The death toll from Ebola in West Africa has climbed to more than 2,800 in six months, with 5,800 cases confirmed as of September 22, 2014, according to the World Health Organization.
On behalf of the leadership and membership of the Seventh-day Adventist Church in its 13 world divisions, and indeed the more than 18 million members in 215 countries, I would like to express my deep concern for the people in West Africa who are living under the threat of the Ebola virus—particularly in the countries of Guinea, Sierra Leone, Liberia, Senegal and Nigeria.
I am urgently imploring all Seventh-day Adventists around this globe to make Sabbath, October 11, 2014 a special Day of Prayer for our brothers and sisters in West Africa and for the entire population in that region as they face this virtually unprecedented tragedy. Let us pray that God will put a halt to the spread of this virulent virus.
Having had the wonderful privilege of living and serving in West Africa with my wife and family for nine years, our hearts go out to the families of the more than 2,800 people who have already died from the epidemic. After news from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control, which projects that by January cases could number between 550,000 to as high as 1.4 million, coupled with a 71 percent fatality rate according to the World Health Organization, we are devastated by the potential of this outbreak to destroy lives.
I especially want the Seventh-day Adventist Church worldwide and specifically the church members of the West-Central Africa Division to know that we who serve at the Church headquarters are praying for you, and we are joined by a global family of hope in God’s power to save.
There are many initiatives that are taking place on the part of the Seventh-day Adventist Church and its entities to assist in this extremely challenging crisis in West Africa. You will see or hear about these through ANN, Adventist Review, Adventist World, Hope Channel, Adventist World Radio and elsewhere.
On Thursday, September 25, 2014, the Adventist Development and Relief Agency hosted a prayer event in the Atrium of the General Conference building and were joined by many others via Google Hangout.
On October 1, 2014, the General Conference Ministerial Association will launch a global prayer campaign for those impacted by the Ebola virus. People around the world are expressing their support via social media through the hashtag #UnitedinPrayer.
On October 11, during 2014 Annual Council, there will be a live connection between the many world leaders who will meet at the General Conference headquarters in Silver Spring, Maryland, and Pastor James Golay, the president of the West African Union in Monrovia, Liberia. He will be staying in Liberia with our church members to encourage and support them during this very traumatic time instead of attending the Annual Council but will be connected electronically with the meetings. He will share with the world leadership a first-hand report about the critical situation in his territory of Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia where we have 33,000 Seventh-day Adventists. After the report from Pastor Golay there will be a special prayer emphasis for those living facing this devastating situation.
Please remember the special Day of Prayer on Sabbath, October 11, 2014, for West Africa as the population confronts the rapidly expanding Ebola challenge.
In all of this we want those in West Africa to know that, not only during the Sabbath prayer emphasis, but day-by-day, hour-by-hour, the people affected by this crisis will be lifted up in prayer to our Creator, Savior and Master Physician. Let us earnestly pray for the latter rain of the Holy Spirit and the proclamation of the three angels’ messages, which will point people to Christ’s soon coming when illness, diseases, the Ebola virus, fear and death will be conquered through God’s almighty power to save for eternity. Even so, come Lord Jesus!
With kind Christian regards and sincerely yours,
Ted N. C. Wilson
General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists
July 9-16, 2014, we joined together online, praying for one of the kidnapped girls each hour. Thank you for joining us once an hour as we lifted up each of these girls by name. As the many days pass since their kidnapping, continue to choose a few girls from the list below to continue praying for in your time with God.
|Gloria M.||Kauna K.||Deborah P.||Aishatu G.||Sarah|
|Rhoda P.||Mwa||Deborah B.||Laraba J.||Rebecca K.|
|Saratu M.||Ladi I.||Muwa||Ruth J.||Debora|
|Solomi||Naomi Z.||Lydia H.||Salomi||Mary Y|
|Naomi A.||Helen||Rifkatu Y.||Yana P.||Febi|
|Deborah G.||Hauwa M.||Ruth I.||Rifkatu S.||Awa B.|
|Lydia S.||Awa J.||Muli||Jummal J.||Ihyi|
|Saraya A.||Rejoice M.||Na'omi B.||Hauwa A.||Ladi P.|
|Comfort||Ruth B.||Hauwa I.||Palmata||Lydia E.|
|Mary A.||Serah||Rebeca||Kauna L.||Patiance|
|Yanke||Saraya L.||Hanatu I.||Hauwa T.||Hauwa B.|
|Esther A.||Mary M.||Luggwa N.||Esther S.||Rehap|
|Ruth A.||Confort||Margret S.||Lugwa||Saratu E|
|Rifkatu A.||Liyatu||Esther J.||Mairama Y.||Ruth L.|
|Yayi||Hauwa W.||Mary D.||Yana B.||Rejoice S.|
|Blessing||Kabu||Saraya P.||Tabitha P.||Esther U.|
|Monica||Magret Y.||Falta||Suzana||Rahila B.|
|Mairama A.||Rakiya||Deborah A.||Mary S.||Na'omi L.|
|Kume||Ruth N.||Naomi P.||Saraya S.||Luggwa S.|
|Maryamu W.||Ladi J.||Hauwa Y.||Maryamu L.||Juliana|
|Jummal P.||Mary K.||Pindar||Asabe M.||Mary U.|
|Junkai||Nguba||Rhoda J.||Hanatu M.||Saraya Y.|
|Laraba M.||Rahila Y.||Gloria D.||Kwandugu||Hamsatu|
|Yana Y.||Tabitha H.||Talata||Asabe A.||Amina|
|Eli||Halima||Hauwa L.||Laraba P.||Aisha L.|
|Saraya M.||Maryamu M.||Rebecca M.||Hadiza||Tabitha S.|
|Haul||Awa A.||Rifkatu G.||Na'omi Y.||Sicker|
|Awagana||Maifa||Saratu D.||Docas||Maryamu B|
|Hauwa S.||Deborah J.||Aisha E.||Deborah S.||Maryamu|
|Deborah M.||Abigail||Godiya||Mary P.||Ruth K.|
|Aishatu M.||Esther M.||Maimuna||Hauwa K.||Christiana|
|Kwanta||Safiya||Rebecca L.||Ladi W.||Margret W.|
|Glory||Christy||Hauwa H.||Hasana||Saratu A.|
|Hauwa N.||Laraba Y.||Hanatu N.||Unnamed||Unnamed|
Rarely do we witness a story emerging in news reports that is so universally abhorrent as the world has witnessed in the mass kidnapping of over 270 girls from a school in northern Nigeria. When armed militants from a terrorist group rounded up the girls it was first under the pretense of moving them to safety. But according to accounts of some of the 53 girls who escaped, they were threatened with both forced marriage as well as being sold into slavery.
While millions around the world have been moved to march and to protest and to join in a social media campaign calling for the safe return of the girls there are several key reasons for Seventh-day Adventists to lend their prayerful efforts to their plight.
This kidnapping is a single event that infringes on several highly held values of Seventh-day Adventists including religious liberty, violence against women, education and human rights.
Since the establishment of the International Religious Liberty Association in 1893 Seventh-day Adventists have fought for religious liberty, believing that every human being has the right to practice their religious belief or even to choose not to believe. It has never been a matter of whether the belief aligns with our own it has simply been the assertion that people must be free to practice and to choose their own faith.
The apparent forced conversion of these kidnapped girls from Christianity to Islam not only violates our principles of religious liberty, but also that of Muslims around the world.
In 2009 the Seventh-day Adventist Church launched the enditnow campaign to end violence against women and girls. The idea was to raise awareness of the fact that violence against women is an issue not only in the community, but also in the church. All were called to see this as unacceptable. The campaign raised nearly five hundred thousand signatures around the world in the process.
Every signature registered in the enditnow campaign can now become a voice calling for the freedom of the stolen girls.
Education is a value that the Seventh-day Adventist Church lives and demonstrates every day. With more than 1.5 million students in its 7,600 schools in over 100 countries around the world the Adventist church has demonstrated that the education of boys and girls alike is a matter of utmost importance.
For the Seventh-day Adventist the view on human rights flows from a belief that men and women alike were created in the image of God and because of this every human being must be treated with the dignity and respect that God’s image deserves. God created humanity with the freedom choose. God takes this freedom so seriously that it extends to the ability to reject God himself, if we so choose. Whenever human freedom is treated with so little regard and human life with so much disdain we should all be moved.
As a church that has come to value religious liberty, education, human rights and that has encouraged awareness of the problem of violence against women, and has demonstrated these values in tangible ways we, we now issue a call to prayer.
Although none of the girls are a member of our faith community, they are still our sisters and our daughters. Whether we live near the West African country of Nigeria or on the other side of the planet, their families are our neighbors.
You are invited to join us in a campaign of prayer for the freedom of the kidnapped girls of Nigeria.