Saturday, October 18, 2014
My Ebola Story
Dear beloved: I want to share a story about my own bout with sickness and how the Ebola virus is causing ramifications for travel throughout Africa. My prayers go out to anyone suffering from the virus, and to the families in Africa and other countries around the world who have suffered loss of loved ones or even dislocation from quarantine due to this sickness.
Our team was coming out of Goma, Democratic Republic of Congo, after a successful week of ministry in church meetings and the outdoor crusade. We were headed to Kigale, Rwanda, to get on the plane and head back to Nairobi for a few days before departure to America. There were 7 of us on a small bus, winding across the mountains of western Rwanda, taking in the beauty of the countryside, the tea fields and fresh vegetable gardens. As we had been traveling for about 3 hours, we decided to stop at a roadside village and get something to drink and a bite to eat. At a roadside eatery we purchased a bag of somosas, a pastry filled with a meat filling similar to a bierock, and a soda for everyone and then headed down the road for the last hour of the trip. By the time we got to the Kigale airport, I was starting to feel a bit rough, and by the time we were ready to board the plane, I was starting to have serious stomach cramping and feeling nauseous.
All the airports in Africa are screening by laser sensor for fever in boarding passengers, so we were screened at Kigale and I passed through as expected. There has been reported cases of Ebola outbreak in Northwest Congo, but we were on the eastern side of Congo, over a thousand miles from where the outbreaks were in the west. By the time we got in the air I was full blown sick and spent about half the time of the flight visiting the lavatory, and by the time we got to Nairobi, I was a bit feverish and ready to collapse into the nearest hotel bed. Unfortunately, the plane was delayed over an hour because of landing gear difficulties in the plane ahead of us, then we were delayed again sitting at the boarding gate, so it was now three hours plus into a two hour flight. As we went into customs at the Nairobi airport, I had to go through one more temperature scan before I could get into the line (another one hour wait) to get my Kenya visa. I knew I was feverish, so I just prayed, "Lord, let me go through this line and not have to be quarantined for 21 days. Lord, you know how I need a good night's rest, please make a way for your servant to go through." When I got to the lady who was scanning, I could barely stand, but miraculously she scanned me and motioned me on to the Kenya visa line. Praise God for small miracles! By the time we got our visas, a taxi lined up to take us to the hotel, and then on up to our rooms, it was nearing midnight from a flight that had left Kigale at 6.30. Needless to say I collapsed into the bed and slept until about 10 am the next morning. I had serious stomach and diahrrea issues for about 2 days, then started to recouperate and get back to normal.
I have since been feeling much better, starting to get back to normal digestion, but I am monitoring my temperature every day at the request of the local hospital here in Norton. Thankfully, all appears to be normal. and I thank God for protecting me and all of the team throughout our travels in Africa. Beloved, pray for the people of West Africa as this virus is wrecking havoc on the economies and lives of millions of people, and pray for wisdom for our elected leaders here in America as they implement strategies for dealing with the spread of Ebola. Thank you for your prayers, blessings, Jim