By Aaron Weaver
DECATUR, Ga. — The Cooperative Baptist Fellowship is partnering with the Baptist World Alliance (BWA) to address the Ebola crisis in West Africa, providing food, educational materials and sanitary items to those suffering from the dire situation in Liberia.
To respond to this growing crisis, the Liberia Baptist Missionary and Educational Convention (LBMEC) in partnership with Baptist World Aid, the development and relief arm of BWA, is working to raise $35,000 from its mission partners to provide food, educational materials and sanitation supplies to 100 pastors and 100 communities across Liberia associated with the country’s Baptist churches and institutions. CBF has contributed $5,000 to this effort.
The Ebola virus has killed 1,145 people in four West African countries, including more than 400 victims in Liberia, according to the World Health Organization. Prior to the outbreak of this highly infectious and incurable disease, Liberia had an unemployment rate of 85 percent with 90 percent of Liberians living on just $1 per day.
Since the Ebola outbreak, many government offices and businesses have been forced to shut down to prevent the virus from spreading. Without incomes, the hunger problem in Liberia has worsened as many Liberians have abandoned their homes in search for food and adequate health care attention. Liberia President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf declared a 90-day state of emergency on August 6, ordering that all schools close, including Baptist-affiliated Liberia Baptist Theological Seminary, Ricks Institute and the Lott Carey Mission School.
David Harding, CBF’s international disaster response director, emphasized the importance of an educational response to this crisis and supporting Liberian Baptists during their time of need.
“CBF is deeply moved by the suffering among our West African friends caused by the Ebola outbreak,” Harding said. “Our role is to come alongside the communities influenced by our partners like Ricks Institute and Liberia Baptist Theological Seminary to help them address this crisis. There is fear of the unknown that needs an educational response on how to avoid infection. We join with the Baptist World Alliance and Baptist bodies around the world to answer the appeals for help that we hear from our friends.”
The BWA launched its response to the crisis two weeks ago, allocating funds to Sierra Leone to assist in a public education campaign to help prevent the spread of the disease, and the Baptist Convention of Sierra Leone formed a Baptist Ebola Task Force to educate its church members about proper sanitization practices. Other Baptist bodies in the region, including the Liberia Baptist Missionary and Educational Convention, have issued calls for global prayer.
Donations to support these efforts to address the Ebola crisis may be made online or mailed to:
Baptist World Aid
c/o Baptist World Alliance
405 North Washington Street
Falls Church, VA 22046
CBF is a fellowship of Baptist Christians and churches who share a passion for the Great Commission and a commitment to Baptist principles of faith and practice. The Fellowship’s mission is to serve Christians and churches as they discover and fulfill their God-given mission.