ELWA Hospital shines a light of hope in Liberia
The Ebola epidemic was devastating for Liberia, which was still rebuilding after a civil war. But as always, God brings redemption out of disaster. Samaritan’s Purse had partnered with ELWA Hospital to provide funds for a brand-new medical facility. The new hospital, dedicated in the fall of 2016, will enable ELWA’s dedicated staff to provide quality compassionate care for more patients.
Nancy Writebol: Sharing hope in the midst of suffering
Nancy Writebol has seen the effects of Ebola up close. And as she served the victims of Ebola as a nurse at ELWA Hospital, Nancy contracted the disease herself. The experience only strengthened her faith in God’s redeeming power. “I am thankful for His grace that carries us and is extended to us each and every day,” she says.
Now Nancy attends to the ongoing needs of Liberians who were affected by Ebola. “Many people are struggling with trauma,” she says, “not only trauma from Ebola, but trauma reaching back to the years of civil war in Liberia.” Families have been devastated, and the survivors must now cope with economic hardship as well as emotional scars.
Even worse, they’re often stigmatized for having contracted the disease. “Many people have had to move and are not able to talk about Ebola for fear of stigma,” Nancy says. With its counseling and Trauma Healing ministry, ELWA Hospital offers a refuge from grief, fear, and rejection—along with quality medical care.
Dr. Rick Sacra: Finding strength in adversity
Rick and his wife, Debbie, lived in Liberia and served in medical ministry for 15 years before returning to the U.S. in 2010. But his eyes were still on Liberia, where he wanted to be a part of training a new generation of physicians.
As the Ebola outbreak exploded, Dr. Sacra could not sit back. He returned to help keep ELWA Hospital open as the crisis surged. But then he contracted Ebola himself.
By God’s grace, Rick recovered from Ebola and returned to his ministry in Liberia without hesitation. Now, with the new ELWA Hospital beginning operation, he’s optimistic. “The new facility will allow us to nearly double the number of patients we can serve.” He also looks forward to equipping Liberian medical professionals. “The additional space opens the door for us to host both short-term and long-term training programs for doctors and nurses.”
A Future of Hope
The new medical facility is an opportunity to serve more patients and offer training to the future doctors and nurses of Liberia. It will also be important to keep the prices affordable for patients of modest means, Rick notes. And he’s realistic about the financial stresses ahead: “To fully staff a hospital that is almost twice as large and to do all the on-the-job training that is necessary here will be a big challenge,” he says.
In post-Ebola Liberia, the SIM team remains focused on their mission: “Training, partnering with Liberians to meet needs in their communities, partnering with local church-based schools to improve their education, partnering with the church to provide a solid grounding in God’s Word to pastors and leaders—all these activities are more important than ever to provide a strong foundation to communities and families impacted by Ebola.”