In May, the Synod’s Malaria Campaign was kicked off to rousing success at the Synod Assembly. We read the heart-breaking and also hopeful words of the “Story People” affected by malaria that were on the tables at each place setting. We celebrated the fact that even before we officially launched the campaign that day, we had already raised $25,000.
Then we heard the announcements from “First Responder” congregations of monies they had raised. After the “First Responder” announcements and the offerings for malaria, as we tallied their gifts, the assembly rose to their feet in applause as we announced a new total of $115,000.
What a wonderful, grace-filled, generous response toward our goal of $150,000, and the ELCA goal of $15,000,000 by 2015! What an awesome start toward “Making Malaria History.”
But we cannot stop here.
Our Synod has the vision and the capacity to go beyond our goal of $150,000. Many congregations are still planning creative ways to get everybody involved in events to raise money to eradicate this deadly but preventable and curable disease that devastates so many people in so many countries. Our Synod’s funds will go to our sisters and brothers in our companion Synod in the Central African Republic. So far, over one-third of our congregations have responded to the call to prevent and eradicate malaria. Every congregation can do something, even if it is to purchase one mosquito net or provide enough medicine for a family.
What will your congregation commit to in this history-making effort? There are many resources available on our Gulf Coast Synod website, as well as on the ELCA website, to help you plan your congregation’s malaria campaign, and information about donating.
The July issue of “The Lutheran” magazine told of a Lutheran congregation that raised money to buy bed nets after learning that “one child under the age of 5 dies from malaria every 45 seconds in Sub-Saharan Africa.” During a one-hour worship service, 80 children die in Africa from malaria-infected mosquitoes. This congregation involved the youth who worked for tips one Sunday. Members, the community and other congregations were invited to a carnival. For the holidays, the kids made gift certificate cards for people who wished to “gift” a mosquito net in someone’s name for $10. They also made wire mosquitoes as garden sculptures and sold them for $10.
On August 25th, Grace Lutheran Church, Houston in our synod is hosting a “Dragnet” themed dinner and variety show with performers from the congregation and its colorful Montrose neighborhood to raise money for mosquito nets. All are welcome, so call and make your reservations. The ideas are endless. What ideas do you and your congregations have?
We can all be God’s hands in this endeavor. This is what the Synod’s Malaria Campaign Committee is asking of all of us:
- Pray with all your heart and without ceasing for the health and well-being of all the world and our work to stop deaths from malaria.
- Learn more about malaria, the ELCA Campaign and how you can help.
- Access the ELCA.org/malaria website where you will find a host of resources.
- Check out the Synod website to follow our progress in the campaign, to read how other congregations are being creative in raising funds, and to learn of other resources as they become available.
- Go to the World Health Organization website to understand more about the transmission, symptoms, risk factors, treatments, diagnosis and prevention of malaria.
- Call on any of the Synod’s Malaria Campaign committee members for additional resources or with questions.
- Take a stand to help end malaria.
- Give your offerings by donating through the Synod website or to the ELCA directly.
- Work within your congregation to develop a program or event to raise awareness and funds for this campaign.
- Promote what our dollars can do:
- $10 provides an insecticide-treated mosquito net and education to protect a family from malaria.
- $50 provides enough medicine to treat 25 people infected with malaria.
- $100 trains a village health team to help treat and prevent malaria in their community.
- $250 provides enough medicine to prevent 125 women and their babies from contracting malaria during pregnancy.
God’s work—our hands. Let’s change history together! Let’s fill the world with hope!
The Gulf Coast Synod Malaria Campaign Committee: Vonda Drees, Pastor Emmanuel Jackson, Pastor Jennie Jones, Jan Ruppel, Charles Short, members.
Judy Biffle and Terry Richter, Co-chairs
Peggy Hahn, Synod Staff.
Malaria is the leading cause of death in Africa, but it shouldn’t be! Show the new ELCA Malaria Campaign video in your congregation and learn more about how our church is working to contain this preventable, treatable disease.