2013-12-08-13People of God, saved by grace, we are the ones who call for peace.  We are the ones who work to make it happen. We are the ones who cry for justice and break the cycle of poverty and disease.  I think that our work through the ELCA Malaria Campaign is one of the important ways in which the ELCA, together with our sisters and brothers in Africa, “wages peace.”

~Diaconal Minister and ELCA Malaria Campaign Coordinator, Jessica Nipp Hacker’s sermon at Bethlehem Lutheran Church, Cedar Falls, Iowa.
Bethlehem invited Ms. Hacker to preach and present in recognition of their having doubled their goal and providing two mosquito nets for every baptized member of the congregation, exceeding $12,000.  Bethlehem is one of only two congregations in the ELCA who have given two nets per baptized member.

  “Well, we met our goal of one net per baptized member,” explained Bethlehem Pastor Gary Hedding, “So we decided to just keep going.”

The ELCA Malaria Campaign set the goal of raising $15 million by 2015.  So far we have raised $10 million.

Bishop Ullestad with Malaria pin at 2011 Assembly

Bishop Ullestad with Malaria pin at 2011 Assembly

At the 2011 June Synod Assembly, the Northeastern Iowa Synod agreed to be part of a pilot program for the ELCA Malaria Campaign.  Our goal was to raise $250,000 in three years.  We raised $60,000 by the end of the Assembly.  With 6 months to go we have raised more than $395,000, the third highest total of all the synods in the ELCA.  And congregations are still raising money. 

According to Ms. Hacker, the NE Iowa Synod responded and the campaign in our synod progressed exactly the way they hoped and in fact far exceeded expectations.

Everyone in the synod got on board.  Gifts have come in from congregations, individuals, youth groups, Sunday School and VBS classes and outdoor ministries.   Gifts have come in from all ages from St. Paul’s Lutheran school to Bartel’s Lutheran Retirement Community in Waverly.

Collecting pledges for Malaria Campaign at 2011 Synod Assembly
ELCAELCA colleges and campus ministries have also been involved.  So far $94,000 has been raised from college
ministries.  Of that Wartburg college (in our synod) raised $45,000 through the Wartburg Malaria Initiative.
It has made a difference.  As Jessica Nipp Hacker shares in her presentation:

“Before the program started, people only slept under the nets during rainy seasons when mosquitoes are plenty. But now we all sleep under the nets throughout the year, and this has reduced the number of malaria cases in our village. My son will never go to sleep until he is covered with a mosquito net.” ~ A mother in Zambia

Because of the Lutheran Malaria Program, we now have trained community workers, rapid diagnostic tests and anti-malarial medicines in our village and we treat malaria with the first-line medicines (Coartem) provided by the church
program.” ~ An Elder in Zambia
When we began the campaign, one child died of malaria every 45 seconds.  Now it is one child every 60 seconds.  That is still way too high but it shows we can make a difference.Every gift to the ELCA Malaria Campaign makes a difference. 

 One dollar can purchase a Rapid Diagnostic Test.  And if a patient tests positive for malaria, just $2 can provide a course of medication to help them recover.  That same $2 could also purchase a dose of medication to help a pregnant woman deliver a healthy and malaria-free baby!
The $10 price point for a net also includes the very necessary education that helps a family know how and why to use a net, and how to take care of it. It also covers the cost of transportation to get the nets to the places where they need to go– which are sometimes very remote villages.
 $100 is enough to train volunteers from a community to diagnose malaria, dispense treatment, and educate communities about malaria prevention and control.  That $100 also includes the equipment that the teams need– for example, bicycles for transportation and megaphones for communication.

 

Every gift counts!!

 

**UPDATE  By June 2014, the Northeastern Iowa Synod raised $441,250 for the ELCA Malaria Campaign.

By Pastor Joelle Colville-Hanson
Director for Evangelical Mission, ELCA

 

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About The Rev. Dr. Joelle Colville-Hanson

The Rev. Dr. Joelle Colville-Hanson has been Director for Evangelical Mission, ELCA for the Northeastern Iowa Synod since late 2013. Part of her job description is to help leaders and congregations use social media and other digital means for outreach and mission. She writes and edits this blog as well as runs the social media accounts for the synod.

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