Villagers threatened by the Ebola outbreak welcome relief and prevention education. Photo: ACT/BFTW
"Only recently has the current Ebola crisis gained significant media attention in the U.S. But for the people of West Africa, the problem began in March," says World Relief Officer Lisa Rothenberger. "Thanks to donors' generous gifts to the annual One Great Hour of Sharing (OGHS) offering, International Ministries (IM) was able to begin responding to the outbreak even before it made the headlines."
OGHS funds have been supporting several key initiatives, ranging from relief to prevention. Rothenberger explains, "Gifts to OGHS are readily available not only to provide relief after natural disasters, but also to fight back the spread of deadly disease outbreaks and provide for the long-term education and awareness that will be critical in preventing future outbreaks."
Several of IM’s partner organizations are fighting to stem the tide of the spread. IMA World Health has been working with the Christian Health Association of Liberia to provide education about Ebola virus transmission and prevention to health care providers, community health volunteers and religious and community leaders. Meanwhile, the Liberia Direct Baptist Missionary Conference is in Phase 2 of its efforts to promote prevention and awareness in the communities surrounding its local churches.
The Liberia Baptist Missionary and Educational Convention is on the front line of the efforts. OGHS is helping the Convention provide food assistance and sanitary items to those who are temporarily out of work due to the outbreak.
As the crisis develops, IM will continue to join with partners like these in responding to this growing challenge. The prayers and support of Christians across the U.S. and Puerto Rico are critical.
Congregations and individuals can give to the ongoing efforts through their church’s Monthly Report of Mission Support designating their gift to “One Great Hour of Sharing: Ebola Outbreak.” You may also give online here or send a check marked "OGHS - Ebola Outbreak" on the memo line to “International Ministries, P.O. Box 851, Valley Forge, PA 19482.”
One Great Hour of Sharing is administered by the World Relief Committee of the Board of General Ministries of American Baptist Churches USA. The Committee facilitates American Baptist emergency relief, disaster rehabilitation, refugee work and development assistance by establishing policy guidelines and overseeing distribution of the annual One Great Hour of Sharing offering received by churches.
For more information, contact Catherine Nold.