Lutheran Malaria Initiative

An initiative to educate U.S. Lutherans about malaria, advocate for global health initiatives, and raise funds to help combat malaria

Warm welcome in Malawi

Posted on November 12, 2009 by Len Mason

Children. Hundreds of children. Dozens of children. Swarming around our vehicles when we arrived to see their school, or came to a feeding station where they were eating. Children. Laughing and dancing; singing and staring; delighting in having their pictures taken. Children. Soft hands tucked into ours as we walk from place to place. Curious; bright; beautiful children. We got to meet a great number of Malawi’s children the last 2 days. Visiting schools run by the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Malawi. (ELCM) Visiting feeding sites for AIDS orphans and their Guardians in remote areas of Malawi.

Jesus said to let the children come to him because theirs is the Kingdom of God. I thought of his words as I walked thru the villages some of these children live in; as I observed them receiving their one meal of the day at a feeding center – porridge, cooked in a large cauldron over an open fire. Or as they squeezed together in a small classroom and the headmaster explained that this class of 2nd graders has an enrollment of 280, with one teacher. The whole school (elementary level) has an enrollment of more than 600, and 5 teachers. Or when the Bishop of the ELCM, Josef Bvumbwe, told us how he often feels their foreheads or faces when he visits the more remote areas of his church. Like any parent knows, he is checking for fever, and he tells us that usually indicates the child has malaria.

Our group has been touched by children these last few days in Malawi, and has had the truth of Jesus’ words brought to life….theirs is the kingdom of God. I am grateful, again, for the role the ELCA will play in the Lutheran Malaria Initiative (LMI) as it helps churches like ELCM fight malaria. I’m grateful again for the ministry of the ELCA around HIV and AIDS, alongside partners like ELCM. Mostly, I’m grateful these days for children, God’s children, who….in spite of everything I might see as struggle in their lives….laugh and sing, dance and pose.

Andrea

Andrea DeGroot-Nesdahl, Coordinator for the Lutheran Malaria Initiative

Sunday in South Africa

Posted on November 9, 2009 by LMI blog

The four global travelers on this trip related to Lutheran Malaria Initiative (LMI) and the HIV and AIDS Strategy landed safely in Johannesburg last evening (Saturday).  Lita Johnson, Benyam Kassahun, Louis Dorvilier, and myself were warmly welcomed by ELCA GM staff, Pr Phil Knutson, and brought to our accomodations here at the LUCSA (Lutheran Union of South African churches) facilities. 

This morning we worshiped with a Lutheran congregation in Soweto, and were treated to a wonderful lunch after.  We were accompanied at worship by Bishop Ambrose Moyo, Executive Director of LUCSA, and Central Diocese Bishop Phaswana.  In greeting the congregation during the service I was particularly interested to hear Bishop Phaswana speak about a recent conference on HIV and AIDS which he attended in Nairobi, Kenya, and the enthusiasm he has for telling his members to know their status, a theme which was echoed by Bishop Moyo in his greeting.  Both of them were grateful for the partnership of the ELCA’s Conference of Bishops in their decision to be tested during their March, 2009, meeting, as well.

Both Bishops also stressed the importance of precautions around malaria, which isn’t as critical in this immedicate area as it will be in Malawi where we travel tomorrow.

A visit to the Apartheid Museum left us all quiet and reflective this afternoon.  Powerfully presented information about such a significant movement and piece of who South Africans are today.  Hopefully, we’ll share more about that later.

Thanks for your prayer support.

Andrea

Andrea DeGroot-Nesdahl, Coordinator for the Lutheran Malaria Initiative