Survivors Remember Ebola Epidemic as Samaritan’s Purse Releases “Facing Darkness” Documentary

Gloves dry early in the Ebola epidemic, in Foya, Liberia. From Samaritan’s Purse, “Facing Darkness” releases March 30, 2017. Photo courtesy of Samaritan’s Purse

It was something the Rev. Franklin Graham never had seen before: a dark fog hovering over his office.

The head of Christian relief organization Samaritan’s Purse wondered if he was seeing the shadow of death described in the Psalms.

And he wondered if it was coming for Kent Brantly, a Samaritan’s Purse doctor who became the first American diagnosed with Ebola while battling history’s worst outbreak of the virus.

Graham recounts the story in “Facing Darkness,” a documentary produced by Samaritan’s Purse recounting its fight to save Brantly from the Ebola epidemic in West Africa. The film debuts in select theaters Thursday (March 30) and will return for encore showings on April 10.

“The documentary is a testimony to God’s faithfulness, and it will show you that in the darkest hour of one’s life, God has not left you. He’s still there,” Graham told RNS.

Ebola is a virus spread through contact with bodily fluids. Its symptoms include fever, vomiting, diarrhea and both internal and external bleeding.

Rumors had been swirling about the virus in West Africa for months before the first case arrived in June 2014 at a missionary hospital near Monrovia, Liberia.

By the time the outbreak subsided nearly a year later, about 28,000 Ebola cases and 11,000 deaths had been reported in Liberia, Guinea and Sierra Leone, according to the World Health Organization. The last confirmed Ebola patient in Liberia tested negative for the disease in June 2016, it said.

Brantly was director of the Ebola treatment unit at ELWA (Eternal Love Winning Africa) Hospital when he was infected with the virus. The hospital is part of SIM, an international Christian mission organization.

At the moment when Christians were gathered in prayer throughout Samaritan’s Purse offices and around the world, Brantly was being given an experimental treatment. His body convulsed for a tense 40 minutes, according to the head of Samaritan’s Purse. Then Brantly got up from his bed, his condition dramatically improved.

“In a lot of ways the crisis is over. The crisis of the Ebola outbreak was successfully brought to an end, but it’s a new kind of crisis,” Brantly said.

“It’s not as attractive to international news media. It’s not as easy to get passionate about for people who are not already invested there. But there is so much to be done in the care of Ebola survivors and the rebuilding of health care infrastructure and the rebuilding of trust between people and governments and communities. I think the world does need to remember the people of West Africa are still dealing with the effects of Ebola.”

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SOURCE: Religion News Service