JustKindHumility always looks to Scripture for guidance in everyday life and circumstances. Our overarching emphasis is on living a life based on the teachings of Holy Scripture and always in line with what Jesus taught when he walked the earth. We focus on Micah 6:8 where God clearly proclaims His requirements for living a life pleasing to Him and we point to Matthew 25:31-46 as the way in which Jesus describes how we will ultimately be judged. Both passages involve how we treat the vulnerable, the least of among us and our neighbors.
At JKH, we do not shy away from the conviction that the most merciful thing we can share with others is the Good News of Jesus. Yet, we fully acknowledge that we are living an earthly life that requires earthly provision. We fully believe God requires us to be His conduit, His tool, His vehicle to those provisions. We fully believe we are His hands and feet (1 Cor.12:15-26). As such, JKH strives to point to organizations, people and ideas that show us how to do this well and how to support those on the frontlines of doing His work.
In light of current struggles with COVID-19, I reached out to friends located around the world to discover how global communities are faring and how we can come alongside them to support and learn from them.
I reached out to my fellow HDI classmate, Steve Butwill. He is working in Liberia with the Po River Clinic which is located in the Yarnee District of River Cess County, Liberia. He and his wife Jen have been there since 2013. Their mission is to provide quality medical care to the people living in the region and as followers of Jesus, they are intentional about sharing the Good News of Jesus and their faith. They have been through the Ebola Crisis of 2014-2015 and have experienced many health challenges in their community of 6000 where there are no other medical facilities. They were sent by their home church, Zarephath Christian Church and their clinic is operated entirely through donations. You can read more here www.poriverclinic.com and you can donate directly here: DONATE HERE.
Steve and I are in the same Master level class at HDI, and on an assignment we were asked the following question: “What specific actions could have been taken ahead of the COVID-19 pandemic to prepare vulnerable communities in the global south?”
I was so encouraged by Steve’s response as it regarded Liberia that I reached out to see if I could share and he said yes! I am quoting him in order to give each of us encouragement and a peek into life around the world during this global pandemic. Here is Steve’s response:
“While the question on the table is what could have been done ahead of time in the global south, I want to talk about some of the ways that the global south, Liberia in particular, has done some things much better than more developed countries in terms of their preparedness and response to the pandemic. Liberia’s experiences with Ebola in 2014/15 set up a robust system of regional and local surveillance teams that became very good at tracking down and monitoring potential contacts of those testing positive. This system was still operating at the time of COVID-19 and has been working seamlessly with local medical clinics and hospitals in terms of contact tracing and helping with organizing remote testing and managing the logistics of samples being sent from facilities to testing labs. The second area of focus in Liberia that seamed lacking in western early response was the focus on hand washing stations. Liberians learned the importance of suspending the custom of shaking hands and critical role of hand washing during Ebola and so there was little pushback this time around. Hand washing buckets and soap could be seen outside every business and people were required to wash their hand before entering any building, compound, or market. As hand washing is the number one way of slowing down transmission of COVID-19 this was significant. Liberia was also a leader in terms of shutting down the airport and closing its borders and has seen well less cases than found in neighboring countries. Liberia is also doing well at breaking down the data into usable information as they are tracking and reporting not only deaths but whether that death was in a COVID-19 treatment unit, local health facility, or in the community.
And in another post regarding the culturally ingrained act of hand shaking:
“There is no way that Liberians would have been able to drop the cultural practice of the Liberian handshake which is ingrained into their identity if the leaders whom they trust in their communities hadn’t first been engaged and sold the idea during the time of Ebola. It is only through the engagement and commitment of local leaders and relationships that these efforts have a chance of succeeding.”
It makes me wonder, in light of these major COVID-19 challenges, what ingrained cultural practices can we forego with the intent of changing the tide of the pandemic? How can our leaders engage and build trust?
I am reminded of how the Apostle Paul spoke about this in Romans 14:1-23 which is a passage about sacrificing for others and putting away things that seem important to us so that we can support those weaker and more vulnerable. In 14:7, Paul says:
“For none of us lives for ourselves alone, and none of us dies for ourselves alone.”
In this time of distress, challenge and doubt, how can we resist living for ourselves alone? How can we support those who are more vulnerable and weaker than us? How can our actions lead us to share our resources and ultimately the most precious Good New of Jesus?