Guest post from David Kiamu in Liberia
On Sunday morning, as I drove off to church, I stopped by the home of my pastor friend who had lost his wife to Ebola just in the last one week. My friend sat outside his house with his head in his hands as if he was praying. He was actually weeping instead. I knew then that things were not that good.
Naturally, my habit had been, jump out of the car, come to my brother, and hold him for a time of prayer. This time, I stopped my car, opened the door, but never had the strength to get out of the car. My friend realized I could not come near to him for a touch, and prayer, but I said a prayer for him sitting in my car.
Up to this point, my friend had lost to Ebola, his mother in law, his sister in law, the husband of his sister in law, and in the last one week, his own dear wife. My friend knew I love him, for we have been a great partner in ministry for for a while, but at this point, holding him for prayer was not something I could do.
Everyone in our neighborhood was aware that Ebola was now living with this family. I knew this was not a good time to hug my friend for some powerful Pentecostal prayer. I wanted to, but it was difficult. My friend began to feel abandoned, and he cried the more. He said to me " Dave, I know we cannot touch each other now, but just pray. I am a servant of God, I am now 52, and I have preached his word for most part of my life. Just pray, and call an ambulance to take me to an Ebola treatment center, I think, I am ill". I called an ambulance, prayed a silent prayer, never got out to hug my friend, and I drove to church. I was scheduled to preach at our new church plant called Life Chapel.
Throughout the sermon, I cried, and so did the congregation. We cried because we all had experiences of seeing loved ones dying without the power to do something about it. In a culture where shaking hands, hugging, and kissing are ways to show love and care, not being able to do so is painful.
This is life in Liberia. We watch love ones die with no power to show them we love them. Then when we think of the burials in mass graves of loved ones we would have loved to bury in a culturally acceptable way, the idea of burning the bodies before throwing them in a mass grave is even more disheartening. But this is life in Liberia now. Pray for Liberia.