During the recent and on-going Ebola Crisis in Liberia, many non-medically related problems have surfaced that are also critical to the future of Liberians. Schools were closed, as were many businesses for eight months, and eternity for a country that was just beginning to put the 14-year civil wars behind them. Hunger is pervasive, and because even more people are out of work, there is no money for school fees. Though schools started in the end of February and beginning of March, many schools, especially in the interior of Liberia, are threatening to close because of low registration.
With EMAUSA's partnership with Feed My Starving Children, we have been able to send over 750,000 meals, going to Susie Guenter Orphanage, hospitals, Youth for Christ, many church families through ECOL (the Evangelical Church of Liberia), and more.
In ECOL's recent January/February 2015 newsletter, much thanks to God, FMSC and EMAUSA was given.
RELIEF AID FOR ECOL: January – February 2015
ECOL relief ministry received and distributed 580 boxes of Mana Pack Rice to 8 churches between January and February this year. A total of 1085 (710 females, 375 males) beneficiaries benefitted from the relief distribution in all 8 churches. Because there were more people than food boxes, we made the decision to have two persons to a box of Manna Pack rice.
These beneficiaries represent families. And since Liberian families are often large, we estimate that the food will benefit over 8000 family members for a couple of days since each box was shared between two family heads. The congregations were very happy and grateful for the gift. It was a great help for our church families especially during our current national crisis which has lasted for a year now.
The effects of Ebola - a broken economy and untold suffering – now plague our country. Many families lost their bread winners or both parents to Ebola. And with farming activities disrupted as the result of the deadly outbreak, the suffering Liberians are going through cannot be over-emphasized. That’s why it is such a blessing for our congregations to continue to receive food aid from EMA-USA and FMSC.
They have kept careful records of each recipient, and we are very impressed with the leadership of Moses Paye, President of the Evangelical churches of Liberia (ECOL), which includes about 100 ECOL churches and 9 church schools (not including ELWA Academy) and the competence, commitment and compassion of the ECOL Relief team.
Board member Perry Moore reached out to Moses regarding other needs and prayer requests. His response vividly outlines the dire predicament of Liberians
"Liberia has moved from containing the deadly virus to eradicating it now. There are only less than 10 confirmed cases in the country now and they are all hospitalized, but the problem is really far from over. The church here, like the rest of the society faces/legacy the effects of this deadly virus.
For example, schools reopened today but there were very few kids who turned out for school. ECOL has nine church schools. My church school which runs kindergarten up to 8th grade had 145 students before Ebola. But now the school has only 22 students who have registered for school up to today. The truth is there was 95% unemployment during Ebola 2014. Work places were closed and foreigners fled the country. many parents/guardians died of Ebola or Ebola-related causes. People just don't have the money to get kids in school. Their priority now is survivor - finding that one meal a day for the family. Many of these kids are in the children's church ministry, and it is stressful to think about them spending one school year at home. We need to get them in school to help them recover sooner.
Also, there are church families who cannot just support their families because the bread-winners died of Ebola, or are out of work due to Ebola. We have the Liberian Church Ebola Response Project which raises funds to provide relief support to them until they can readjust their lives. We are also providing counseling services under this project to Ebola survivors and others who are equally traumatized because of Ebola. Nearly all such families need some financial support in addition to relief supplies to enable them take care of rent, tuition, or start a small commercial business to enable them keep the family going. Then there are the Ebola orphans. What to do about their needs in addition to counseling is of huge concern to us. We also have many medical cases of high blood pressure, stroke, malaria and few surgical cases already.
Liberia is completely on its knees (to put it mildly). And with Ebola slowing down and life returning, the real grieving has begun."
The ECOL leadership sent out a prayer letter and they all began to pray. When the EMAUSA board read this moving report, they unanimously voted to provide a one-year scholarship to ECOL's 400 students. This is a significant FAITH commitment for us, as we have not raised any new money for this project of more than $21,000.
Pastor Paye's response was equally moving...." Hello Perry, I'm in tears of joy right now having read your email. Words cannot even express my joy and gratitude for this great news! The pastors, the parents, the children and everyone hear will definitely be out of words to express their gratitude too. It's really a miracle. There will be a huge relief and jubilation when I break the news first thing tomorrow morning because it is late now. But I have already called Augustine, Jerry, Momo and Harrison. Just can't keep it until tomorrow.
The churches/parents have been meeting for special prayers since I told them that EMA-USA were studying the possibility of helping our children. It's an answer to prayer. We will send a team of three from our Education committee to Lofa to deliver the funds to the congregation there. This is a huge development for us here because parents, children and all of us leaders have been very uneasy about the plight of the children. It reminds most adults about our own experience of missing school when we were young because of the war. This will have a huge impact on the church, children and communities. Thank you so much."
We are so grateful to our generous donors who are make this, and other critical projects possible. If you would like to partner with us, consider making a donation. Every gift, large and small is impactful, and we are thankful!