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    Make Malaria History

    Agrippa: One baby who will live

    Posted on April 30, 2012 by jessicanipp

    The ELCA has wonderful missionaries all over the world, walking and working alongside our Lutheran sisters and brothers in the global church.

    Last week, we heard the story of Delila and Walter Weind, missionaries in Liberia after World War II. Their lives among their Liberian friends included many personal experiences with malaria.  Delila and Walter’s stories shaped not only the rest of their lives, but the lives of their children and grandchildren as well, and the lives of many other people whom they touched.  Delila’s granddaughter wrote this moving tribute to a strong and resourceful woman of great faith, a woman with many malaria stories to share.  

    Today we have the opportunity to read another story about malaria and missionaries. This story is written by Pastor Deborah Troester, an ELCA Missionary in Baboua, Central African Republic. Pastor Deborah teaches at the Theological School in Baboua. Her husband Joe serves as technical advisor for PASE, which provides safe drinking water and promotes good hygiene and sanitation to villagers. Their daughter, Christa, attends ninth grade at Rain Forest International School in Yaoundé, Cameroon.

    In this moving blog post, Pastor Deborah shares the story of a toddler named Agrippa, who had been sick with malaria for much of his young life. She writes, “Fortunately, his mother took him to the Emmanuel Health Center, a project of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of the CAR, with sponsorship from the ELCA, Global Health Ministries, Lutheran Partners in Global Mission and other donors. There Agrippa received a life-saving blood transfusion, and treatment to kill the remaining parasites in his blood.”

    Although the ELCA Malaria Campaign has not yet reached its full intensity in the Central Africa Republic, you can see that great anti-malaria work is already being done in partnership with our Lutheran companions there.  (Imagine the impact when the malaria work is fully implemented!)

    Agrippa was lucky that he made it to a clinic in time.  According to Pastor Deborah, ”Many children here in CAR aren’t as lucky.  They live in small villages with no medical facilities, and no one to take their photos or to hear their stories.  I happen to know about Agrippa because his father and mother are my students at the Lutheran seminary here in Baboua.  In a country where thousands of babies and children die needlessly every year, it’s nice to know of one baby who will live. Please consider helping with the ELCA Malaria Campaign.”

    Many, many thanks to Pastor Deborah Troester for sharing the story of one young boy named Agrippa, and for the great work that she and her family are doing in the Central African Republic.

    Good Health, Near and Far: A Successful Lenten Campaign

    Posted on April 26, 2012 by allisonbeebe

    Members of St. John Lutheran Church in Dickinson, North Dakota worked out for malaria during Lent! They logged the minutes that they exercised to benefit the ELCA Malaria Campaign. Their plan was to donate funds for one malaria net for every 2,000 minutes exercised. 

    89,654 minutes of exercise later, St. John’s efforts have contributed enough for 45 nets. What an active bunch!

    They kept track of minutes and updated members on their progress midway through Lent. The minutes were posted on their Commons Area bulletin board so everyone could see. 

    There was more to their effort than jogging and jumping jacks. During a Sunday adult forum, a speaker from Africa spoke about how malaria had affected his life growing up.  Members were given information about malaria during worship announcements and ELCA Malaria Campaign brochures were available outside of the sanctuary. They even displayed a bed net over a baby crib in the corner of the sanctuary!

    Thanks, St. John Lutheran! Your efforts encourage good health in communities near and far!

    Advocate for continued malaria funding!

    Posted on April 25, 2012 by jessicanipp

     

     

     

     

     

     

    Click here to take action now!

    As part of our World Malaria Day celebration, we’re pleased to share an advocacy opportunity with you. The ELCA Advocacy Office in Washington, D.C. has prepared this advocacy alert about malaria, entitled “Don’t let Congress Change Course on the Fight Against Malaria.”  The alert says, in part:

    The world loses 650,000 people to malaria every year, including a child who dies of malaria every 45 seconds.  Any funding reductions to U.S. global health programs would undermine and counteract a decade of U.S. leadership in a global fight that has saved millions of lives. 

    The ELCA Malaria Campaign cannot work in isolation. The world will only achieve a global goal of zero malaria deaths if the United States increases support for programs that fight malaria.

    World Malaria Day 2012 represents an important moment  in our global fight to eliminate malaria. Whether the number of lives claimed by malaria will continue to shrink or begin  to grow again depends upon the United States’ continued investment in treating, controlling, and eliminating the malaria parasite.

    Click here for more information, and to tell your Senators and Representatives to maintain robust U.S. funding for programs that help fight malaria.

     

    World Malaria Day: Celebrating a living faith

    Posted on April 24, 2012 by jessicanipp

    We are grateful to Pastor Tracy Paschke-Johannes of Holy Trinity Lutheran Church in Muncie, IN for the story that we’re sharing with you today. It’s the story of her grandparents (Lutheran missionaries in Liberia) and her mother, who contracted malaria while she was just a baby living in Liberia. And it’s the story a of living faith that transcends war and even death.  Many thanks to Pastor Tracy for sharing this inspiring story with us for World Malaria Day!

    Pastor Tracy writes:

    Walter and Delila Weind at their 1945 wedding, just weeks before embarking on their missionary journey.

    “Rev. Walter T. and Delila Weind were missionaries to Liberia from 1945-1953 and worked in Za Za, Liberia.  During this time, Delila worked as a teacher, helping children learn to read, while Walter worked as a pastor.  His work included translating the Bible from English into the written Pele language. This was the first time the people of this region had received the Holy Scripture in written form in their native language.  The couple was newly married, and, after they received missionary training in New York City as World War II drew to a close, they traveled to Liberia via ship.  During their eight years of ministry in Liberia, the couple welcomed three children, including my mother.  Delila delivered her children with the help of a midwife in a small, unlit hut with no running water. 

    “My mother developed malaria as a baby in Liberia and they were unsure she would survive.  My grandmother often talked about their fear for the baby’s life.  I am certain she had many Liberian friends who buried children who died of malaria.  Delila spoke of watching her small daughter suffering from fever and pain as a result of malaria.  Despite these struggles, both my grandparents spoke with joy as they shared stories of their years in Liberia.  They loved the people, the culture, and most importantly, their shared faith.  The family returned to Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada, where my grandfather served Christ Lutheran Church for 30 years and Delila continued working as an elementary school teacher.

    “After their return to Canada, Delila and Walter watched on television as civil war and conflict took over Liberia.  While I can’t confirm, I believe they thought that the church they built was destroyed, and they feared that all the people with whom they shared ministry were killed in the conflict.  When I asked my grandfather if he was still in contact with anyone from Liberia, he sadly and simply answered, “they are all dead.”  I believe they may have felt their work and the church they helped to build were leveled, and the children they helped educate were dead.  There was a deep, unspoken grief for my grandfather at the end of his life, believing their work had been undone.

    In a more recent photo, Delila delights in her great-granddaughter.

    “But God wasn’t done—the faith of the Liberian people, a faith that my grandparents helped to nurture, was alive amid the ruins of civil war.  In the early 2000s, it was the faithful women of Liberia who worked to bring peace to the country.  When my grandmother watched these events unfold on television, she said ‘Perhaps our work wasn’t all undone.  Maybe it did indeed make a difference.’

    “Today, you are working to bring an end to malaria in Liberia, and I believe the best way to honor my grandmother is through a contribution to your efforts.  She is connected to this program—as a woman who helped share the Gospel in Liberia and as a mother who watched her daughter suffer from this disease.  And now, as she is joined the company of the saints–those glorious Liberian saints, who by faith, built churches and then, when civil war broke out, were taken into those same churches and killed.  Delila is now joined with these faithful saints.

    “We give thanks to the saints on earth who will carry on the work she began 60 years ago.  Work that will bring an end to the suffering and death of children in a country she loved so dearly. 

    “May God bless you in your work.  To God be given all honor and glory.

    “For All the Saints, who from their labor rest….”

    (Delila Weind died on April 21, 2012. This story honors her remarkable life.)

    Malaria: It’s personal for this pastor

    Posted on April 23, 2012 by jessicanipp

    Last year, this blog featured a guest post by  the Rev. Olin Sletto, who is currently an ELCA pastor in Elgin, IL and was formerly a missionary in Africa. In that post, he wrote passionately about his personal connection to malaria and his passion for supporting the ELCA Malaria Campaign.

    Now Pastor Sletto’s story has made the news! In this article from the Trib Local in Elgin, Pastor Sletto and his wife Connie relate some of their very personal experiences with malaria that have led them to become supporters of malaria work in general and the ELCA Malaria Campaign in particular.

    Many thanks to Connie and Pastor Olin Sletto for their advocacy of the ELCA Malaria Campaign, and for alerting us to the news article.

    I encourage each of you to read the great article about the Sletto family… and to be newsworthy in your own contexts!

    Now.

    Posted on April 19, 2012 by jessicanipp

    On the front of our ELCA Malaria Campaign brochure, it says “Preventable. Treatable. Now.”  To me, those are three of the most compelling words to describe the work the ELCA Malaria Campaign is doing together with our Lutheran companions in Africa.

    Malaria is preventable and treatable, and so together we’re going to prevent and treat it. And then there’s that third word– Now.  Increasingly, urgently, desperately, the time is now.

    The time is now because even after a lot of progress, up to 800,000 people in this world die every year of malaria.

    The time is now because malaria continues to rob our sisters and brothers of health and productivity, intensifying the cycle of poverty.

    And the time is now because of this. And this. And thousands of other news articles that have cropped up in the past couple of weeks, reporting the alarming news that the resistance to malaria drugs that had been noted in 2009 in Cambodia has now spread to Burma and Thailand.  Right now, drug therapies called “artemisinin-based combination therapies” (ACTs) are the front-line drug for fighting malaria in many parts of the world, including sub-Saharan Africa. (And by “front-line drug” I really mean “the only good option we’ve got.”)  And now the efficacy of this treatment is being stripped away by the growing resistance in Southeast Asia.

    How long before it gets to Africa?

    Ninety percent of malaria deaths each year occur in sub-Saharan Africa. That’s because of a deadly one-two punch that malaria has engineered on that continent: a combination of the most deadly strain of malaria (Plasmodium falciparum) and high rates of poverty and malnutrition, which lower people’s immunity and make them much more vulnerable to the parasite.

    It’s a race to the finish line. Can the global anti-malaria community eliminate malaria in Africa before the drug-resistant strains arrive to claim even more lives?

    I think we can. Lutherans in the United States are extremely generous people. When Hurricane Katrina ravaged the Gulf Coast in 2005, ELCA Disaster Response was able to distribute $28 million in aid from generous Lutherans.  After the earthquake, we did $12 million worth of good in Haiti because ELCA members responded. And each year, faithful folks donate about $20 million to help ELCA World Hunger fund sustainable and long-term programs to help households and communities lift themselves out of poverty. When there’s an urgent need in the world, ELCA Lutherans respond with generous hearts.

    Well, church, here’s a need. Malaria is a global health disaster. Hand in hand with our Lutheran sisters and brothers in Africa, we can act now to mitigate the death threat that malaria issues to African communities. We can roll up our sleeves (and get out our checkbooks) and get to work. The time is now.

    First Lutheran keeps on swatting!

    Posted on April 18, 2012 by jessicanipp

    Several weeks ago, we brought you a story from First Lutheran Church in Greensboro, North Carolina, about their “Amazing Race of Grace” project to raise money for the ELCA Malaria Campaign.  It was a great success, with about 60 (intergenerational!) participants.

    First Lutheran had another great idea, as well: they created a bulletin board inside the fellowship hall to encourage and keep track of fundraising progress for the ELCA Malaria Campaign. They called it the “Swat Malaria!” project. For each $10 donated, a colorful mosquito was added to the bulletin board– with the donor’s name written on it. The growing mosquito community represented the ever-increasing amount of funds raised for the campaign. (If you look carefully, you can see the flyswatters hanging on both sides of the bulletin board– so we know that these mosquitoes have been thoroughly swatted!)

    As you can see, the bulletin board became very crowded with “swatted” mosquitoes that represented the generosity of the First Lutheran congregation. We’re grateful for their generosity, and for their willingness to share their ideas with you!

    Do you have a great story to share? We’d love to feature it on this blog! Email the story (along with a fabulous photo or two) to jessica.nipp@elca.org.

    Thank you, First Lutheran Church in Greensboro, North Carolina!

    World Malaria Day resources

    Posted on April 16, 2012 by jessicanipp

    Get your World Malaria Day toolkit here!

    World Malaria Day is next Wednesday, April 25th!

    The ELCA Malaria Campaign encourages you to designate April 29th as a “Malaria Sunday” in your congregation. We have a lot of resources available to help you put together a commemoration of the lives that are lost each year to malaria, and a celebration of the hope that is inspired as people all over the world work together to eliminate malaria.

    As World Malaria Day draws ever clsoer, we have a new resource to share with you. You can sign up here to download a toolkit from the advocacy organization ONE. The toolkit can be tailored to your denomination– in our case, the ELCA.  It provides useful information that can help you “shine a light on malaria” in our world, and also offers ideas for how to do effective fundraising in your congregation.

    The toolkit was developed by two Faiths Act Fellows at ONE, Adeela Tajdar and Carolyn Worthge. Their goal was to inspire communities of faith to support faith-based anti-malaria initiatives, such as the ELCA Malaria Campaign. We’re grateful to Adeela and Carolyn for their hard work on behalf of the ELCA Malaria Campaign!

    You can also download additional World Malaria Day materials from the ELCA Malaria Campaign here.

    A rebuke of cosmic proportions

    Posted on April 10, 2012 by jessicanipp

    Easter Greetings from the ELCA Malaria Campaign– He is Risen! Alleluia!

    I wanted to share with you a short devotion on an even shorter biblical passage, Luke 4:38-39.

    After leaving the synagogue he entered Simon’s house. Now Simon’s mother-in-law was suffering from a high fever, and they asked [Jesus] about her.  Then he stood over her and rebuked the fever, and it left her.

    At the ELCA Malaria Campaign, we’re convinced that the high fever displayed by Simon’s mother-in-law was in fact a tell-tale sign that she, like millions of other people over the course of human history, was suffering from malaria.

    And we love Jesus’ response. Instead of merely healing the woman… he rebuked the fever. Rebuke is a strong word in both the Old Testament and the New Testament. In the book of Job, God’s rebuke “astounds” the pillars of heaven, and makes them tremble.  The psalmist declares that God “rebuked the Red Sea, and it became dry.” And in the Gospel of Mark, Jesus “rebuked the wind… then the wind ceased and there was a dead calm.” 

    The rebuke of God astounds the pillars of heaven and dries up the sea. The Word of God causes the wind to be still.  And the voice of God cures a woman of malaria. This is a voice of cosmic proportions.

    We have a powerful voice, too. As the ELCA, we’re over four million strong, and together with our Lutheran sisters and brothers all over the world, we’re that much larger and stronger. Our voice is powerful. Maybe it’s not a voice of cosmic proportions… but it is definitely a global voice.

    We’ve been blessed with abundance. We’ve been blessed with a network of Lutheran companions. And in this little story from Luke, we’ve been blessed to hear God’s powerful, cosmic voice, rebuking malaria, one person at a time.

    And so we too stand together with our risen Lord–rebuking the fever–making malaria history.

    ~Jessica Nipp, ELCA Malaria Campaign