Church Cancels Mission Trip to West Africa Because of Ebola Outbreak

Created: 08/11/2014 7:36 PM
By: Meghan Reistad

(ABC 6 News) -- The Ebola outbreak may be in West Africa, but it is now forcing a Rochester church to change mission trip plans.

"Whether it's hyped up or whether it's reality, for those of us who have never been to a country like Guinea were a bit concerned about Ebola while we're there and coming back and possibly exposing family members," said Ivahn Dockter.

Since 1991, Autumn Ridge Church has been doing mission work in Africa. In 2007, volunteers began a partnership with Compassion Evangelical Hospital in Guinea.

“Being here in Rochester, we have a number of members in our church who are physicians, nurses, people in radiology,” said Pastor Woody Roland.

Volunteers bring supplies and skills necessary to run the hospital.

“They rely on us to provide expertise that they don’t have,” said Eugene Frank.

While they may only visit a few times every year, they work to keep the hospital running year-round.

 “Although we only go over there once or twice a year, they have to run the hospital on a daily basis, weekends, just like a hospital here,” said Frank. “When things break down, they have to wait for a long period of time. In fact, most of the technical equipment they have they cannot repair it in country.”

The next project planned is to repair a broken x-ray machine, along with bringing internet to the West Africa community.

“Our purpose is to put up a cell phone tower, antenna to try to capture cell phone signal from one of the nearest towns,” Dockter.

Trip organizers said they are aiming to move the trip to the end of November or beginning of December.

“I’ve seen it we are making a difference in that part of Guinea,” said Frank. 

More than 960 people have now died from Ebola and more than 1,700 are infected.

Photo: MGN