Aminata is one of the 60 children who have been cared for by Restore Hope’s Interim Care Center for Ebola Orphans and Survivors at the Hope Center in Jui, Sierra Leone. She has been at the center for six months. While all the children at the center are orphaned by Ebola, 11 of the children are themselves, Ebola survivors. Aminata is one of those 11. Aminata was very tearful as she recounted her challenging experiences. Please read her testimony below.
“Before Ebola came to Sierra Leone, I lived with my family in the village of Rogbangba. I lived with my mother and father and my sister. I loved attending school and was in Class 4. My older sister who was 14 got the Ebola first. She came home sick and all of our family was exposed to the virus. Everyone was afraid. My father got the Ebola next. My sister and my father both died quickly. My mother was very frightened. Everyone was afraid to be taken to the Ebola treatment center because those who go never come back. And so she took me with her and we ran away from the village so no one could find us and send us to the Ebola center. But it was too late. The Ebola had gotten my mother. She became very sick, and she died. My grandparents also got it from her, and they died. Everyone in my family died. I was alone and I was so sad and scared. I had nowhere to go. The only thing I could think to do was to go back to my village. I was going from house to house begging for food — but everyone was afraid of me, and they yelled at me and drove me away from their houses. An old man felt sorry for me and he took me into his house. He was not related to me, but I called him my stepfather. He would go away from the house and leave me in the house alone. So, I was alone most of those days. But I had not escaped the virus. I soon became very sick with fever and with terrible pain in my stomach. Then came the vomiting and the blood. I became sicker and sicker. I became so sick I could not even move. Someone called the emergency Ebola number 117, and the emergency men came to take me to the Ebola treatment center in Hastings.
By the time the workers got to me, I was so sick and lifeless they thought I was dead. So they prepared to bury me. They sprayed my body, face and head with bleach. I was unable to respond. They put me in a body bag and zipped it up. They were taking me to bury me in the Ebola grave with the other dead. But the bleach made me cough and they heard me. So they unzipped the bag and transported me to Hastings to the Ebola treatment center. I was placed in a room with 20 other Ebola patients. The room was full of sickness and bleach. One by one, each person was taken out in a body bag. I was laying helpless, waiting to die too. The pain was so strong and my eyes were burning so bad from the bleach they had sprayed in my eyes.
Every person in the room died. All twenty of them. I was number 21. The pain in my stomach was unbearable. I was so weak and frightened. I still have very bad dreams, and it makes me cry and scream in the night. I still cannot see well out of my right eye. Only small-small (very little).
I stayed in the Ebola center for five months. Many people around me were dying. After the third month, my body began to feel better except I still had the bad pain in my stomach. I was very weak and thin, so they kept me there two more months. When they thought I was strong enough, they took me back to my village. I began looking for other members of my family like my uncle, but none of them had survived. They were all dead. Our family house was empty. No one would come near it. People were so afraid of catching the Ebola. The people feared me. If I came near their house asking for food they yelled at me, threatened me and drove me away. No one would talk to me. They ran from me. Even the old man drove me away from his house. I was so sad and lonely. I didn’t know what I was going to do. I ran back to the house where my family had lived, and I locked myself in and I cried and cried. I was all alone and no one could care for me because they were afraid of me.
After some time of keeping to myself and trying to get food for survival, a man from our village who worked for Child Welfare came and found me. He, too, was an Ebola survivor. He had heard about me and wanted to help me. He came and found me and put me in his car. He drove me to the Child Welfare office and they told him to take me straight to the ICC at Hope Center. Again, I was so scared. I began to cry. I did not know what ICC was. I thought it might be like other orphanages I had heard of where children are taken so that they can be sold as slaves. So, when we got to Hope Center, I refused to get out of the car because I was sure things were only going to get worse. I screamed and cried, holding on to the car. Finally, the children came out. They were all together, and they did not seem to be afraid. And they were not afraid of me because many of them were also survivors of Ebola.
At Hope Center, I get good school. The matrons and caregivers take good care of me. They encourage me and feed me good food. The pain in my stomach has gotten better, but it still hurts some, and my body has grown strong and healthy again. We play. We sing. We study. We learn about God. We are happy together
They said that when I arrived here I was like a mad person. I had lost my mind. But now I am happy. I still sometimes wake up crying in the night. And I scream out in my sleep. But the caregivers and the matrons are here for me. Now I feel safe. The Child Welfare took me to Waterloo to tell my story on the radio because they are trying to help our people understand the hardships we survivors have gone through and how we feel.
I do not know what will happen to me when I leave ICC. They say I may have to go back to my village. The old man in my village has tried to help me now that I am well. He took me to a doctor in Freetown about my eyes, but he does not have the money to pay for the medical treatment. They say it is not good for a young girl to live with an older man alone, so I am not sure what is going to happen to me. But Mama Cindy Wiles and Daddy Wiles are going to sponsor me. So, I know someone will care about me.
I would like to grow up to be the president of Sierra Leone because if I was president, children in this nation would not have to suffer. So many children in this country are suffering. I would help those who are suffering. Because I have been through death and I know how it feels to suffer.”
I pray that you get a glimpse of just how devastating this global health crisis has been in the lives or Sierra Leoneans and just how important your interventions have been. I do not know where this girl would be if it were not God using you to provide a place of healing and a path for the future. Thank you . . . thank you.
I am writing to tell you to save the date for INTERFACE 2016. If you are new to the Restore Hope network, I’ll give you a brief description of this event. INTERFACE is a forum for pastors, mission ministers and missions leadership from local churches. It is a time to come together to discuss issues and practices that affect us all in our mission ministries. INTERFACE allows you to be exposed to some of the great ideas and practices of others, as well as giving you the opportunity to discuss issues that are of interest to you. The agenda for the event is shaped by the attendees so that we are sure to make time for the issues that are concerning you.
We have historically covered all kinds of topics and issues such as strategies, funding, crisis management, avoiding dependency, volunteer preparation, long-term worker training/preparation, team issues and more.
You have an opportunity to shape the agenda for our meeting in September. One way you can help shape the conversation is by emailing Kameryn L’Ecuyer with your response to this question:
If you could choose one issue that you would like to openly discuss with other church missions leaders, what would that issue be?
(Please feel free to elaborate.)
We value your input as it affects our planning for this event.
Save the Date:
September 15-16, 2016 in Arlington, Texas
(Affinity groups meet on the evening of the 15th / INTERFACE forum on the 16th)
Be on the lookout for more information and the INTERFACE registration email this summer, or follow us on social media to receive additional updates.
The Miguel family, Loyd and Alma and their daughter Lya, live in the mountain village of Rosita, in the middle of the Nicaraguan rainforest. Loyd and Alma give strategic direction for partnership ministries among the indigenous people of Nicaragua. Loyd grew up in the area and speaks three languages. His unique understanding of the needs of these indigenous peoples enables him to build relationships with the people in the region and provide leadership training. Alma, with her joy of life, is a blessing to everyone as she directs medical ministries and partnership teams. They are expecting their second daughter soon!
In December, we were blessed to take in our second group of 30 children orphaned by Ebola at the Hope Center in Sierra Leone, West Africa. In addition to shelter and care, each child receives daily academic instruction, healthcare and counseling. We were able to provide them with some basic clothing and personal hygiene items upon arrival, but additional items are needed. Here’s your chance to help!
Each child needs three church outfits and two casual/play outfits. Click here to see the specific sizes needed for each child.
Please let us know how many church or play outfits you plan to bring. New or gently used items are requested. Also, be sure to provide us with your name and email address so that we can share with you about the impact you’re having in the lives of these children.
Please deliver all clothing to the Restore Hope office by March 7th when a small team will be going to Sierra Leone. Thank you for your help!
301 S. Center Street, Suite 325
Arlington, TX 76010
Join us for our annual Holes for Hope Golf Tournament at Walnut Creek Country Club in Mansfield, Texas, benefiting the global efforts of Restore Hope. The format is a Four-Man Scramble with a Shotgun Start. Mark your calendar, gather your team and get ready to have a good time for a great cause!
While shopping for the people you love, please remember the orphans of Hope Center who lost their parents to the Ebola Virus epidemic. Together our gifts can make a difference. Through the loving staff and ministries at Hope Center, 30 Ebola orphans receive food, education, counseling, recreation, spiritual nurture and a safe place to call “home” for this healing season.
This year our focus for #GivingTuesday is the 2016 support of The Hope Center Interim Care Center.
Jesus came as the greatest Christmas gift of all time! We are joining Him in His compassion for the poor, the fatherless, the orphan and the vulnerable by blessing those who care for vulnerable children in Sierra Leone. This project focuses on “caregivers”.
Caregivers are individuals who have accepted responsibility for vulnerable children. The Restore Hope caregiver community is made up of families who have taken in:
Orphans from our Orphan Sponsorship Program. (290)
Girls from the Link House – Ebola orphans or girls rescued from trafficking, abandonment, abuse or the streets. (22+)
Boys from the Hillman House – Ebola orphans or boys rescued from trafficking, abandonment, abuse or the streets. (20+)
Boys and girls from the Hope Center Interim Care Facility – Orphans from the Ebola Virus Disease. (30+)
Caregivers in our programs all live in the poverty context. They are for the most part, low-skilled, uneducated, sometimes elderly (such as a grandmother) and most often caring for a large family (estimated family unit size = 8). They currently live in an economy devastated by the worst-ever Ebola Epidemic.
There are two typical types of placement – kinship care (child is placed with an extended family member) or foster care (child is placed in a home with someone in the community who is qualified and willing to care for them). Children victimized by Ebola are the hardest to place because of the superstitions in the animistic culture and fear of disease exposure. Many Sierra Leoneans believe these children are cursed and are unwilling to bring the curse into their household.
Our goal is to bless those who are caring for our kids! Each bucket will contain items that meet human needs, supplement family health, promote learning, provide spiritual nurture and bring joy!
Restore Hope needs your help! In an effort to plan ministry activities for post-Ebola recovery, we have surveyed 11 communities in Sierra Leone about the effects of the Ebola Virus on their lives, households, and communities. Through this process, we’ve received nearly 1,800 completed survey forms. Now we need some helping hands to get the data entered for analysis and planning purposes.
Here’s your chance! Sunday, October 18th at 12:30pm, we’re hosting a “Data Day” and we would love for you to join us at 301 S. Center St., Suite 120. We’ll provide FREE PIZZA for lunch. We ask that each volunteer bring a laptop or tablet to use for the data entry. It is also helpful if you have basic familiarity with Microsoft Excel. We will provide the files and an orientation to the process.
As our staff has been entering data, we’ve seen that this is a great opportunity to pray for these families by name and to more fully understand the challenges they face in bouncing back from this historic Ebola outbreak.
On July 1, 2014, Restore Hope and Kinexxus merged into one organization after several years of close collaboration. The new Restore Hope now offers an expanded array of service to its partner churches and to communities across the world through its three service divisions – Church Mobilization, Community Development/Relief and Business Services. While continuing to provide consultation, training, networking and resources to churches involved in cross-cultural ministry, we can also assist global churches in implementing sustainable development initiatives that result in transformed lives, reliable infrastructure, social responsibility and capacity for continued development. The new Restore Hope has a holistic gospel approach summed up in our vision statement –
…restoring hope to communities and individuals across the world through Christ-centered church-based proclamation and service…
We aim to implement a holistic gospel through which physical, spiritual, social and economic needs of vulnerable communities are met. Through collaborative efforts with churches, community leaders and other organizations, we mobilize North American and global churches to go to the ends of the earth among the poor, the hurting and the hopeless. God is good! He is working all over the world and we are blessed to join Him in His purposes. restoring hope to communities and individuals across the world through Christ-centered church-based proclamation and service.
Competition for a great cause! We’ll have a full day of fun prepared for every golfer. Here are some of the highlights!
Free Lunch at 11:00 am
Shotgun start at 12:00 pm
4 Person Scramble
Longest Drive contest
Closest to the Pin contests
Average “Joe” games
Great prizes and more!
Join us in as we take part in a day filled with fun and great golf! Tickets can be purchased by clicking here.
Visit our Facebook, Twitter or Instagram pages to stay up to date on the latest developments. Also, to learn more about this beautiful course, visit the Sugar Tree website.
Sierra Leone is engulfed in a historic Ebola virus outbreak that is causing unprecedented death and panic. It is threatening to destroy many gains that have been made since the country’s civil war. As the number of confirmed Ebola cases continued to rise this week, Sierra Leone’s President Ernest Bai Koroma declared a state of emergency. Public health officials fear the worst and have warned it may take six months to get the spread of the virus under control. Health workers are rapidly exhausting their energies and supplies. Confusion and fear have led to violent attacks against medical clinics. Skepticism of government warnings is contributing to non-compliance with recommended prevention and treatment measures.
What are the people of God to do in the midst of such chaos? What is the church’s responsibility?
In Numbers 21, God instructs Moses to have victims of snake bites look up to a bronze serpent and be healed. John 3:14-15 says, “Just as Moses lifted up the snake in the wilderness, so the Son of Man must be lifted up, that everyone who believes may have eternal life in Him.” In the midst of darkness and despair, we are to point to the cross. We are to be Jesus’ emissaries bringing healing and hope. We are to stand tall for we have a Spirit of power. We are to pray fervently to God, our Healer – Jehovah Rapha – who alone is able to stop the spread of the Ebola virus.
In response to the current crisis, we are working with trusted church leaders and community partners in Sierra Leone to provide sanitation supplies, Ebola sensitization, and emergency medical relief. We have already issued radio announcements and distributed Ebola prevention and awareness materials. Above all, we continue to seek heavenly wisdom for our personnel, resources, and ministry activities. Our work in Sierra Leone touches the most vulnerable-widows, orphans, and extremely poor families. These precious ones need our prayers, our support, and our help.
Contribute medical and relief supplies to aid in our Ebola Response. Please click on the following link to download and view a list of relief supply materials that are needed[Ebola Response Supply Request].
Join us in praying for the people being affected by this horrible disease without a cure. Visit our Facebook, Twitter or Instagram pages to stay up to date on the latest developments.
Missional maturity for the local church is a process. We help the local-church develop and implement cross-cultural training in the church, sending church structure and processes, on-field strategy development, member care, and more.
Yes, you can! Churches can send their workers to the mission field by utilizing our array of services including financial management and accounting services, contracting, contingency management, and logistics.
We want to join you in taking the whole Gospel to the whole world!