Saturday, January 31, 2015


Freetown, Ebola, Gess, Kissy, United Methodist, Global Vision
Friends everywhere,

Roger and Melanie Reiners have been and remain among the greatest supporters of the needy of Sierra Leone, and particularly of the Lowell and Ruth Gess UMC Hospital in Kissy, in the outskirts of Freetown, the capital city. Dr. Lowell Gess, a specialist in eye surgery, and Ruth were missionaries for two decades in Sierra Leone. In January, at age 93, Dr. Gess left his comfortable home in the U.S. for yet another stint in Sierra Leone. His explanation included this thought: I'm going because Sierra Leoneans feel abandoned. Just being there will be an encouragement.

Now word has arrived back from Dr. Gess via The Reiners. I reprint their email with permission.

January, 2015

Dear Friends and Supporters of the Gess (Kissy) UMC Eye Hospital:

Some of you may already be aware that Dr. Lowell Gess returned to Sierra Leone on January 4th with plans to remain there until the end of March.  As family and friends were bidding him Godspeed as he traveled, the selfish part of us just wanted to beg him to stay here where life is so much safer; but, not one of us could “beg” him to do something that would stand in the way of his answering the call of God on his life one more time.  The people of Sierra Leone are his people----he loves them and they, in turn, love him deeply.  He will be of great inspiration to them and to that eye care program he established so many years ago.

"The devastation from the Ebola Virus is beyond our imagination.  This beautiful country which was just beginning to rise from the destruction left by the eleven-year civil war in the country, has been set back once again.  All schools have been closed in the country for several months; churches have begun services again but no one touches another person (difficult for such loving and “huggy” people); the people are hungry as much of their annual rice crop was never planted and the price of rice that is available has skyrocketed; and the hospitals have been prevented from doing surgery of any kind as more than a dozen medical doctors have died from Ebola---the risk was just too great.  The Eye Hospital has managed to provide salaries at one-half the normal amount throughout this trying time, but funds will soon be depleted.

"As the Lowell and Ruth Gess UMC Eye Hospital prepares to begin surgery once again in just a couple of weeks, Dr. Gess plans to provide education for the staff and to work alongside them as the outreach program is re-established and the surgical program is resumed.  He has been able to supervise the relocation of the surgical suite back to the original building on the compound as the roof/ceiling of the newer surgical building is compromised and repair or complete rebuilding of the surgical building will be required soon.

"As you have been so loyal in your support of this program through the years, we are writing to make you aware of the great needs in Sierra Leone, once again.  If you feel that you could be of assistance financially in the re-activation of the Eye Hospital, we would be most grateful.  We trust that with the ebbing of the Ebola Virus, work teams will soon be able to travel to assist them as well.

"Contributions of any size will be deeply appreciated.  You may send gifts to the address given below:

"Central Global Vision Fund, Inc.
% Roger Reiners, Treasurer
508 E. 9th Ave.
Milbank, SD   57252

"God bless you for your continued support of this program that is so critical in this poorest of the poor countries in the world.

"Sincerely in Christ,

 "Roger and Melanie Reiners"


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