An Edmond couple is heading to the Ebola-stricken country of Sierra Leone this week.
Jerome and Shana Crawford moved to Sierra Leone in April of this year with their six children, but the family had to return in August due to Ebola. Now, the Crawfords said they are returning to West Africa because their faith is calling them to go back.
“We are going back and the first thing we want to provide is to encourage these people. I mean these kids are like family to us,” Jerome Crawford said.
Sierra Leone is in the middle of an Ebola outbreak.
“We feel like God has called us to this and he knew when he first called us six years ago, that all of this would happen. So we both feel really confident at this point,” Shanna Crawford told News 9.
The Crawfords co-founded Komeo, a missionary organization that helps orphans at Wellington Orphanage near the capital of Freetown, Sierra Leone. They have made the trip dozens of times over the past six years and said Ebola will not stop them from going back again.
“For us to say, 'Ok, we've been telling you we are coming with the love of Christ and provided for you, but now in your darkest hour, sorry, we'll see you in a couple of years,' we didn't feel like we could do that,'” Jerome explained.
Aside from their work at the orphanage, the Crawfords also work with amputee and Polio communities on the outskirts of Freetown. They said the area struggles with basic medical necessities and starvation on a regular basis, so the Crawfords will pass out food and medical supplies to the villages.
Jerome Crawford said they will wear protective gear whenever they need to, but they will not be treating any Ebola patients.
“They've watched everyone that was helping there just leave and so I just pray that they see people coming back in and they don't feel abandoned and forgotten,” Shanna added.
The Crawfords are leaving on Friday, Nov. 7. They are not taking their kids with them on this trip. They said they will be in contact with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Upon returning from Sierra Leone, they plan to quarantine themselves in their home for 21 days and monitor their conditions for any possible symptoms.
The Crawfords are still collecting donations for their mission trip.
Learn more about how you can donate to their cause.