Missionary Profiles: Serving in Liberia

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The outbreak of Ebola in West Africa remains a dangerous and unpredictable situation, and we believe the Lord has placed us uniquely in a position to help care for those who are suffering and dying. We ask for your earnest prayer and support through this difficult time.

Dr. Rick Sacra

dr-sacraDr. Rick Sacra has served as a medical missionary in Liberia, West Africa, since 1995. His many contributions include caring for patients; training nurses, medical students and interns; leadership development; and helping to increase the hospital’s response to HIV and AIDS, including starting a counseling program for patients living with the virus. He is also helping to develop a Christian Family Practice Residency training program for Liberian doctors.

Dr. Sacra was the Acting Medical Director at ELWA Hospital from August 2008 to March 2010. He also served as the SIM Liberia Director for several years. Rick currently divides his time between Massachusetts and Liberia.

SIM sent Rick Sacra into Liberia early in August to provide assistance during the relocation of missionaries who needed a break in the Ebola fight. Alongside our many Liberian colleagues, Dr. Sacra provided continuity to the ministry at ELWA and helped to build SIM’s response to the Ebola crisis.

Dr. Sacra worked at ELWA Hospital and was not involved in the care of Ebola patients. The Ebola isolation unit is a separate facility from the hospital. Dr. Sacra has saved the lives of several women and infants in the past three weeks who would have otherwise died from complications of pregnancy and labor.

Colleagues react to the news of Rick’s infection with Ebola

Rick received his Doctor of Medicine from the University of Massachusetts Medical School in Worcester in 1989. He underwent a three-year Family Medicine residency program in Bristol, Tennessee. Rick and Debbie moved to Liberia in 1995 where Rick served as a physician and Debbie as a teacher. After only one year of service, the civil conflict forced them to flee. In 1997 the Sacras returned to West Africa, but initially to Cote d’Ivoire to serve among Liberian refugees. In 1998, they were able to re-enter Liberia, now with three boys.

Rick received the Teacher of the Year award from the Family Health Center of Worcester in June 2011 for his work mentoring Family Practice residents.

Rick was born October 16, 1962 in Massachusetts. Rick and his wife, Debbie, met in college at Brown University and were married in 1985. Their blog is here: http://iscripts.blogspot.com.

Will Elphick

Will-ElphickWill serves as the SIM Liberia Country Director, a role he has held since November 2010. SIM work in Liberia includes ELWA Radio Station, ELWA Hospital and ELWA Academy. SIM also partners with the Evangelical Church of Liberia (ECOL) where we have people working in Bible translation, pastor training, teacher training and community development.

Will Elphick joined SIM-UK based at Wetheringsett, Suffolk, UK in April 2000 as the Communications Director. In 2005 he was appointed Associate Director for SIM-UK, and was responsible for recruitment, personnel and communications.

Will was born in Nigeria and lived there until the age of 10. He studied agriculture and farm business management at London University. After completing a PGCE, he went to Swaziland in 1978, where he worked with UK Overseas Development Administration developing school agriculture programs. During this time he was an associate missionary with Campus Crusade for Christ involved in partnering the church in Swaziland with discipleship programs and developing the local church in Manzini, Swaziland. Prior to working in Swaziland, Will spent a year in Sierra Leone which is where he became a Christian.

In 1985 Will returned to the UK and began work at the UK National Agriculture Centre, a management training centre which runs courses for organizations involved with the food industry. He moved to Suffolk in 1989 to help set up a management consultancy, working with companies in the UK and on several overseas projects (including projects in Romania, Zambia, Bangladesh and India). The company also ran team building courses using 40’ sailing yachts off the east coast of England and in the Channel Islands.

Will has been an Elder at his local Church, The Forge Community Church in Suffolk, England, from 1993 until he moved to Liberia in 2010.

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