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FORT WORTH, Texas — Dr. Kent Brantly sat on his counselor’s couch and wept.
The tears came last summer as the Christian physician visited with Dottie Schulz, a missionary care volunteer with Texas-based Mission Resource Network, which is associated with Churches of Christ.
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“Dottie, I think I’m ready to move forward,” confided Brantly, who made global headlines five years ago when he contracted the Ebola virus while treating patients in Liberia and nearly died.
Brantly, who earned a Bible degree from Abilene Christian University in Texas before deciding to become a doctor, always knew he wanted to return to the mission field. But while he regained his full physical strength within four to five months, other healing has taken longer.
“It’s been five years of emotional healing and spiritual healing and growth,” the doctor, 38, told The Christian Chronicle in an interview at the Southside Church of Christ in Fort Worth, his family’s home congregation for much of the last decade. “I think we’ve grown and been equipped in ways during this five years that we were not before we went to Liberia.”
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A week or two after his meeting with Schulz, Brantly got a call from Dr. Lance Plyler, director of World Medical Mission, the medical arm of the evangelical humanitarian aid organization Samaritan’s Purse.
On July 26, 2014, Plyler had stood at Brantly’s bedroom window in Liberia and confirmed the worst: “Kent, bud. We got your test results. And I’m really sorry to tell you it is positive for Ebola.”
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Now, Plyler was calling to see if Brantly and his cousin Dr. Stephen Snell — who had talked and dreamed for years about their families serving as medical missionaries together — might move to Zambia.
Plyler cited a need for doctors at Mukinge Mission Hospital, a 200-bed facility in a rural area about 100 miles...
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