Dr. Kent Brantly: Remember God’s Goodness
By Jocelyn Hu
The Brantly family thanked Samaritan's Purse staff members in person for their prayers at a time of praise and thanksgiving
A robust standing ovation greeted Dr. Kent Brantly, his wife Amber, their children, and many members of their extended family as they arrived today to address staff at Samaritan's Purse international headquarters in Boone, North Carolina.
Dr. Brantly and his family had been serving in Liberia with Samaritan's Purse for about 10 months when it was confirmed on July 26 that he had contracted Ebola virus disease. He had been treating victims of the disease at our case management center at ELWA Hospital near Monrovia for about a month and a half.
After several more days of prayer, fasting, logistical scrambling, and what can only be described as divine intervention, Samaritan's Purse was able to have him evacuated to Emory University Hospital in Atlanta.
He arrived on August 2 and was released on August 21, being declared free of the deadly virus that can have a death rate of up to 90 percent.
One of the most powerful moments of the praise service occurred unnoticed by many, when Dr. Brantly turned, looked straight at his young son on Amber's lap, and sang to him some of the opening words of Matt Redman's anthem, "Ten Thousand Reasons."
"Whatever may pass, and whatever lies before me/
Let me be singing when the evening comes."
Franklin Graham prayed before Dr. Brantly spoke.
That moment summed up Dr. Brantly's message to the staff, based on Deuteronomy 6. In this familiar passage, God urges the fathers of Israel to remind their children of all the Lord has done for them.
"I will never grow tired of talking of this," Dr. Brantly said. "I'm going to keep telling my story, so I can remember what God has done in my life."
Later in his address, Dr. Brantly encouraged all staff to reflect on their own lives, see what God has done, and tell others about it.
"I want to encourage and challenge each of you," he said. "Never think you're just a normal person. If you're pursuing God's calling in your life, He will use you. Even if it's a challenging calling, even if you find yourself in difficult circumstances, He will give you what you need to be faithful to Him, even if it's a whole army of people praying for you.
"Share your story over and over and over so you can remember we serve a mighty God."
Dr. Brantly's new medical coat will replace the one he had to leave behind in Liberia.
Samaritan's Purse President Franklin Graham spoke after Dr. Brantly and presented him with a brand-new medical coat, with his name and the logo of World Medical Mission, the medical arm of Samaritan's Purse. Dr. Brantly was serving in Liberia through the World Medical Mission Post-Residency program when the Ebola virus hit.
Graham, clearly moved to see the young family of four together in front of him, gave God the glory for the doctor's survival.
"We prayed every morning and you were the focus of that prayer," he said. "To see answered prayer, wow, it's great!"
Graham also recounted some of the details of the incredible story, including the odyssey of how the experimental drug administered to Dr. Brantly arrived at ELWA Hospital. He also described the difficulties involved in securing the plane to bring Dr. Brantly and SIM missionary Nancy Writebol back to the States.
"We look back and we see the hand of God," he said. "He brought the right people. There's a God who organizes these things, down to the details."
Amber Brantly thanked the Samaritan's Purse staff for praying for her husband.
Graham continued, "If he'll do this for Kent, he'll do this for each and every one of us. There's no God like our God who has provided salvation. He sent His Son in our place to take our sin. He died, shed his blood, for each and every one of us. There is no God like our God. He loves us. He cares for us."
After Graham finished, he introduced Amber, who spoke briefly and passionately.
"I wanted to say thank you to everyone here for your prayers," she said. "I can't stop thanking the Lord for His mercy."
The Fight Goes On
Over the past several days, Samaritan's Purse staff members in Boone have hosted many members of our Liberia country office.
On Monday, Kendell Kauffeldt, Liberia country director, spoke during morning devotions and referenced Ephesians 6:11-12.
"This is a battle against spiritual forces and it's revealing itself in Ebola," he said. "We can fight this fight because we know the war has already been won. God has big plans for Liberia."
The ongoing outbreak of Ebola in West Africa, already unprecedented in its range and scope, continues to claim more victims every day. Nearly 4,500 total Ebola cases have been reported in five West African nations as of September 8. The latest report from the World Health Organization puts the death toll at just under 2,300 victims.
"There are lives that have to be saved," Graham said. "We can't defeat Ebola on our own but God can. We're going to keep fighting Ebola. It's a major crisis not just for Liberia but really for the world. We're going to move forward holding up the flag of the Lord Jesus Christ."
Samaritan's Purse national staff members in Liberia are actively combatting the disease byproviding Ebola awareness programming within the country. Since mid-August, we have educated more than 8,000 church leaders and others, who will reach as many as hundreds of thousands with potentially life-saving information.
These current activities build on our previous national awareness campaign, begun in March and recognized by government and United Nations agencies for its effectiveness. Nearly 450,000 people were reached through flyers, posters, community events, and other activities, plus many more who heard our radio spots as well. Though this figure represents more than 10 percent of Liberia's total population, many people remain uninformed, in fear or in denial regarding Ebola.
Samaritan's Purse continues to develop further response plans for this outbreak.
"We haven't left Liberia for good. We're just reloading," Graham has said. "We'll be going back. So pray that God will give us wisdom as we take our next steps."