When the ELCA Malaria Campaign was launched to the whole church in 2011, 2015 was a distant, far-off year and difficult to imagine. $15 million was a goal that seemed just as far away. It’s hard to believe that 2016 is here, and that we have successfully reached the other side of both of those goals. Now, 2015 is a memory and $15 million is a milestone that we celebrated months ago!
It all seemed to pass by quickly, but we know that in between the campaign’s start and the campaign’s end was a lot of hard work by a lot of dedicated people. There were many things that we enjoyed about working on the ELCA Malaria Campaign, but seeing the creative, meaningful response of ELCA congregations ranks high on the list. Watching the support from the ELCA grow and the number of malaria deaths fall has been an amazing thing to witness. And we know that ELCA Lutherans were not the only ones working hard against the scourge of malaria. Across the ocean, our Lutheran companions in Africa were implementing prevention, education, treatment and sustainable livelihoods programs because of the direct support of the ELCA.
Your support is bringing about lasting change. Friends, thanks to you and millions of other activists around the globe, malaria is on its way out! Deaths rates today are 60% lower than they were at the turn of this century. The Millennium Development Goal around malaria has been met “convincingly.” Lutheran programs alone have brought hope and health to more than 2 million lives. The tables have turned!
But of course, the story is not over. Until malaria is a distant memory, we will continue to work with our companions in Africa and in other malaria-prone areas to rid communities of the scourge and uplift households and families. Through the good work of ELCA World Hunger, our sisters and brothers at home and abroad will continue to address malaria, HIV and AIDS, tuberculosis and other diseases of poverty, as well as issues of gender justice, water, human rights and hunger.
If you haven’t already begun, we urge you to consider supporting ELCA World Hunger and the life-changing work it does in more than 60 countries.
Thank you for working for health and wholeness for all of God’s children. Thank you for naming suffering as contrary to God’s will and working to correct injustice. Thank you for joining us and our companions as we work together to make malaria history! It has been a joy to work with you. We have the best volunteers in the ELCA, and your creativity, passion and prayerful support never cease to amaze us. Thanks for making this campaign something truly life-giving for our church, companions and partners.
Allison Beebe and Jessica Nipp Hacker