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The following is an update on the Ebola outbreak in West Africa. Anita Femiano, from Renewal Ministries Fellowship, is in regular contact with pastors throughout Africa and Asia who have provided a wealth of information.

“When we unite together in prayer even the worst, most terrible situations can be transformed into testimonies of praise. We are beginning to hear such testimonies from Liberia and Sierra Leone, nations that have been so devastated by the Ebola outbreak.

“In May 2014 Ebola was spread from Guinea to the city of Kenema in Sierra Leone. A woman turned up at the Kenema hospital with a fever, and was bleeding heavily after a miscarriage. She and 13 others had become infected at the funeral of a ‘traditional healer’ who had been ‘treating’ Ebola victims in neighbouring Guinea. These people had brought the virus into Sierra Leone and it started spreading throughout the nation. As the hospital started collapsing under the weight of the ensuing epidemic the Red Cross built a treatment centre there. Now some of those who have recovered from the virus are returning to the Red Cross treatment centre to be trained to help others suffering from Ebola. As these Ebola survivors were interviewed on a secular radio program each one gave glory to God as they shared that their recovery was due to their prayers and the prayers of their family, friends and church. One young man testified that after he had been diagnosed people gathered to pray for him and he suddenly felt better and went on to recover fully. These ones who have recovered now have some immunity to the disease and so, instead of hiding in fear, they are boldly returning to the very place where they suffered so much and learning to care for others who are now suffering.

“Contrary to all predictions and expectations the Ebola infection rate in Liberia (the country worst hit by this virus) has started declining. There are empty beds in treatment centres and the number of burials has declined. There may be as much as a 25 percent week-on-week reduction in cases in Liberia.

“This does not mean that the crisis is over. Around 4,000 children in Sierra Leone have now lost one or both parents to Ebola. In Monrovia countless children are left orphaned by Ebola, then shunned by neighbours terrified to even touch them. Liberia and Sierra Leone are suffering food shortages (many small farming communities have lost 30-40% of their population so food production has become most difficult) and huge price increases are making life difficult for everyone in these nations. The health systems in both nations have suffered terribly and people are dying of treatable diseases and complicated labours because so much is consumed with Ebola that these health needs are not being met. A decline in the infection rate is not yet a defeat of the disease, it can easily have a resurgence – we need to remain vigilant in our prayers and continue upholding our brothers and sisters in these nations.

“Be encouraged by the ways that God is answering our prayers and keep on praying until we see this disease eliminated and these nations restored.”

Lord Bless, Keep, Shine. . .