God Saved My Life
The following story by Franklin Graham was published in A Samaritan Purse Update, September 2014.
By now, most of you are familiar with the story of Dr. Kent Brantly’s life-or-death battle with the lethal Ebola virus. Millions of people around the world watched as Kent stood before a large crowd of reporters for a press conference at Emory Hospital in Atlanta and gave all of the glory to God for his miraculous recovery. I spoke with Kent just moments before he went in front of the cameras that day, and he told me his prayer was that he would be a humble and faithful witness for the Gospel.
At the press conference, Kent said he woke up on day “feeling under the weather” after working tirelessly for weeks to treat Ebola-infected patients at ELWA Hospital in Monrovia, Liberia. Ken said that he quickly recognized the symptoms of the disease in himself and went into isolation in his home. “I prayed that God would help me be faithful even in my illness, and that in my life or death, He would be glorified,” he said.
There were moments when I wondered — and Kent wondered — if he would survive this awful plague. As the disease raged in his body, we received a call that he was on the edge of death. I vividly remember feeling a deep darkness come over me that afternoon in my office. It was spiritual warfare. I prayed for God to save his life, it be His will. I later discovered that Kent’s family, many of our staff, as well as a host of believers were pleading with the Lorde to spare him at the same time. God moved in a might way, and his condition began to take a turn for the better.
Kent exemplifies the kind of doctors who serve with Samaritan’s Purse through World Medical Mission. Our Post-Residency Program gave him the opportunity to follow his life’s calling as a missionary doctor. Along with his wife Amber and their two children, he signed up for a two-year assignment in family practice at one of our longtime partners, ELWA Hospital.
When Ebola came to Liberia, Kent courageously stepped to the front lines and worked heroically and tirelessly to save lives and comfort those who were dying alone in the isolation wards.
I believe the Lord will use Kent as the “tip of the spear” to raise up a new generation of Christian doctors who will dedicate their careers to the mission field in some of the darkest, dirtiest, loneliest places on earth.
Even when Kent was in the hospital, Samaritan’s Purse sent out another 23 young doctors and their families to serve in mission hospitals around the world for the next two years through our Post-Residency Program. In addition to post-residents, every year we also send hundreds of practicing Christian physicians and other medical personnel who volunteer for two-to-four week assignments to help in mission hospitals. They are ambassadors for
Christ and instruments of His healing touch in remote places like Bangladesh, Papua New Guinea, Togo, and Cameroon. They understand the risks, but they know that there is no place safer than in the center of God’s will.
As I write, Samaritan’s Purse is preparing to send fresh teams into Liberia to fight the spread of this horrific disease. Not surprisingly, Kent and Amber have told us their heart is with the people of West Africa, and they want to go back to minister to the sick in Jesus’ Name.
Knowing the power of prayer and the horror of Ebola, Kent expressed his heart: “Above all, I am forever thankful to God for sparing my life, and I amglad for any attention my sickness has attracted for the plight of West Africa in the midst of this epidemic. Please continue to pray for Liberia and the people of West Africa, and encourage those in positions of leadership and influence to do everything possible to bring this Ebola outbreak to an end.”
Written by Franklin Graham
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