones–some families
lose more than one member of their family to
Ebola, those who suffer loss are then subjected to
further psychological and physical suffering, as
they are immediately subjected to isolation from
the rest of the community for a period of 21 days.”
In the communal way of life in Sierra Leone, a
quarantined compound with three houses
accommodating about 12 families–a total of 50 or
more people–is now a common sight. Neighboring
houses are also quarantined. Thus there are
hundreds of families quarantined in the capital city
of Freetown and elsewhere.
Ebola has crippled jobs and food supplies, as
businesses and farms fall prey to the epidemic,
leaving the government ill-equipped to meet vast
needs. The government is providing some rations,
but they fall far short of the overwhelming needs
the crisis has created.
“Most farmers have been hindered from doing their
usual farming activities, as this attack started at
the start of the rainy season,” the ministry director
said. “This has caused foodstuffs to be scarce,
and foods do not come down to the city because
most parts of the country are quarantined.”
As a result, most food is imported and expensive,
often double the usual cost, and many people
cannot afford it.
As most businesses have scaled back production,
many people have been laid off, and even those
who are employed are not receiving their salaries
The ministry began a feeding program for people
affected by the Ebola crisis two months ago, when
a 14-year-old girl fainted from hunger during a
church worship service.
“The pastor had to send someone to buy some
food for her, and then she revived,” he said. “We
have since then been doing the little we can to help
the situation, but we are limited and stretched out.”
The ministry also has been sending money via
bank transfers to areas of quarantine in the
provinces, as area churches are limited in their
outreach to Ebola victims due to drops in
In the near term, the ministry plans to provide rice,
cooking oil, onions, and sugar to at least 50
families, “provided we have the means,” said the
director. “Our greatest needs are finances to
purchase foodstuffs to distribute to our people–
both those of our church fellowship and some in
the communities where our churches are located.
We will need $4,000 to $5,000 at least, as the
need is great.”
Along with funds to provide food, the ministry also
seeks assistance to buy medicines and chlorine,
used as a disinfectant. Chlorine is used to disinfect
areas where people have died, and people are
urged to keep a special bucket of chlorinated water
for washing their hands.
“Every congregant must wash [his/her] hands
before entering our services and is tested with a
thermometer,” he said. “The slum community of
Kroo Bay, where we have one of our oldest
churches, is highly populated and needs to have
more points with such buckets with chlorinated
Chlorine is expensive, he said: a bottle of 200
tablets costs about $40.
“The bucket, too, is now very costly,” he added.
“All of these are limitations, and poverty is also a
factor for the spread of the virus. We need as
much as 40 cups of chlorine for our church
meetings, distribution to our members, and for use
in the Kroo Bay community. This will cost about
The director thanked donors for their support.
“We are praying that our God will provide all we
need at this time, and that He blesses all our
friends,” he said.
If you’d like to donate to families in Sierra Leone,
Pray for families in Sierra Leone who have a
shortage of food and for the spread of Ebola to
come to a halt without horrible after effects.
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