Review: Called for Life- How Loving Our Neighbor Led Us into the Heart of the Ebola Epidemic

I remember when the Ebola outbreak began. I’d visit CNN daily to learn about the updates on the situation, as well as any news about Americans catching this awful, awful disease. I remember hearing about Kent Brantly, the American doctor who contracted Ebola while working in Liberia– how he was flown to the United States for treatment- and how scared some people were. I didn’t quite understand the fear at the time because I didnt really quite understand the disease. It wasn’t until we had a scare here in Madison that I understood why people might feel nervous about a person in their city having Ebola. For a few days the city awaited the test results of a person suspected to have Ebola in a nearby hospital. At the time Jake was using public transportation everyday, and we talked about what we’d do if Madison experienced an outbreak (which, in case you want to know, was to go to one of our hometowns to ride it out in the rural countryside ;)). We let out a collective sigh upon hearing the test was negative.


Perhaps my mild obsession with this worldwide event made this book, Called for Life, an I-can’t-put-this-down-even-to-eat-or-sleep kind of book. Written by Kent and Amber Brantly themselves, it’s a riveting story of how this couple ended up in Liberia, their experience while they were there, and also what battling this awful disease looked like.

While it’s not the most amazingly written story, it’s content is enough to hold a reader’s undivided attention from start to finish. Throughout the book, the perspective shifts back and forth between Kent and Amber, helping the reader to experience what life looked like for both of them.

Towards the end of the book, Kent shares very briefly about life post-Ebola. Obviously it hasn’t been very long since all of this happened; the section is short. But he did share this, which I thought was so honest, and also really reflects his humility throughout the whole book:

Honestly, I wrestle with the theology of my recovery sometimes. I am convinced that there is nothing special about me that would persuade God to save my life while others are dying. I will never claim that my faith must have been in some way superior to the faith of the masses that died in West Africa. I do not believe that the survival of one person and the death of another indicates anything about the worth or faithfulness or merit of either person. I also have a hard time believing, as many might say, that God had every detail of this experience planned out ahead of time.

I do not claim to know how God works. But this I do know: I was facing death, and now I am live.” (211)

He doesn’t to tie a pretty bow on it all, but instead just shares his story and what he learned throughout all of this- that his life comes with responsibility and that he wants to use it in a way that shows his love for God and love for neighbor.

The book is coming out on July 21st, but you can preorder on Amazon!


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