News + Events

FHU Benefit Dinner Guests Hear Doctor's Story of Faithfulness

Henderson, Tenn. - Dec 05, 2015

"I don’t wish I hadn't gotten sick," Dr. Kent Brantly told a group of Freed-Hardeman University students Friday, Dec. 4, prior to the school's 51st Annual Benefit Dinner, "because of what I’ve seen God do." He visited with approximately 50 selected students for a question and answer session before sharing his story with guests at the dinner.

Brantly survived the often deadly disease he had contracted while working as a medical missionary in Liberia. He was flown back to Atlanta’s Emory Hospital where he became the first person in America to be treated for Ebola. Weeks later he was declared Ebola-free. He said he did not regret being in the circumstances he found himself in, because he knew he was doing what God had called him to do. Leaving the people he had gone to Liberia to help when they were most in need was not an option, he said. "I do wish I could have been there May 3 when Liberia was declared Ebola-free," he said.

After he was diagnosed with Ebola, Brantly told dinner guests, "I prayed 'God help me' many times, because I didn't know what else to say." He recalled thinking about the biblical story of Shadrach, Meshac and Abednego, three Jewish youths thrown into the fiery furnace by King Nebuchadnezzar. According to Daniel 3:17-18, they told the king, "… the God we serve is able to deliver us … but even if he does not, we want you to know, Your Majesty, that we will not serve your gods or worship the image of gold you have set up."

"I knew God could save me, he said, but even if he didn't, I wanted to be faithful even to the end," he said. "I'll never know how much of my cure was due to ZMapp (an experimental drug), or to the care I received, or to the effect of prayer."

Declaring himself profoundly grateful for what God has done in his life, Brantly said, "I wish every day I woke up with the reality of thinking, 'I'm alive because God loves me.'"

Although he his tired of being in the public eye, "I never get tired of recounting what God has done in my life," he said. "I'm alive and God expects something from me."

The evening's program featured an interview with Brantly conducted by Jackson's Steve Bowers. An FHU alumnus, Bowers is the media manager at Jackson Energy Authority and a talk show host at 101.5 FM WNWS News Talk Radio.

FHU’s University Chorale, directed by Dr. Gary McKnight, entertained prior to the interview. They sang a selection of American folk songs, African folk songs, spirituals and selections from musical theater.

For the 15th consecutive year, the dinner raised in excess of $1 million for scholarships at FHU.