At the beginning of the fund-raising effort, mosquitoes "swarm" the sanctuary at Zion Lutheran Church, Marinette, WI.

800,000 people die every year of malaria. That’s more than 2,000 a day.

I’m proud to that our church– ELCA members, congregations and synods– is working together to overcome this devastating disease, and I wanted to share a story of one of the congregations that has done a great job raising awareness and raising funds for the ELCA Malaria Campaign.

Zion Lutheran Church in Marinette, WI started with some modest goals: to educate their congregation about the global realities of malaria and how they could help, and to raise $2,000 for ELCA Malaria Campaign projects in Africa.

Zion’s pastor, Keith Kolstad, had previously taken a sabbatical to Tanzania, where he experienced first-hand the devastating effects of malaria. One of the pastors he worked with, the chaplain at the cathedral in Dar Es Salaam, lost his 18-month-old daughter to malaria while Pr. Kolstad was there. Fueled by the certainty that even one such death is too many, the congregation at Zion got to work.

The congregation’s $2,000 goal was represented by two thousand mosquito symbols that were hung from the sanctuary ceiling.  The plan was to “rid” the building of one mosquito for each dollar that members and friends of Zion Lutheran Church contributed to the ELCA Malaria Campaign.

Well, the mosquitoes at Zion Lutheran Church have been eradicated, and then some.  Zion’s members responded to a critical need by giving $17,296.85… more than 8 times their goal! I’m inspired by the creativity and generosity of Zion’s members. I hope you will be, too.

~Jessica Nipp, ELCA Malaria Campaign