The Mission of Hope partnership with Rotifunk Hospital in Sierra Leone was reaffirmed July 31, 2014, by bishops from two conferences. Bishop Hope Morgan Ward and Bishop John Yambasu gathered at Wrightsville UMC to envision the future of joint efforts to improve healthcare in West Africa. In the midst of an Ebola outbreak threatening Sierra Leone, Wrightsville UMC and other interested parties moved forward on plans to improve healthcare at Rotifunk Hospital, newly reopened and serving one of the poorest regions of the country.
The most pressing need is to drill a borehole (a deep water well) on the hospital grounds. Clean, safe water is crucial to stopping the spread of Ebola and other diseases. Funds collected earlier this year are $4,400 short of what is needed for the installation. Donations for the well and other Rotifunk Hospital projects should be designated for NC Advance #S-00281.
Wrightsville UMC, the lead church for the Mission of Hope project, has led three teams to Sierra Leone in the last year and a half. The most recent team of seven were in Rotifunk in May 2014 for the dedication and reopening of the UMC Hatfield Archer Memorial Hospital, a facility destroyed in the country’s civil war. Restoration was a joint effort of the Norwegian UMC, UMCOR, and Wrightsville UMC. (See companion article.) The day was filled with joy and hope as people celebrated the return of quality healthcare to the region.
Bishop Yambasu told the planning group about a man from the neighboring country of Guinea, who walked two days to reach the Rotifunk Hospital after hearing of its reopening. So great is the need for medical care in West Africa.
Immediately upon their return in May, the Wrightsville UMC team, under the leadership of Rev. Edie Gleaves and Dale Smith, began gathering 20 full pallets of medical supplies and equipment. Stop Hunger Now is providing needed pharmaceuticals, helping fill a 40 foot container for shipment to Rotifunk Hospital in September. The NCC Mission Team is paying the shipping costs. Additionally, Wrightsville UMC has organized a new Mission of Hope Board, which includes Harbor District and NC Conference representatives, to help plan and raise funds for the ongoing partnership with the Sierra Leone Annual Conference of the UMC and the Rotifunk Hospital. The hope is that other churches and districts will adopt Mission of Hope as their overseas mission project.
Although no more NC teams will be sent to Sierra Leone until the Ebola crisis abates, NC United Methodists are committed to doing what they can to support the Rotifunk Hospital and improve the lives of every day people in Sierra Leone. Clean water, sanitation, good nutrition, and access to quality healthcare are key. Additional needs presented by Bishop Yambasu include salary and operational support, a vehicle for the Chief Medical Officer, a new ambulance, a security fence, and another electrical generator.
In a word of inspiration to all who seek to help, Bishop Yambasu said, “Be careful when you say, “Lord, send me.” You never know where God will send you. However, when God sends you, you are not going to be alone. God is with you. Thank you. We are not alone in this. I continue to thank God for you. Rotifunk is a dream come true through you. God is using all of us to make it happen. That’s the challenge. God will show us the way.”
All donations for the Mission of Hope Rotifunk Hospital should be designated for NC Advance# S-00281.