The Scariest Word I Know

Ebola.

It is one of the scariest words I know.

Someone called me last week when they heard that I had caught some disease in Africa and wondered if it was Ebola. No, it wasn’t that serious. If you haven’t kept up with the news, Ebola is spreading over Western Africa—and it is usually fatal.

Dr. Kent Brantly who was trying to save people in Liberia contracted Ebola. There are no words adequate to describe his heroism. He was willing to risk his life to save the life of another.

This Ebola scare is a dramatic concern for us at CRF because we have so many children in Liberia where Dr. Brantly caught Ebola. Liberia is no stranger to problems. It is one of the very poorest countries in the world. It has also been one of the most corrupt countries in the world. Liberia began with a noble cause. U.S. President Monroe released slaves to go back to Africa to begin anew in Liberia. But when they returned, there ended up being a constant conflict between the released slaves and the indigenous Africans which exists to this day.

In recent years they were ruled by Charles Taylor, one of the most ruthless leaders ever, who ended up being indicted for crimes against humanity. And now there is Ebola. (more…)

In The Shadow of Mt. Elgon

If you ever have read The Hot Zone by Richard Preston, you know how scary Ebola can be. The Hot Zone is a suspenseful and frightening book much in the spirit of a Michael Crichton novel—only this story is true.

Richard Preston tells the story of the origins of Marburg Fever which is closely related to Ebola. And he traces most of the cases back to a single cave called “The Elephant Cave” on Mt. Elgon.

This is especially disturbing to me because Barbie and I unknowingly visited this cave.

It is a very creepy cave with thousands and thousands of bats hanging from the ceiling. You can be sure that I will never enter it again.

But Mt. Elgon is not only plagued with the origins of one of the most deadly diseases in history, it is also the home of one of the most cruel wars ever. When you visit Mt. Elgon, it is hard to believe that one of the most beautiful places on earth can be full of so many tears.

In Kenya there are three types of orphans—famine, AIDS, and war.

Mt. Elgon is the home of war orphans. In a terrible war among members of the same tribe, children not only saw their parents killed and raped, but at times they even saw their parents chopped up with machetes. CRF even lost one of our directors to death in these battles. I will never forget a time after the war when I was walking on the mountain with Emmanuel, and he led me to a place where there were around 1200 war orphans wandering around. They were the saddest and sweetest children you could encounter. Not only were they hungry and helpless, but they had also been traumatized by the cruel deaths of their parents. (more…)

Ebola

The Ebola tragedy in West Africa and specifically Liberia is not only scary but has become devastating.  President Sirleaf of Liberia has shut down the country for 90 days. This has caused the price of food to skyrocket.  Liberians are being told to no longer drink well water which has caused bottled water prices to also soar.

CRF has three children’s works in Liberia in the midst of this epidemic. We truly need some funds to get them and others food and water.

How sad it would be to see people starve in the wake of the Ebola crisis!

If you can help, you can give to our disaster relief fund at www.christianrelieffund.org/disaster or mail your donation to CRF at PO Box 19670, Amarillo, TX 79114.

Thanks a trillion!
Milt

Here is a letter we received from Brother Maxwell Whea, a minister in Liberia, explaining the nature of the outbreak:

Already we have been going through a very tough time, but it was crowned yesterday when the president of the Republic of Liberia on national TV declared a “State of Emergency”. In her words, certain fundamental rights of the citizens will be denied under this condition which will last for 90 days. According to her statistics there are already 500 cases and 173 deaths.  Among them are 32 nurses and doctors. It is too alarming and ordinary people are the ones that suffer whenever something like this happened.

Accordingly, the Ministry of Health put some measures in place.  These include:

1. Constantly wash hands with soap
2. Do not shake hands with people
3. Do not eat bush meat
4. Everyone is to buy chlorine and disinfectants to wash everything

Because of the condition under which we live now, every commodity including rice has climbed up to where ordinary Liberians cannot afford it.

And the more frightening part is the possible contamination of drinking wells. Because of this, no one wants to drink from the wells anymore.  We now must buy water from the store for at least US $2.00 per bottle.

The Need:

There are so many people that are in need.  I cannot even speculate how many. There are deaf kids on the campus of the Church who fear returning home because they think of the church as a safe haven. There are now about 10 of these deaf children, and we think the number will increase with the new state of emergency.

Finally, I am giving you a clear picture of the emergency need for us in Liberia. We would appreciate very much if CRF could respond very fast to this emergency. The country has been shut down and no one goes to work anymore to observe the 90 days period. All hospitals are closed down and we are left in God’s faithful hands to help us. I will have to stop and only say please come to our rescue or else there will be even more death from hunger.

May God Bless You,

- Maxwell J. Whea
  Preacher, Liberia


Look, We Remodeled

Wow, it’s beautiful!

Yes, our CRF building has been remodeled. And it is not only gorgeous—it has a great new purpose.

If you remember, a truck drove through our building last year and forced us to remodel. And through the ingenious design of architect Charles Lynch and builder Frank Alfonzo, a masterpiece has been created.

Our new CRF building reflects an international look to help people experience the way that we help children around the world. In fact, it is our goal to bring school children from the Panhandle of Texas into our building to teach them about poverty and life in the developing world.

Maybe the highlight of our remodel is the third world home. A house has been created to not only show how poor children around the world live but also what children receive when they are sponsored.

 

What does a sponsored child get?

  • A Bible (with spiritual training)
  • Clothes
  • Shoes
  • Food
  • Clean water
  • Textbooks
  • a Bed
  • a Mosquito Net
  • Letters from their sponsor (with pictures)
  • Christmas presents
  • and so much more.

Our new display house shows how you change a child’s life when you sponsor them.

And to the side of our display are rows of children all waiting to be sponsored.

Our hope is that when people see these children, they will take one of their promos and fill it out on our table made from a water barrel which represents the water we are drilling for around the world.

We hope you will come see us at CRF and be motivated by our remodel. And you can sponsor one of the children too. If you can’t make it to the office, you can always sponsor a child online at christianrelieffund.org!

The Cosmic Lottery

My wife and I “sponsored” a child in Honduras through CRF.  Milton Jones, the president of the organization has been a speaker at a number of events I have attended.

It was following a presentation he made over a year ago that I browsed through the pictures of children who needed sponsors so they could attend school. There was nothing exceptional about Felix Flores, except he was born in January 2002, about halfway between the birthdates of my two grandchildren. I figured I could use that as a reminder.

In the early going, the pressure of other things got in the way of my remembering to regularly send a check. I received reminders and I’d send a check, and then I’d forget them again.

When a letter, hand written in Spanish by Felix and decorated with crayon drawings came, along with a recent picture, I had an awakening.

The letter written by Felix had been translated into English so I would know what he said, and his words touched my heart. He talked about his large family that lived together, three generations in one small house. He talked about his parents and their work. He mentioned that he likes to play soccer. He thanked us for our generosity.

His letter made me feel not very generous.

But it also gave me a resolve to do better.

As I made out my next support check, I wrote a letter back to Felix. It was my first acknowledgement that there was an actual child; a living, breathing human being, about the age of my grandchildren; who needed help.

About that time, I noticed a friend who had put the photo of his “sponsored” child in his office. It was a constant reminder of that human being who needed help. My $35 check each month was equal to about half his family’s income each month. I don’t know if that bought food, clothes, school supplies, or what, but I did know that it helped Felix and his family survive and gave them the hope for a better life.

I started including photos of my family in the letters I sent. It inspired me to write letters to my grandsons in Maine – something that would probably never have occurred to me without Felix and CRF. We received copies of Felix’s report cards, showing his progress in school.

Recently, he wrote that his mother was sick. He asked for our prayers for his mother. We have been praying for his family, and we’ve tried to send a little extra money for help with their doctor bills. Two letters from Felix have arrived in the last month. He is grateful for the prayers and for the care we have tried to provide. Felix is a real boy. He will be 12 next month. I’ve never met him and he’s never met me, but he is real.

Jesus said, “ Whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.” I have Felix’s picture on the wall in my home. I think of him. I am reminded that we, in this nation, in the words of Milton Jones, “hit the cosmic lottery.”

- By James Barrington, Managing Editor of The Canyon News
Reprinted with permission

Sponsor a Child Today!