Dr. Kent Brantly and his wife Amber released their book "Called for Life: How Loving Our Neighbor Led Us Into the Heart of the Ebola Epidemic" on July 21, 2015. (PHOTO: ROSLAN & CAMPION PUBLIC RELATIONS)
Dr. Kent Brantly and his wife Amber released their book “Called for Life: How Loving Our Neighbor Led Us Into the Heart of the Ebola Epidemic” on July 21, 2015. (PHOTO: ROSLAN & CAMPION PUBLIC RELATIONS)

by Bob Blees

Dr. Kent Brantly of Samaritan’s Purse almost paid the ultimate price for serving others. The dramatic TV images of this American doctor weakened by Ebola and struggling to walk into Atlanta’s Emory University Hospital are hard to forget. Getting him from Liberia to Atlanta was even harder. I know because I was in the middle of this drama working closely with the U.S. State Department to get him home. Without strong partnerships between Christian and secular organizations and the U.S. government, it never would have happened.

Protecting the vulnerable is a difficult and often hazardous calling, but is central to our faith. Through his faith, Dr. Brantly chose compassion and ministering to others over fear of a place and people unknown to him, not to mention access to modern well-equipped hospitals.

He says, “There are innumerable lessons we could draw from that experience … choosing compassion over fear, the teachings of Jesus to love your neighbor as you love yourself.”

My faith also led me to work in Liberia where accessing healthcare was a challenge, even before Ebola. I witnessed how swiftly Ebola swept through communities and crossed borders killing over 11,000 people. I also know how much worse it would have been had there not been partnerships and learning from one another as we tried to save lives and contain the disease.

Rear Admiral (Ret.) Boris Lushniak, MD, MPH, who was in charge of the U.S. government’s Ebola response in Liberia, said, “The mission was a success because of the vast partnerships formed and the coordinated efforts of the international public health community.”

He credited lessons learned from our Serving in Mission (SIM) hospital about treating Ebola and keeping medical staff safe as vital to the response.

American faith-based organizations are industrious and we’re also generous. We raised $6.58 billion in FY15 according to recently released data. Just 12% of FBO funding comes from the federal government. But U.S. government resources, influence, and leadership are absolutely critical to our work, safety and success.

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SOURCE: Christian Post

Bob Blees is Vice President and Director of Global Services, SIM USA, an international mission agency with more than 4,000 workers serving in more than 70 countries, and serves on the board of Christian Connections for International Health.
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