October 2, 2014
In 1973, I lived for four months in Liberia, West Africa. After a very disillusioning summer internship in New York City government, I had decided to take some time off from college and, through the Church, I had met a Liberian diplomat who invited me to come to his country to work. He’d promised to arrange a government job doing economic planning (for which I was grossly unqualified), but my letter giving him my travel plans was lost in the mail, sent by the Post Office not to Liberia but to Libya. As a result, when I arrived in Liberia, no arrangements had been made for me and I ended up with a job selling Carrier air conditioners to embassies and international hotels.
It was an extraordinary experience for a twenty-year-old, on my own in such a different land. I got malaria and had other adventures, but the most important thing was that it was there that the Lord called me to ordained ministry.
I came home with a great love for Africa and for the people of Liberia, in particular. In the years that followed, they were to experience horrific civil war and the destruction of so much of their society. There are among us in our diocese a number of Liberians who came to us as refugees from that civil war.
Now, Liberia and neighboring nations in West Africa are undergoing a new horror, the outbreak of Ebola. Thousands are known to have died and most estimates are that the actual death toll is many times higher. The New York Times reports that 1.4 million may be infected by January as the epidemic grows exponentially.
I write simply to urge you to join me in prayer, and not simply because Ebola has reached America. Pray for an end to this plague. Pray for a cure and for an effective vaccine. Pray for the protection of medical personnel and all who are caring for the sick and burying the dead. Pray for the U.S. military who are there to help.
Let’s be faithful to our calling to pray earnestly for our brothers and sisters across the globe, continuing to pray for persecuted Christians in the Middle East, and praying now for those facing the scourge of Ebola.
“May the God who walks with us through the valley of the shadow of death so that we may fear no evil, may this God turn His face towards us and by His power and wisdom guiding all those involved, bring an end to the spread of Ebola. May He bring many who live without the knowledge of Jesus into relationship with Him. This we pray in the Name of Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.” -from Pray to End Ebola
Faithfully yours in Christ,
The Rt. Rev. John A. M. Guernsey