Ebola in West Africa – Too close home

(Journal of events as they have unfolded for our family this week)

There is much unrest and very dangerous situations happening in the world right now. They sometimes are hard to grab ahold of,  understand and feel compassion for until they hit home and you have family and/or friends there it can suddenly feel very personal. Right now this is happening with the Ebola crisis in Liberia in West Africa.

See my blog post “The Battle is Not Ours” for more of my personal thoughts on dealing with difficult circumstances.


Sunday-July 27, 2014: I don’t know if you are following the news but there is a very serious situation in Liberia with the Ebola outbreak. It is getting worse as the day progresses…. Here is the situation my brother’s (Richard) family is dealing with.

My niece, Melanie, and her husband, Jake, are serving with Samaritans Purse (SP) in Liberia. The outbreak has now hit their compound and their house. They live in a duplex and the doctor next door who shares the duplex is the one making world news today. He is the lead doctor and now he has Ebola. He is from Texas and they were due to go home for a family wedding and much needed vacation. His wife and children flew home last week and he was due to leave today.  Now today word has come that a nurse also has contracted Ebola.

Yesterday morning Mel talked to Dr. Brantly on their front porch.   Later in the day on Saturday he realized that he too had become a victim of the dreaded disease. Yesterday Mel & Jake were given 5 minutes to evacuate their house. They are temporarily living with another family. Their home will probably be turned into a hospital unit and probably their possessions burned. It is questionable if they will be able to retrieve anything else.

Mel and Jake have 2 children and are expecting a third. This is a scary time for everyone and particularly for family back home waiting, watching, worrying  and praying.

Tomorrow morning SP is having a meeting and it is highly likely that only essential personal will stay and everyone else sent home before doors close and the country does not allow anyone to leave. Much is at stake. You probably haven’t been really following the situation as we have. Here is a little clarification.

The compound where the Neiss’ are at was not a medical compound. Jake works with maintenance keeping all of SP helicopters in the area running for the larger ministry. When the first wave of Ebola hit this spring SP sent Mel and the children home for six weeks until it abated. (It was only in their area) In the mean time SP felt that they were there in Liberia “for such a time as this”. They set up a hospital on the compound and have been on the front lines helping the Liberian people. From Mel’s fb page it sounds as it the hospital just started receiving patients a week ago.

This disease is brutal and swift. They will know in several days if Dr. Brantly will live or die. There is a 90% death rate. It is unreal what they have to do to work in these conditions. Here is a link to a SP video from that unit that is a real eye opener.


This is a huge blow to SP ministry there and a dangerous situation for all the workers. Please join us as we pray that SP will have wisdom how to proceed and move forward and how to protect their workers.


Monday July 28: Here is word from Rich & Marj this morning…… Keep praying.

This is the word from Melanie after their meeting this morning. Samaritan’s Purse is evacuating their whole team from Monrovia. They’re leaving for the airport today at 3:00 their time (11:00 ours) and flying to to an undisclosed location. They will all be together at a motel for the next 21 days, which is the gestation period for the Ebola virus.  She didn’t know how much they’d be able to get from their house. Someone does need to go in for their passports, at the least.   I didn’t think to ask what they’re doing with Dr.B. In answer to my question as to how he’s doing this morning, she said, “very bad”. Keep praying for him!!

Marj wrote to family…”One may wonder (here where we’re nice and safe) about Christians pulling out at a desperate time of need like this. However, the culture there is quite different. Superstition and distrust often supercede truth and the reception of assistance. The clinic has been receiving serious threats and last p.m. there was an attempt to take life. Please continue to pray for mission agencies who have tough decisions to make, and for the individual people like Jake & Mel who are there because the LORD led them there. We are confident that none of this is a surprise to Him. May He be exalted, even now.”

PS: An informative article about ebola is http://www.vox.com/2014/7/23/5930311/ebola-virus-disease-outbreak-africa-facts-guinea. There are many other sites you can google if you’re interested.

Here is a blog from the sister–in-law of Dr. Brantly.   http://www.carrollcrossroads.com/blog/urgent-prayer-request


Tuesday-July 29: The prayer concern today is not only for the doctor (last evening the word was he was in grave condition) and nurse but also for the safety of the rest of the SP staff that did not make it out of Liberia. After the group that Melanie and Jake were in was evacuated the border closed. It’s a bit more tricky now and they say to stay could be a life and death situation. This is being taken into consideration. You will find more info and details about what’s happening at this at

http://bit.ly/1rv5RcR Samaritans.Purse link.

The word from Melanie this morning is….”we made it out of Liberia this morning. We had no hassle at the airport except for temp checks and some new forms asking us how our health is and where we are staying. Lucas slept for only 1 hour during the flight, so we are super tired!!! Both kids did very well. The plane food was delicious—meat!! SP put us up in a small Christian hotel and it has a restaurant. The temperature here is very cool for us sea level people.:)

I’m overwhelmed with gratefulness to be able to have my most precious people with me- my family. Jake was able to get some things from our house, so we have clothes and money etc. There are many more SP staff that still need to be evacuated. They flew oxygen machines in for Kent and Nancy but we have no updates on their status this morning. We are trusting and hopeful.”


 Wednesday-July 30: Last evening word came that the doctor’s status is deteriorating.  My heart aches for his wife and children as they watch, pray, and worry from a distance.  All the staff was involved in helping in some way; washing clothes, sterilizing, recording, etc.  They are monitoring their temperatures and we are praying that all are safe. As of last evening SP has not yet been able to evacuate the remaining staff. This is a very dangerous situation because of death threats and attempts on the lives of the staff. There is much superstition and distrust of the native people as they think the Americans are bringing them Ebola. The article below explains that situation.

Death and Denial in the Hot Zone:

Update today from Samaritans Purse:

Slight Improvement for Doctor with Ebola


Thursday, July 31:  There is a very informative update today from  Samaritian’s Purse on the status of Dr. Brantly and Nancy.

Samaritan’s Purse physician gives experimental serum to stricken colleague


Note from Pat:  Samaritians Purse website and fb page and Franklin Grahams fb page are posting updates on the situation. Follow them for more information.


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  1. Kendra L Said:

    A few things here were news to me! Thanks for helping raise awareness and prayers. Rejoicing in the news posted today by SP that there is at least slight improvement for Dr. Brantly and Ms. Writebol.

    • Pat Said:

      I hope and trust they are all correct. If something is not please let me know.

  2. Monique Said:

    Just came across your blog from a worldwide forum.
    Thank you Pat for bringing in some facts that many throughout the world did not know.
    If possible, keep us posted as to estimated deaths.
    Here in US they are reporting deaths under 700 and I have suspicion it is at least double that.

  3. Just posted your site on my facebook here in Canada to raise awareness and offer information to anyone interested. Thank you for the information.

  4. Jill Said:

    Leave it to Mom to keep us all organized! Thanks for compiling everything here. I check fb every morning before work, for it seems Mel (or Jake) often post around 6:30 am. Samaritan’s Purse and all their workers are heavy on my heart.

  5. Frankie Said:

    Thanks for the info. Will remember this situation in our prayers. Please keep us updated as it is more reliable to get the news from ‘people-on-the-ground’, than Fox, CNN et al.

    • Pat Said:

      I like to keep check on Samaritians Purse website and fb page and also Franklin Grahams fb.

  6. SL Morgan Said:

    Just came upon this site through a sister, thanks for the information. I will keep all of you in my prayers, may God keep you safe.

  7. tamara travis Said:

    Thank you Pat, the information you are providing is so helpful, and I am wondering if your brother has talked about the symptoms that patients were presenting with when they first became sick. I work in ophthamology and we see “pink eye” daily, I see that listed as a symptom in some articles- not in others. This outbreak seems to be showing different symptoms than previous ones and so any information we in the medical field can get ahead of time is very helpful. Our prayers are with you.

  8. […] Ebola in West Africa-too close home […]

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  10. Ashlee P Said:

    Thanks for sharing your information. I’d love a current update when you can

    • Pat Said:

      At this point the information that is being shared needs to come from Samaritians Purse or other news organizations. The team is in an undisclosed location for 21 days. Thanks for your interest and just keep praying for all involved.

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