What would you do if someone dropped a child off at your house in hopes that you’d adopt? What about five children? What about 16? And would it make any difference if all those kids were relatives?
That’s about what happened to Liberian native Joseph Gbembo who I met when I was in Foya, Liberia, last summer. Joseph lost 17 family members during the Ebola crisis of 2014, and although the youngest member of his family, he and his wife agreed to take in 16 orphaned children from members of his family who died during the outbreak.
In the powerful Samaritan’s Purse documentary Facing Darkness, Joseph highlights how tragically the Ebola crisis impacted him personally:
I lost my aunt. Her name was Bandu Gbembo. I lost my mom. Her name was Sia Gbembo … My nephew. His name was Patrick Gbembo. My brother. His name was Laris S. Gbembo. My niece, Rita Gbembo. My sister, Matu Gbembo. I lost my aunt; nephew, Fala Gbembo. My brother wife. Her name was Rebecca Gbembo. I lost my uncle, Abdu Shafa, my aunt, Tiawa Shafa.
Almost everyone reading this blog has lost someone close to them. We all can relate to the pain and heartache. But 17 the same year?! Some of you have adopted a child into your home. God bless you for doing so! But 16?!
Like Corrie ten Boom, Dwight L. Moody and Mother Teresa, Joseph Gbembo is a hero in the faith for me. I can’t even imagine what it would be like to be suddenly the guardian of 16 children. Raising two bio-children was challenge enough for me!
Speaking of Joseph and the Ebola crisis, the film I referenced above, Facing Darkness, comes out next Thursday, March 30. It takes a big-picture look at the 2014 Ebola crisis, talking with people such as Joseph who’ve been terribly impacted by the disease, showcasing the work of those who strove to help in the midst of it (including Franklin Graham) and highlighting Dr. Kent Brantly and Nancy Writebol, the first two people to come back to the U.S. with the disease. More than anything, this film will inspire you to ask the question, How far will I go to serve people for Jesus? The March 30 screening is a one-night only Fathom Event at select theaters, so if you’re planning on seeing it (and I hope you are), you’ll need to make plans for that specific evening.