In December 2013 an outbreak of the deadly Ebola virus began in West Africa. By late March 2014 the first cases were confirmed in Liberia. The disease spread quickly. By the end of the summer, thousands had been infected and hundreds were dead.
The government responded with swift quarantines. In homes with infected family members, personal possessions were removed and burned. As a result, many families mourning the loss of loved ones were also left destitute.
As the epidemic continued, Liberian Saints sprang to action to aid their communities. They distributed sanitation supplies and taught preventative hygiene classes in their local communities. The Church partnered with other organizations to provide aid throughout West Africa. These efforts included distributing clothing, medical supplies, personal hygiene kits, and food to people in many areas—particularly those affected by the quarantine. LDS Charities provided funding for psychological counseling for families who lost loved ones to Ebola. Working with the Adventist Development and Relief Agency to identify families who had lost members, LDS Charities donated Christmas packages with food, disinfectant, and sanitary materials as well as mattresses and bedding to replace lost possessions.
In November 2015, as the crisis drew to a close, Elder David A. Bednar visited Church members in Liberia and encouraged them to look to their faith for comfort. “Given what’s happened here with Ebola and other things that have been just devastating,” he taught, “the solution to the heartache is the gospel of Jesus Christ.”