(Liberia CNSAM) Joe Sonkpah, pastor of the Grace Chapel Church of the Nazarene in Liberia, passed away October 10 from Ebola days after his wife, Hannah, perished from the same disease.
Hannah was helping provide medical assistance after local hospitals in Monrovia closed because they were unable to assist patients with Ebola, a disease that has killed more than 3,400 people worldwide. At least 7,000 people have or are suspected to have Ebola in Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone, according to the World Health Organization.
Liberia Monrovia District Superintendent Daniel Johnson said Joe and Hannah Sonkpah were the first Nazarene Ebola victims.
The Church of the Nazarene continues to fight the spread of Ebola through hygiene education and supplies. The Liberia Monrovia District recently distributed tap buckets and boxes of soap to local congregations.
“Pastors and lay leaders at the distribution exercise first gave thanks and praise to God, and then extend their sincere thanks and appreciation to the [Africa West Field Strategy Coordinator], Rev. Dany Gomis and Rev. Cosmos Mutowa (Nazarene Compassionate Ministries Africa regional coordinator) for the compassionate assistance given to the local churches in the mist of the deadly Ebola crisis in Liberia,” Johnson said. “Please continue to pray that God will stop the spread of this deadly virus, and eradicate it from West Africa, especially from Sierra Leone, Guinea, and Liberia, which are [hard] hit by the virus.”
Church of the Nazarene Africa Regional Director Filimao Chambo requested prayer for the Sonkpah family. Joe and Hannah are survived by four children, who are under quarantine.
How to help
Africa West Field Strategy Coordinator Daniel Gomis suggests the following activities to support relief efforts:
- Have a time of fasting and a time of prayer at least once a week
- Pray for God to bind any fear and loose peace in the hearts of the people of West Africa
- Pray for our district superintendents, pastors, leaders, and churches in Liberia, Sierra Leone, and Guinea Conakry, that the Lord will use them powerfully as agents of hope and salt and light of Jesus in these difficult days
- Pray for God’s wisdom and protection over the medical doctors and health personnel in the Ebola-affected countries
- Pray for God’s wisdom for the head of nations and decision makers in Sierra Leone, Liberia, and Guinea Conakry
- Inform and educate by checking the World Health Organization and International SOS websites for updates
To contribute toward relief efforts through Nazarene Compassionate Ministries, click here.
Funds contributed through the Africa Emergency Relief Fund will go toward Ebola education programs, prevention and hygiene supplies, and food and vitamins for individuals and families in affected communities.