I like to say that the ELCA Malaria Campaign is a wonderful opportunity for ELCA members to walk alongside our Lutheran sisters and brothers in Africa as they prepare and implement life-saving malaria programs–in other words, to practice accompaniment.
For the most part, the “walking alongside of each other” that I’m talking about is metaphorical. We pray for each other. We learn from each other and tell stories about each other. ELCA members donate money to fund malaria programs, and African Lutherans use those funds diligently to educate, treat, prevent, and save lives. It’s a relationship that brings concrete results– but the “accompaniment” part can sometimes feel a bit… abstract.
Well, here’s one opportunity for some more literal “accompaniment.”
ELCA Global Mission is now offering a new short-term volunteer opportunity for medical professionals. The Lutheran Global Health Volunteer program is a new initiative that matches ELCA health care professionals with short-term medical mission opportunities with our companions across the world. The opportunity can be for practicing or retired health care professionals who want to serve in the areas of health education and medical services. Most assignments will last between one and three months.
As the program begins, volunteers will be matched with opportunities in Liberia, India and Tanzania. We hope that the Lutheran Global Health Volunteer program will become wildly popular– and then the program could grow to include other companions in other countries.
Now I don’t know whether any of these opportunities might involve malaria education or treatment– but I do know that people who support the ELCA Malaria Campaign also care deeply about the effects of extreme poverty, and HIV and AIDS, and tuberculosis, and diarrheal diseases, and maternal health, and other health concerns that impact the lives of God’s people all over the world.
If you’re interested in becoming a Lutheran Global Health Volunteer, you can apply through the ELCA Job Board.
P.S. God does not call everyone to travel internationally to practice accompaniment! Donating to the ELCA Malaria Campaign is an effective and concrete way to support the efforts of our Lutheran companions in Africa whose malaria programs are making a huge impact in rural communities.