In Freetown, Sierra Leone summer of 2009. From left to right: Miracle, Brittany, Dinah, Triumph, Me, Papa, Mummy, Eugene, and Winner.
This morning I received a phone call. I didn’t pick it up because at first I didn’t recognize the number but something within me told me the call was coming from Africa. I went on about my morning and didn’t really think to check my messages till a little later during the day and when I listened to my voicemail, the sound of a sweet, broken cry hit my ears. “Lauren, this is Pastor Wellington, Papa and Mummy from Sierra Leone. Please pray for us. We need help. It’s Ebola. Call me if you can. Love you.” After hearing Papa’s voice, I broke down in tears. I was not ok. Here I am carrying on in my normal day while lives are being lost every second. I prayed so hard for these beautiful people who are still fighting for their lives in the midst of a deadly disease that is ravaging their country. I was angry and upset and frustrated that these people are living in constant fear while watching their friends and loved ones die right before their eyes. They can’t even walk down the street without seeing massive grave sites where bodies are just thrown because Ebola is out of control.
A couple years ago, two other girls and I lived in Sierra Leone with an amazing African Pastor and his family. We lived right in the middle of Freetown in Sierra Leone, one of the places Ebola has hit the hardest. In Sierra Leone there is only about 2 doctors to 100,000 people according to the World Health Organization. I don’t really get to talk to them very much but when I do, my heart hurts for them and my cry gets louder for God to rescue them and keep them safe from Ebola. Papa, Mummy, Miracle (oldest boy), Winner (oldest girl), Triumph, and Eugene (baby) all stole my heart while in Sierra Leone and they need our prayers along with everyone else in West Africa. I remember walking down the streets in Freetown, holding Miracle’s hand with Eugene strapped to my back, in search of water to drink. On the weekends we would walk through some of the poorest villages and rally up all the kids (by the hundreds) to play with in a big, dirt field. We loved on them, fed them, and showed them the greatest LOVE they could ever know… the love of Jesus. The nights were long and hard as I remember crying myself to sleep because of the conditions we were in but I would wake up to these beautiful people who had so little but had so much because they lived their lives so thankful. They impacted my life in so many ways and I have never been the same.
It’s so easy to forget and to become comfortable in the security of our own safety. I have watched over the past month our nation slip into an overwhelming fear where we have taken our eyes off Jesus. My fear is not Ebola but that we who claim to follow Christ are being swayed by the enemy’s tactic of FEAR and listening to the media more than we are looking to Christ, a perfect love where there is no fear. I can see us easily turning our backs on the nations, the orphans, and the “least of these” for fear of the Ebola crisis or even terrorist groups such as ISIS. We are headed in the direction of becoming afraid to help, focusing inwardly on ourselves, and forgetting about the assignment God has given us to go to the nations. It’s easier to remain in our comfort zone where we are secure in the fact of our own safety. But what about Jesus’ heart for others? Do we just sit back and watch while the continent of Africa is being overtaken by a deadly disease? Those are our brothers and sisters. What about the 4,000 children a week that are becoming orphans, living on the streets and dying of starvation? They may not be our own personal children but they are God’s children.The Ebola crisis should be more reason to GO, to support, and to pray for those that are risking their lives to help rather than looking down upon them for fear of them coming back here. It should place an urgency within our spirits to pray more than ever for the souls and lives that are being lost every single day in Africa because, what if they don’t know Jesus?
It is not my goal through this post to convince you to get on a plane and go to Africa but to remind you of our assignment as God’s chosen. What would our nation look like if we as Christians were fully convinced of these truths? My God is sovereign (Psalm 103:19.) He is in control (Isaiah 41:10.) He ordains every one of my steps (Proverbs 20:24.) He is for me and not against me (Romans 8:31.) I will not die until God is done with His plan for my life (Philipians 1:6.) I will remain safe and preach the gospel to the nations because they need to hear (Psalm 18:2.) No sickness or disease will touch me. God will protect me (Psalm 121:7.) He will go before me (Deuteronomy 31:8.) I will not fear (Psalm 118:6.) Our steps are ordered by God and if we are living a life in total pursuit of the ONE who loves us so much, nothing can touch you or your family. God’s plan for your life will not end unfinished. He has ordained your steps as He goes before you.
When Papa called me this morning, my heart was gently reminded not to forget the nations in the midst our own fear. It was a reminder of how truly blessed I am to be here in the US. I read this quote off Instagram this morning from @keepingupwiththehaneys.
“With BRAVE wings, she flies.”
Today I choose to fly. Today I choose to fix my eyes on Jesus and not be bound by fear. Today, I will be BRAVE, not only for myself but for each child, orphan, woman, and man who is fighting the Ebola battle in West Africa this very second. Will you join me?
Beautiful Winner and Baby Eugene.
Sweet baby Eugene in Sierra Leone that needs our prayers.
Triumph was such a precious girl.
The place in Freetown, Sierra Leone we lived for almost a month. Pray for this beautiful village as they continue to fight Ebola.