Once upon a time there was an honorable and wise king who deeply loved his people. He worked hard to keep his people safe, he enacted laws to help keep order and maintain the welfare of all. The king’s people loved their ruler in return because he was fair and righteous, they were well-taken care of, they felt heard whenever they had concerns and ultimately they felt known and loved by their wise ruler.
Until one day, a young man in the small kingdom ventured out on his own and contracted a deadly disease called Ebola. Not feeling well, the young man returned to his home to be cared for by his mother. He did not know the extent of his illness and so the young man had no idea that he would soon make his mother sick as she cared for him in his seriously poor health. Sadly the young man died just as his mother began to fall ill.
As time went on, the virus began to spread throughout his family and then to his neighbors and their families until Ebola began to ravage nearly all of the entire kingdom. Those who weren’t sick lived in constant fear that anyone they came into contact with could be a carrier of the disease. The people in the kingdom didn’t know that the disease could only be spread through body fluids, and so they feared that even touching a potential sick person could also make them ill as well. The fear and sickness prevented people from going about life as they once used to in the small kingdom. The weight of suffering, sadness and fear bound the entire kingdom in seeming hopelessness, but moved by his love for his people, the king knew exactly what to do.
The king sent his beloved son, the prince, down from the protection of the castle walls to dwell in the Ebola-infested land. Just like his father, the prince loved his people as well, and he was actually a great physician who knew how to care for the people appropriately. The prince gradually went house to house, caring for those who were ill, mourning with those who had lost loved ones and celebrating with the Ebola survivors. Even when the wise clergymen told the prince it was not smart to visit the quarantined homes, with assurance and dedication, he gravitated to the sick. While the prince understood there would be risk involved, he loved his people so much, to him the risk was worth it because he knew what it would take to nurse them back to good health.
In this Advent season, I can’t help but make the correlation between a loving God who would send his very son to be born, to live and dwell amongst us so that we might be cured from a sin-infected land, and our kingdom might one-day be restored back to harmony. I am utterly humbled to watch as our colleagues in Sierra Leone are inhabited by that same love of the Father, leading them to emanate self-sacrificial love for women whom society has seemingly forgotten. This Christmas I look at our staff on the ground and I see a glimpse of Christ. Looking at them I am given deeper hope in the Savior who was sent to be born a child, live in a disease-ridden land, and ultimately die for a peasant like myself.
Our staff are rather ordinary. They have no medical backgrounds or higher degrees, but it is out of the love they experience from the Father that they gravitate towards those on the fringes bringing food packages to women and their families in quarantined homes and being advocates for Ebola orphans. It is through the love that has been lavished upon them, that they are able to serve as they do. On behalf of all the Women of Hope staff, I want to wish you a Merry Christmas as we celebrate a God who loves us enough to run towards the sick.
MERRY CHRISTMAS FROM THE WOMEN OF HOPE STAFF!
Please continue to keep the Women of Hope staff and the nation of Sierra Leone in your prayers this Christmas as the government has issued a lock-down for the next five days, prohibiting people from leaving their houses or gathering to celebrate Christmas in an attempt to stop the spread of Ebola.