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Dr Kent Brantly’s personal journey of faith in the face of Ebola

Dr. Kent Brantly was infected with the deadly Ebola virus while serving as a medical missionary in Liberia. But as millions watched his arrival in America and followed his treatment, he and his wife, Amber, went through a personal journey of faith. Read Transcript


KENT: I think a lot of times, we make an idol

out of security and safety.

God doesn't call us to safety.

He calls us to follow him.

Life in Liberia was good.

We took family walks together.

We ate meals together every day.

The work there was hard, facing death

on an almost daily basis in the hospital.

Even in the months preparing for Ebola,

feeling that it was imminent, that it was coming,

it was really stressful.

It kind of felt sometimes like maybe that

was a patient with Ebola and I missed it,

and can I come home tonight.

So that this tension was there.

KENT: We had to let compassion control our actions

and not our fear.

If we had let fear reign, we never

would have taken care of those patients with Ebola.

On July 20th, I flew back to Texas with my kids

to attend my brother's wedding.

There was a prearranged trip.

We'd been planning it for months,

and Kent was going to join us the following week.

When I put Amber and the kids on that airplane,

it never crossed my mind that this could

be the last time I see them.

I'd been working really long days.

I had come home late the night before,

and I set up to eat dinner.

So when I woke up in the morning and my stomach was

a little upset, I didn't feel good,

I had plenty of excuses why that would be.

I really thought, by lunch time, this will blow over.

I'll feel fine.

When I spiked a fever at lunch time,

I thought, I'm going to be fine, and three days from now,

I'll have a negative test, and I will

be refreshed and rejuvenated, and I can go back to work.

Lance Plyler was standing in my window telling me Kent, bud,

you've got Ebola.

I said, how am I going to tell my wife?

AMBER: He knew that I was waiting for this result,

so he just said, Amber, I'm really sorry.

My test result came back, and it's positive.

And I cried a lot, and I can still cry about it.

I wanted to be encouraging and say something meaningful,

but I-- what can you say?

All I can remember saying to him was oh, Kent, I'm so sorry.

I'm so, so sorry.

I was sorry for him, and I was sorry for myself.

I was sorry for his parents.

With the limited number of patients

I had seen up to that point, the bloodshot eyes

seemed to be kind of the telltale sign.

And every patient we had seen who had bloodshot eyes

ended up being positive for Ebola, and they ended up dying,

and I remember going to my bathroom every day

as my illness progressed and looking in the mirror

and trying to see, are my eyes red yet?

And one day, they were.

They were really red.

AMBER: My brain was working so hard on--

and I don't even know what.

I was just thinking all the time.

I couldn't get out of my head, and I couldn't really

formulate a prayer on my own besides hopefully please help.

Please help us.

Have mercy.

I thought about what happens if I die here?

They can't repatriate my remains to America.

I would be highly infectious.

I was really relieved to be going back to America, even

if only to be closer to my family.

I didn't know if I would make it to America or not,

and the flight was long and difficult.

They took good care of me, but it

was a long, difficult flight.

AMBER: They pull up to the hospital,

and the back door opens, and he steps out of that ambulance.

And I could hear speculation from the reporters.

Do you think that's the doctor?

Surely he's not walking.

Maybe they've sent a decoy.

It was him, and I knew it.

KENT: When I first arrived, the phone in my room

rang, and my doctor answered it, and he said, yeah.

Yeah, he's right here, and then he handed me the phone,

and it was my wife.

To know that we were in the same place was a great relief.

AMBER: A few days after he had been in the hospital,

I could see his eyes were starting

to clear up a little bit and not be as red,

and that's when I really felt like, he's going to make it.

After my test came back negative,

I had to take a shower.

Before I showered, I had taken my ring off

and dropped it in a small container of disinfectant.

While I was taking a shower, they

brought in some clean towels that had not been in my room

before and they laid them down on the floor all the way

from the shower to the door.

They gave me some clean clothes to put

on, just some scrubs, and then out

of my room into the clean zone.

The door from the empty room to the hallway

opened, and Amber was standing there

in the hallway waiting for me.

And they had taken my ring out of the disinfectant

and given it to Amber.

And so I walked out of the empty room into the hallway

and gave her a big hug, and we just stood there in an embrace.

And then she put my wedding ring back on my finger, and it was--

It was sweet.

It was--

It was surreal.

KENT: Like the beginning all over again.

AMBER: God actually really is good.

He really is.

He is who he said he is, and he's been so faithful to me,

and I just want to be faithful to him.

And I am not a Christian because I'm strong

and I know all the answers to those tough questions.

I'm a Christian because I know I'm weak, and I need a savior.

[APPLAUSE]

I cannot thank you enough for your prayers and your support,

but what I can tell you is that I served a faithful God who

answers prayers.

I'm not really surprised that people take issue

when I say God saved my life.

I think there are some real challenging questions

that people have in the midst of tragedy when someone mentions

God and what role he may or may not be playing in the world,

because those are hard questions for me.

I don't understand how God works, but I didn't die.

I'm alive.

And so for me to live ought to be for people

to see a little glimpse of Christ,

and I understand that in a much more personal way

than I did before Ebola.

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