Dear Friends and Prayer Partners,
Easter is a reminder of how much God did for us. Our life and purpose hinge entirely on His death and resurrection - the greatest expression of love and power. Of love because He laid down his life for each of us as His friends and of power because He overcame death and was approved by God the Father as the path of righteousness and salvation for all mankind. These truths are our foundation for life and our fortress when we are tested. They continue to inspire us to serve Him with joy and peace and to share this Gospel with others.
Guinea remains one of the neediest nations in the World. Physical poverty, spiritual darkness, political unrest, economic and medical paralysis are all caused by the Ebola epidemic. Thank you for partnering with us to reach "Guinea for God" through Compassion Evangelical Hospital.
Ebola still infects hundreds of people per month in Guinea and Sierra Leone. It is almost cleared from Liberia, one of the three nations most affected. The disease slowed down or is eradicated in areas where visitors from West Africa transmitted the disease and caused small outbreaks. Most of the current outbreaks in Guinea are localized in the southwest corner of the country, 200 miles from CEH. However, this area includes the capital which has a strong connection to the entire nation.
During this recent outbreak, over 25,000 people in West Africa contracted Ebola and around 10,500 have died. Fear is still rampant and affects every aspect of life. Transmission is greatest during the treatment of patients and in the traditional handlingof the deceased at funerals since the virus remains active even after death. Quarantininga sick person is an affront to the close societal support system of families in West Africa. It is customary to surround a suffering loved-one to support them. Surveillance of the contacts is both technologically difficult and sociologically threatening in these developing nations. Imposed government controls are sometimes severely resisted even to the point of death.
The Guinean health authorities outlawed large gatherings during these months, fearful the illness would spread. Education halted for four months. Teachers and students of all ages are trying to catch up for lost time. In farming, manual cultivation of the ground is still the norm in West Africa but even this was forbidden since it requires a group of people working together. Food shortages are anticipated where there is already a baseline of malnutrition and poverty. Commerce and tourism were hindered by quarantines. Fear prompts resistance to preventative educational health programs conducted anywhere in the nation. Consequently, the staff at CEH is hesitant to promote these programs.
There are still no cases of Ebola at CEH, nor any originating in our county. The daily census of patients is currently 20, much below our desired count of 50-100. Through the generous giving of friends of the ministry we did not need to release any of our 55 national staff, though CEH is not presently self sufficient for their salaries as they once were. We hope to return to self sufficiency soon. Thank you for your prayers for our protection. Please continue to pray for Ebola's total eradication. As the affected nations recuperate economically, socially and in many aspects of life they will continue to need help from materially blessed nations.
Short Term Teams
The Ebola outbreak delayed several of our medical and construction team trips to Guinea. Lord willing, a construction and technology team of five or six will travel to Guinea in May. Here is what they hope to accomplish:
Repair the x-ray
Develop an IT Network and Antenna System
Install plumbing and electric for laundry building
Prepare for solar power installation (scheduled for fall 2015)
Laundry Building under construction
Solar fencing under construction
Pastor Woody of Minnesota will be with this team. The national staff asked him to lead a conference on Christian work ethics and participate with other national pastors in a second conference with a Christian marriage focus. The marriage conference will be held on Saturday and attended by couples from the four local evangelical churches. Pray for the team's protection and success in all of these activities.
MIAPE Ministry Update
MIAPE, our sister African mission, (eight missionaries) are very active in several projects. In four years, their school grew to 116 students with five teachers for general subjects. Pastor Oumar's wife, Marietou is teaching a daily Bible class and the school is directed by Paulette. Two classrooms were added last year and two new ones are currently under construction.
Children at the MIAPE School
Adjacent to this they are constructing a Welcome Center motel to house new converts who may be ostracized from their families when they accept Christ. MIAPE will house and feed them as they are trained with new job skills to become self-supporting while also being discipled in their new faith in Christ. MIAPE initiated and supported each of these projects on their own but have received some USA assistance. To finish these two projects they need an additional $7,000. The CEH Board approved this as a designated gifting project for those whom God moves to partner in this way.
Following are two examples of young believers who will be helped by this Welcome Center:
A.R. is a young nurse who accepted Christ while in school in one of the large cities. Her local pastor sheltered her for a time but there were threats from the family to kill her because of her conversion. He contacted the hospital to request that we train her further and potentially find her a job. Because of Ebola the hospital census is low and we are not yet taking on new hires. However she was accepted as a nurse intern and may in the future help us with a community health program we are initiating.
C.R. is a patient from Sierra Leone who came with a psychological problem. He was naked and starving. The MIAPE church took him in, clothed him, and fed him. Pastor Oumar allows him to spend his nights in the church office since the motel is not yet finished. The pastor directs him in simple chores on the hospital grounds and sees that he is fed. What will God make of this young man in the future? These stories remind me of the passage in Matthew 25. "When I (Christ) was in need you fed me ... in that you have done it unto the least of these my brethren you have done it unto me." How privileged we are to partner with these missionaries and small church who are putting their hands and feet to this work to the glory of God in the most needy corner of the world.
Pastor Oumar reported in February that 187 of the 225 patients hearing the Gospel on the veranda before clinic have raised their hands to indicate that they are interested in following Christ. This is seen as a first step toward coming to Christ and asking to be prayed for. Six hospitalized patients also registered their faith in Christ. If you would like to get Pastor Oumar's translated monthly reports to fuel your prayers please contact us by email and we will put you on this monthly list.
For all of this we can only praise God!
Rejoicing with you and with heaven,
Dr. Dwight E. Slater, MD
CEO of CEH