Liberians defy Ebola warnings to attend church: ‘Ebola is not going to shake our faith’

Liberians defy Ebola warnings to attend church: ‘Ebola is not going to shake our faith’

Christianity Today – Liberian Christians are flocking to churches in Monrovia, defying government orders restricting travel during a country-wide state of emergency over the Ebola crisis.

Liberia is one of three countries devastated by the Ebola outbreak that began in Guinea in February. The World Health Organisation (WHO) reported last week that 961 people have been killed by the virus.

Citizens from rural areas were blocked from travelling to the capital by Liberian soldiers after President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf declared a state of emergency on Wednesday. Sirleaf expressed the need for “extraordinary measures for the very survival of our state and for the protection of the lives of our people.”

“Ignorance, poverty, as well as entrenched religious and cultural practices continue to exacerbate the spread of the disease especially in the counties,” she said

President Sirleaf’s warnings did not deter parishioners at St. Peter’s Lutheran Church, however.

“Everyone is so afraid,” said Martee Jones Seator, a church member, told Reuters. “Ebola is not going to shake our faith in any way… because we’ve been through difficult times.”

Many compared the Ebola crisis to the civil war that ravaged Liberia for 14 years, ending in 2003. Nearly a quarter of a million people were killed.

There have been 132 confirmed deaths from Ebola in Liberia, and 148 confirmed Ebola cases. When probable and suspected cases are taken into account, 294 people have died from Ebola in Liberia, and there are 554 total cases.

Revered Marcus MacKay acknowledged the seriousness of the outbreak, but said that God will still have the victory.

“We are in trouble here. We are in trouble,” he told his congregation. “But you know what? There is no way this devil is going to do its work!”

Monrovian pastors encouraged their parishioners to follow instructions from health care workers to prevent the spread of the disease, and chlorinated water was available outside of the churches for congregants to wash their hands.

On Monday, WHO will host a panel of experts to discuss experimental drug treatments to combat the Ebola virus. American humanitarians Dr. Kent Brantly and Nancy Writebol have reportedly improved in condition since being administered ZMapp, a cocktail of antibodies that was never before tested in humans.

Categories: Africa

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