Thursday, July 31, 2014

Ebola II

It’s been a rough few days.  Yesterday afternoon Peter and I decided that we’ll be delaying our trip back to Sierra Leone. It was with heavy hearts that we made that decision.  Very heavy.  Several things happened within a couple days that just made us really unsure of what was going to happen. One airline stopped flying into Sierra Leone and Liberia started closing some borders with Sierra Leone.  Sierra Leone is surrounded by Guinea and Liberia and so we started getting concerned that if things continued to escalate, travel would be really difficult. 

Originally we were going to extend for a couple weeks just so we could see where things were headed, see if they settled down or escalated.  As of this morning, we’re not sure when we’re going to be able to go back.  The president has declared a “State of Emergency” for the country which we think is good! This should provide better control and will hopefully stop the spread!  We want to go back as soon as possible. 
The hardest part about not going back is feeling like we’re abandoning our friends and family back in Salone.  “Hey good luck with that Ebola thing! We’ll see you again after it’s nice and safe for our family to come back.”  Yuck.  During all the years that I was planning on becoming a missionary, I was going to be THAT girl.  The one that stayed after everyone else left.  I was single (and not looking to mingle) so I was going to be able to do things that people who had families just couldn’t do.   I was going to be one of the ones in the space suit.  And I loved that idea! 

To be honest, there’s a big part of me that still REALLY wants to be over there in one of the space suits, right in the thick of the chaos. Part of this is because yes, I love the adrenaline. That’s why I work in the ER and ICU.  But also…..they need help!!  SOMEBODY needs to be there taking care of these patients. Somebody needs to take the risk.  Sierra Leonean doctors, nurses and other medical personnel are taking incredible risks (as are missionaries) and I want to do our part!! And these are Peter’s people! He’s thousands of miles away from his family during all of this and I can’t imagine what that would feel like.  That doesn’t even take into consideration the fact that Peter is the brand new Country Director for our NGO…and what will happen to the NGO? We have a lone missionary there right now and we wanted to go back and support him as well as all the other people working for the NGO.  But I’m also concerned for my family!!  What could happen to Marie? What could happen to us if we couldn’t get out? So many unknowns and so much to think about.

Peter and I have are from different cultures and had very different experiences growing up.  For these reasons we often approach decisions with very different frames of reference. While we have been praying for wisdom and discernment, we have also been praying for unity in our decision. We are both really thankful that as difficult as the decision to stay has been, we both feel a peace about this. 

Please pray for the situation in Sierra Leone, Liberia and Guinea.  Pray for those who are still there!! Please, please please pray that this will be resolved quickly!!

Tuesday, July 29, 2014


Peter and I are celebrating our one month anniversary today. 
Woo Hoo!!

We’ve celebrated our anniversary by having hours of conversation about whether or not we should re-enter a country that is in the middle of an unprecedented Ebola virus outbreak with a 60% mortality rate.  Wow, that sounds dramatic doesn’t it? (I’ve always had a flair for the dramatic....ask….well, anyone).

To be perfectly honest though, we have spent HOURS in the last few days (many of them with me in tears….sorry Peter, can’t return me now) trying to figure out what to do.  We’re supposed to go back on Sunday.  When we left in May , the outbreak was present, but hadn’t escalated like it has now.  We’ve talked to so many different people, both here and in Sierra Leone and have received very different advice.  I think that's what we're struggling with the most.  People who we love and respect are telling us different things.  Last night  we were both utterly confused about what to do. So we holed ourselves up in our room and hashed everything out, all the while begging Jesus for wisdom and discernment. 

We’ve decided to go back.

We have precautions that we’re going to put into place.  Peter will be doing the administrative work that he can from home and will meet only with the people that he must.  I’d left my job at the hospital before we came to the States to get married, so I have no commitments at any health care facility right now.  I was planning on taking a couple months and help get our family established, help Peter in any way I can in his new role, and get homeschooling off to a good start. 

Now I’m a bit torn.  I won’t be going to the hospitals where the Ebola is, but as a health care worker, I find it difficult not to do anything when I’m sitting in the middle of an epidemic!!  But so far ALL the advice has been for me not to get involved in the health care aspect of things at this time.  Many of the Sierra Leonean people are confused about what is actually causing the outbreak and are angry with the health care workers. There have been some angry gatherings at hospitals and ambulances are being stoned.  There are lots of rumors and lots of distrust.  Any work that I would be looking at doing would be in seeking to educate the people.  I’m just not sure at this point what that would look like and what the risk versus benefit ratio would be. 

So we’ll get there and figure out what the best thing to do will be.  We’ll see. Please please pray for this outbreak in Sierra Leone, Guinea and Liberia.  Pray for the health care workers, the people risking their lives. Pray for the infected people and their families. That fear would not overwhelm truth and that trust will be built between the hospitals and the people.  Pray for the stability of the country. Unrest and violence will only make a dangerous problem exponentially worse.