Pastor Ronnie McBrayer of A Simple Faith Church in Santa Rosa Beach, Florida reflected upon the Ebola crisis that has devastated West Africa over the past year in an essay published Saturday.
McBrayer discussed the efforts of the thousands of health workers and volunteers that served the affected populations, and said that they are reflective of Jesus' love for us.
"Health workers have been at the forefront of combating this disease, unselfishly submitting themselves to incredible risk in the process," he wrote in the Greensburg Daily News. "They remind me of Christ who would walk among the diseased and infected, unafraid to touch, to heal, and to love."
The pastor recounted an interview he heard with an Ebola health worker last year, when an end to the outbreak seemed like a distant dream.
When asked what materials or supplies were most needed to improve their work in the area, the nurse expressed concern that the patients felt isolated and alone.
"What we need are new biohazard suits; ones with full, clear screens so the patients can see our faces," she said, according to McBrayer. "We need the new suits so they can see our faces...so they can see us smile at them, and be less afraid."
He said the woman's words reminded him of the Aaronic Blessing, a prayer that asks for God's smile and protection. In the midst of world and personal crises, McBrayer continued, "God is smiling."
WHO Regional Director Dr Matshidiso Moeti predicted last week that the Ebola outbreak will be over by this fall, but that more work is needed to rebuild the economies and increase the health resources in Liberia, Guinea, and Sierra Leone.
Over 10,000 people have died from the current outbreak, with over 25,000 cases confirmed.