Called For Life

I recently received an Advance Reading Copy of Called for Life: How Loving Our Neighbor Led Us into the Heart of the Ebola Epidemic by Kent and Amber Brantly (with David Thomas). I was super excited to read this book - I followed Kent's story when it was in the news and prayed for his recovery. I remember watching live on TV, with tears in my eyes, as Kent walked into the hospital in America. I was anxious to hear the whole story surrounding his life as a medical missionary and the inside view of the ebola epidemic from someone who lived it firsthand. The back cover reads:

"“When I knelt next to Teresa on that rainy June night outside our hospital, I told myself that everything was about to change. I had no idea the extent of that truth. But one thing has not changed: our desire to live faithful to God’s calling.”
—Dr. Kent Brantly, in Called for Life

Just months after Dr. Kent Brantly arrived in Liberia with his wife, Amber, and their two children, the Ebola virus erupted in West Africa. Kent and his colleagues began to fight one of the most horrifying, incurable diseases on earth, only to see patient after patient die. Then, after six weeks of intense battle to help others survive, Kent woke up one July morning with a fever. Three days later his diagnosis was confirmed: Ebola.

Kent knew his life was at stake. He also knew Amber, family members, and friends were praying desperately. What he didn’t know was that his case would make international headlines as he was evacuated to Atlanta, becoming the first person with Ebola ever treated in the United States. He didn’t know he would be the center of a media firestorm of debate, questions, and fears. And he didn’t know that his faith would inspire people around the world to trust in a faithful God.

“Kent, bud. We got your test result. And I’m really sorry to tell you that it is positive for Ebola.”
--From the Prologue, Called for Life

Dr. Kent and Amber Brantly moved with their children to war-torn Liberia in the fall of 2013 to provide medical care for people in great need—to help replace hopelessness with hope. When, less than a year later, Kent contracted the deadly Ebola virus, hope became what he and Amber needed too.

When Kent received the diagnosis, he was already alone and in quarantine in the Brantly home in Liberia. Amber and the children had left just days earlier on a trip to the United States. Kent’s personal battle against the horrific Ebola began, and as thousands of people worldwide prayed for his life, a miraculous series of events unfolded.

Called for Life tells the riveting inside story of Kent and Amber’s call to serve their neighbors, as well as Kent’s fight for life with Ebola and Amber’s’ struggle to support him from half-a-world away. Most significantly, Called for Life reminds us of the risk, the honor, and the joy to be known when God and others are served without reservation."

I sat down and read this book basically in one sitting. It was pretty riveting hearing the firsthand account of what I'd been glued to on the news last summer. Kent and Amber tell their story in the first person, alternating back and forth between them. The book itself was very compelling and interesting. I've always been interested in missionary work, medical missions in particular, so it was great learning more about their medical missions work in Liberia. My only complaint about this book is the way the timeline of the story is presented. It jumps back and forth quite a bit, especially in the beginning, and is kind of disjointed and confusing until the story really gets going. Also, I would have loved a photo section - although I received a paperback ARC, so there may be a photo section in the final print hardcover edition. Otherwise, this was an excellent book. I highly recommend it to anyone who followed the ebola outbreak and wants to learn more about it. Kent and his family's sacrifices and challenges encouraged me. It was wonderful reading about someone who lives their faith out so boldly.

I received an ARC of this book from Blogging For Books in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.


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