With all the media hype around Ebola, it can be hard to get an accurate picture of the immediate and long-term impact this disease is having on everyday life in Sierra Leone. I sat down with Quami Agbermodji—one of the first children COTN cared for, and now a member of COTN–Sierra Leone's board of directors—during his brief trip to the US, to get a better picture of the daily struggle Ebola presents.
As Tim Pelczar listened to his friend describe the struggles of the children he’d met in Malawi, Tim couldn’t help but think of his nine-year-old son, Christian. What if Christian didn’t have enough food? What if he couldn’t go to school? Would someone help his son? “As a father, you don’t want to see any child suffer,” Tim says.
Kari Freeman took a deep breath and kept her head down behind the curtain. The audience— more than thirty Malawian children with special needs and their caretakers—sat completely silent. Kari tried to stay focused on her part in the puppet show, but she was nervous. The children had never heard a story like this before. Would they understand it? Would they like it?
Garrett Norman doesn't think long about what it would be like to grow up in Africa with his disability. "I would not have survived," he says, shaking his head. The resources he has here to live with cerebral palsy are unheard of there.
That's why 13-year-old Garrett wanted to sponsor an African boy with special needs. Garrett and his mom, Lisa, responded to the need for 750 new sponsors this summer and he chose Mohamed—a deaf boy from a tiny village in Sierra Leone.
The night Larry Mitchell died, God spoke to his pastor, Jayson Turner. Jayson strongly felt that God was asking him to do something big in honor of Larry’s life.
After spending time with Larry's family, Jayson prayed into the night, and remembered something Larry said on his death bed: “We need to be concerned about taking care of the kids. We need to be raising them up well. The kids are the future.”
Ashley VanBrunt and her husband Tyler have spent nine months over the past two years working alongside and training our Sierra Leone clinic staff. In light of the recent Ebola outbreak, we asked Ashley to paint a picture of the clinic for you and introduce you to the staff, so you can better understand how to pray for them.
As the World Health Organization declares an international emergency due to the Ebola epidemic in West Africa, Theresa and Marie settle down with their friends in our Children’s Home to watch a film and plan their birthday celebration.
My wife Jen and I recently took a trip to Seattle to celebrate our tenth anniversary. Our home is in the suburban Midwest, so we got a kick out of sampling city life. In the suburbs, most people are trying to “fit in,” while in the city it seems most people are trying to stand out. People do some pretty strange things to stand out—and some are just plain out of their minds!