Thursday, December 5, 2013

"The Brantly Bunch": Helping One of Our Own by Frank Black

“THE BRANTLY BUNCH”:  Helping One of Our Own


      [I used the above title, for that’s what Kent and Amber use in their Blog.]


      It’s with personal pleasure and gratitude that one of our own from Southeastern [and my nephew], Kent Brantly and his family, are now actively serving in Medical Missions in Liberia, West Africa, at Elwa Hospital – about 12 miles from the capitol city of Monrovia.  Kent and Amber and the kids, Ruby and Stephen, moved there on October 15, 2013, with an initial two year commitment.  [By the way, their family of four moved to a foreign country to live and checked 14 bags!! – containing all the things they might need. I don’t know about you, but when my wife and I go to Colorado we check two 50# bags in addition to our 2 ‘carry-ons’.  How about you?.  We have so much unnecessary “stuff”].


        Most of their day-to-day financial needs have been met.  The sponsoring organization for the hospital, Samaritan’s Purse, has accounted for much of this. And I’m delighted to tell you that Southeastern has been able to add the Brantlys to our Foreign Mission’s regular monthly support.  However, they are still short about $10,000 on what we call “start up funds”.  This money is used for everything from airfare, to local house and personal needs, to a vehicle, etc. – all the things it takes to get started. To this point they are without a vehicle.  To find a decent used vehicle in Africa is verrry difficult – unless you can obtain one from another missionary or ex-patriot who has taken proper care of the vehicle.  The first two vehicles that were possible purchases turned out to have been ‘totaled’ and rebuilt.  Caution; always caution – especially in developing countries.  I always called it, “appropriate skepticism.”


      A vehicle for a family in a Third World country is really a must!  They do without so much that having a vehicle becomes even more important for the family – going to market, going to various churches, personal travel, helping others who don’t have a vehicle, and just the ability to come and go with some independence.  Just ask yourself how you would like to go even one week without a vehicle  - MY CASE RESTS!        


      The Mission Committee suggested and Southeastern’s leadership has approved our trying to raise as much as possible of the $10,000 for the Brantlys. And now the rest is up to you.  During this season of charity and giving please sincerely consider helping as much as you can for our SPECIAL CONTRIBUTION next Sunday [Dec. 15, 2013]. 




      Now that I’ve presented the monetary need, let me ask you a question.  What’s the most important thing to most people – and perhaps to you?  Come on now; be honest.  The bottom-line usual answer is a person’s HEALTH – and the health of their loved ones.  This is just a truism of people, and it was no different in Jesus’ day.  Jesus knew this about people.  He had compassion on their physical plight.  This is why most of the miracles recorded in the New Testament are miracles involving HEALING. I like to say that, “Jesus Christ was God’s only Son and the first Medical Missionary.”  It is also true that, “Peoples’ greatest concern is their physical health, while their greatest need is their spiritual health.”  Jesus ministered to both these areas to all people. Kent has prepared himself for many years both medically and spiritually.  He is ready and eager and covets the challenge to follow the example of Jesus in ministering to people both physically and spiritually.


 [As an aside here, you may be asking, “Why Africa or why Liberia?”  Can I say more than giving a figure I saw recently:  Liberia  averages only one doctor per 100,000 people!! In Indiana there is probably about one doctor per 400 people or 25 per 100,000.  The answer to “Why Africa” is à the tremendous medical need!!!  Of course the spiritual need is everywhere].


As you can see, I’m getting carried away here.  But I worked for five years at Chimala Mission Hospital in Tanzania and have since served many other times in medical missions. This is where my heart is and that of my wife, Lou Ann.  This is also true of Kent and Amber.  Their goal has been reached: they are on the scene in Liberia – and now through diligent medical care and through their Christian example and teaching, they will be able to help countless people both medically and spiritually. I think we at Southeastern should be proud and should be eager to do all that we can to help “one of our own”.


                                                      F, Black [12/4/13]

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