Saturday, January 10, 2015

First Impressions Ebola Emergency Response Team Monrovia, Liberia West Africa

December 10, 2015
"Walking on Sacred Ground"
 Pictured Above: Samaritans Purse Helicopter
Disclaimer: All comments and personal opinions expressed are the sole opinion of the author and do not in any way serve to represent official news or statements from Samaritans Purse.  Some specific details such as names or exact locations in Liberia may be omitted for security reasons.

I arrived via Brussels, Belgium in Monrovia, Liberia West Africa this past Monday evening just after 9PM.   I had accepted a 51 day assignment with Samaritans Purse to serve as their Regional Security Manager alongside of the SP Ebola Emergency Response Team.   As the Ebola crisis unfolded before the worlds eyes no amount of following Fox News coverage or research would prepare me for what I would begin to see, hear and experience once the sun rose on Tuesday.

My first three days were full with training and handing off of security protocols to me by the outgoing Regional Security Manager.  The Samaritans Purse base in Monrovia, Liberia is large and a hub of activity with staff from Liberia and places like Canada, the U.S. and Switzerland to name a few.  The staff starts each day with worship and devotion in the campus chapel.  There are numerous personal stories among the Liberian staff some of whom have lost loved ones to the Ebola virus as well as tremendous empathy, compassion and the love of Christ shared by the expatriate staff serving day after day often with little or no rest.

This point of reference to the staff's devotion and commitment is what I want to impress you with in this first journal entry.  Although there is much human desire and exertion of energy on behalf of those in desperate need of physical and spiritual healing it is not the source of their strength.  Unmistakably the sole source of energy, grace, empathy, caring and compassion of these dear staff has come from Jesus Christ!  It is absolutely and confidently why I can tell you that in just these first few days I have been ...

"Walking on Sacred Ground"

One of the pilots and his wife serving here once attended the same church with us in Southern California.  They were very involved with other staff back in July when two of SP's medical personnel contracted Ebola and thrust Liberia and SP into a news spotlight worldwide.  Just today driving back from a job site Wendy was reading to Chris and me from a recently published book from an SP staff member describing the unimaginable chaos, extremes of emotion and grace of God experienced by all this past summer.  We all took turns shedding tears as Wendy read during our very typical bumpy African ride.  We shed tears because all of this was extremely real and personal to so many.  God has sent angels through Samaritans Purse to be Jesus to these suffering moms, dads and precious children. 

A doctor here has shared her blog with me of her journey through the most difficult days of the Ebola outbreak.  In coming days I may be able to share some small appropriate samples.  In all this we see the Liberian staff here loudly and confidently praising the Lord through the sharing of his word and worship. 

My days will be filled with networking with police, government officials and other humanitarian aid groups working in Liberia.  This week I attended the Liberian Emergency Operation Center networking meeting and met with a security group at the United States Embassy.  Please pray with me for the ongoing safety for the staff here in Liberia.

Thank you for praying!!

 Pictured Above: The "Pod" trial assemble and load test for future Ebola patient transport if and when approved by Samaritans Purse
 Pictured Above: Creating the sterile environment of the Pod
 Pictured Above: Preparation for helicopter patient loading
 Pictured Above: SP medical personnel inspecting components of the Pod
 Pictured Above: Full Personal Protection Equipment (PPE) trial run. My role if a call out was approved would be to assure security at loading site in partial PPE flying in alongside of the full PPE team.  Trial was to be familiarized in case an emergency arose requiring full PPE gear use.
Pictured Above: Each meticulous step of putting on full PPE gear and taking it off along with sterilizing spray at each step is always done with a buddy system to insure that not one step is missed.

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