By Male Marvin
A christian charity organisation that supports medical missionaries and mission hospitals in Africa has been amazed by the healing testimony of Dr. Rick Sacra who was stricken with Ebola during mission.
Dr. Rick was on Thursday commended and awarded for his decades-long work at Eternal Love Winning Africa (ELWA) missionary Hospital in Paynesville, Liberia.
According to the Christian Post, he received the Rabbi Erica and Mark Gerson L’Chaim (“To Life”) Prize for Outstanding Christian Medical Mission Service, and a $500,000 grant to keep going.
“I asked (the missionaries) if they needed doctors (in those parts of the world),” Dr. Sacra recalled. “It was a conviction that God put in my heart when I was quite young.”
Sacra, now 56, was delivering babies at ELWA in August 2014 when he contracted the Ebola virus.
It had been an “awful” time in the country Sacra has called home for some two decades.
According to The Telegram newspaper, the epidemic claimed more than 11,000 lives in West Africa from 2014 to 2016.
“Every day there would be patients. There would be sick people waiting around the entrances to these two units, waiting for news that there was an open bed. It was heartbreaking; you would literally see very critically ill people just sitting out on a grassy spot somewhere on the ELWA compound,” Sacra said.
In hindsight, Dr. Sacra told The Telegram he thinks he knows the patient who infected him.
“I didn’t know she had it. She didn’t have a fever,” Dr. Sacra said.
“It was a Friday night when I developed the fever. … I didn’t know of an exposure, but we had had several patients who died under somewhat mysterious circumstances. At that time we didn’t have good access to testing,” he explained. “But for some reason, I really felt from the moment I had the fever, I just thought, this is it. And I don’t know why but I just felt that this is Ebola.”
Tests positive: I held to prayer ‘like a drowning man’
Speaking to CBN News, Dr. Sacra said he focused on the Lord as he spent several weeks battling the deadly Ebola virus.
Even though he was sure he was doing what God wanted him to do, Sacra was tortured over what his possible death could mean for his family and the ELWA hospital.
“I tell you I hung on to the Lord’s Prayer like a drowning man,” he told CBN News.
“I just had a real sense of peace that God was saying, ‘I’m here.’ I felt like I was doing what I was supposed to be doing. I said to God, ‘God, but what about my family and what about the hospital?’ And God kinda said, ‘Rick, I got it. I can handle that.’”
Dr. Sacra’s wife, Debbie Sacra was unable to be at her husband’s bedside because of the highly contagious nature of the virus. She remembers reading Scripture with him via Skype.
He spent more than three weeks of successful treatment in a special isolation unit in Nebraska in USA.
God has a way of doing that — of taking something bad and turning it into something good,” Sacra said.
He returned to his mission ground a few months later to continue saving lives.
“This is a second chance to finish the work that we started,” he said of the $500,000 award on Thursday that will build on his years at ELWA.
The money, he said, will train Liberian doctors, establish an intensive care unit, and provide an initial investment in a solar energy system.