‘Worth Laying Down Your Life’: The Missionary Adventures of Rick Sacra
JANUARY 28, 2019 | Sarah Eekhoff Zylstra
Medical missionary Rick Sacra has been evacuated three times—all from the same place.
He’s spent a career at a mission hospital in Liberia, leaving when he’s in physical danger and then returning again and again—after civil war, political unrest, and Ebola epidemics.
If you ask why he keeps going back, he’ll laugh and tell you he’s stubborn.
But it’s more than that.
Rick and Debbie Sacra / Courtesy of Debbie Sacra
“When something happens to the people you love—as hard as it is to be right there with them, it’s even worse to be far away feeling helpless,” fellow missionary and longtime friend Dave Decker said.
It’s the emotion you feel when your child gets sick at school, or your sister in another city gets into a car accident. It’s how you felt if you were out of the country when the planes hit the World Trade Center. It’s what made Bonhoeffer return to Germany, what made Gandhi head back to India.
It’s like that, but not quite. Because Rick was born near Boston. He went to college in Rhode Island and medical school back in Massachusetts. He married a girl from Florida. If anything, his home was on the East Coast.
“During the war, when ELWA Hospital had to close temporarily, the Sacras followed the Liberian refugees to Côte d’Ivoire and ministered to them,” said fellow medical missionary Jon Fielder. Fielder’s organization, African Mission Healthcare, awarded Sacra the Gerson L’Chaim Prize for Outstanding Christian Medical Service this past October…
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