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Helping Newborns in Sierra Leone

Abie's story about the war in Sierra Leone5:25
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War devastated Sierra Leone for over 10 years. Rebels were killing civilians, civilians who weren’t killed had no food, and the road to freedom was blocked. Survivors Abie and Mohammad Turay are proof that God lives and loves His children.

Abie and Mohammad fled from their home and into the bush with their family and other members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. They walked 18 miles and survived for several weeks. By the grace of God, they were not found and killed.

The Church provided the people of Sierra Leone with as many items of food, hygiene kits, and used clothing as they could gather. Abie still has the blanket the Church gave her that she used to warm her children and protect them from the mosquitos when they were in the bush.

Now, the blanket is ragged and spotted with holes, but Abie shows it to anyone who visits her home. The blanket is a symbol that “I’m not finished. I’m still alive.”

“That faith, that belief, that hope was within us. Why? Because of this humanitarian gesture that was afforded us,” she says. “We thank the Church of Jesus-Christ of Latter-day Saints. We thank those people who provided that. May God bless them, wherever they are.”

Hear President Henry B. Eyring tell Abie's story in a recent talk, "Is Not This the Fast That I Have Chosen?"

You can be part of the effort to help. Visit giveback.lds.org.

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Transcript

    During the war, it was difficult for us in Sierra Leone.

    Even for us to eat a single meal a day— we can’t get it. The war was at its peak, rebels were killing civilians, no food, the road to Freetown was blocked.

    Thieves came in and break through, take our clothes, clothing away.

    The bodies, the dead bodies, were too much in the street.

    We left our homes and into the bush with my husband and the rest of the children and some members of the Church.

    I say, “God, save me.” So the rebels are holding the AK47, I pass by them. If I had wasted time, I should have been killed. I don’t know what would have happened to my family. I believe Heavenly Father loves me and therefore He was trying to show me a way, a light, for me to escape. My children, at that time we walk eighteen miles inside the bush. Then we were able to survive for the one week, two weeks, we are there.

    So whenever I have important visitors, this is what I will show to them. That I’m not finished. I’m still alive. When the rebels come to attack us, this blanket kept us warm, me and my children. You know, we have mosquitos in the bush so when we take blankets along with us it will keep us warm and keep the mosquitos away from us. This is the blanket from the Church.

    The Church provided us food, hygiene kits, and clothing, used clothing. This shirt is the last of all the clothing I had from the Church. I didn’t take it out from my box immediately, until after the war. I used to wear it to go to work. It was so good. So I used to buy either blue skirt or white skirt so that to match. I didn’t have other clothes, but I managed with it. And each time I wear it, I look so presented, presentable.

    Sometimes I walk twenty miles to go and do deliveries when they call me, and I walk to come back. When a mother holds a healthy baby, she feels so great, she feels good. Just imagine when a woman goes to give birth, that baby is precious. In resuscitating a baby, we used to use our mouth. But now when the training came up, we found out that it was bad and it was even hazardous to us. It was a way of cross infection; it was a way of losing even our lives and getting our health at risk.  When the LDS Church came to do the resuscitation training, it was a great thing in our lives. After the training, immediately after the training, when I came home I had a delivery here. It was difficult, but now I use the resuscitation training method to do my delivery and the baby came out well. The relatives shouted for joy, and I praised God. The mother woke up, got up from the bed and grabbed me, “Thank you, Nurse.”

    To do this work, as a result He saved me from all other calamities. People were killed. The question was, why was I not killed? Why I never lost any one of my children? I know that the Lord loves me.

    And so that faith, that belief, that hope was within us. Why? Because of this humanitarian gesture that was afforded us.

    They have followed the example of our Savior, Jesus Christ, because, they have led us the same way the Savior led His children, with love.

    We thank The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, we thank those people who provided that, may God bless them wherever they are.