CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) — David Writebol and his wife Nancy expected to enter a world of poverty, pain and suffering when they left home last year for missionary work in Liberia. They accepted the risks, having faith that God would ensure their safety.
So when a doctor told Writebol that the deadly Ebola virus had infected his wife, he knew where to turn: “This is something that God has given us in our lives, and God is going to sustain us through it,” Writebol said.
Writebol and two other missionaries have been quarantined at the SIM USA charity’s sprawling campus just south of Charlotte, while his wife remains in isolation at Emory University Hospital in Atlanta.
They had been in Liberia for a year, sponsored by their congregation at Calvary Church in Charlotte. At the clinic, Nancy Writebol’s duties included disinfecting staff entering or leaving the Ebola treatment area.
Writebol appeared relaxed and comfortable in a video interview via Skype on Wednesday. Wearing a bright blue button-up shirt and a constant smile, he chuckled frequently as bugs buzzed in the background.
“Each time I talk to her, I get a sense that her voice is clearer and brighter and so I’m imagining that she’s getting stronger,” he said, looking forward to being reunited with his wife.
She’s still “very weak,” he added, but “from everything that I’m hearing we’re making good progress.”
The virus that has killed more than 1,000 people in West is spread by direct contact with blood or bodily fluids, not through casual contact. But Writebol and his two colleagues are being quarantined in motor homes for three weeks since their last exposure. “It’s like being at your favorite campgrounds in the woods,” he said.
Back in Liberia, he said he felt helpless to see so many people suffering.
“It’s dangerous, and you know that it’s not a disease that has a cure. And so helplessness is really a part of that, and you do what you can. But many times, it’s not enough and that’s very frustrating.”
But he doesn’t blame anyone for his wife’s illness.
“Though Nancy contracted the Ebola disease, we do not see that as a failure on God’s part. The reality is, God’s purposes are higher than our own pain,” he said.
AP video producer Cindy Sharp contributed to this report from Washington