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South Sudan fights growing malaria problem

Watching South Sudan become the newest country in the world was the most exciting event in the history of many people who live in a region that suffered during the 50 years of struggle for freedom.

Lives were lost. Roads, communication networks and property were destroyed. Some estimates say as many as 2.5 million died from starvation and drought.

Today, the new country is now a business hub, attracting traders and customers from the surrounding countries. Organizations, including The United Methodist Church, are participating in transforming the new nation.

South Sudan is supported by the Holston Annual (regional) Conference in the United States through its work with the East Africa Episcopal Area. South Sudan has one district with 18 churches. The membership is 1,680.

Yet in Yei District, the joy of independence seems to dwindle because of a severe malaria outbreak. Heavy rains, bushes, stagnant waters and decomposing waste provide breeding areas for mosquitoes. Health messages hanging on rags on billboards are almost illegible.

“We fought the rebels in the bush and thought it was over. Now there is yet another rebel just inside our houses — around our beds. Mosquitoes have become a menace to our lives,” said Franco Taban Ali, a resident of Ligitoro, one of the villages in the area.A few houses away, 7-year-old Lilly Paya lay helpless with malaria. With no strength even to speak, her eyes gazed dimly as sores covered most of her lips. She had been in bed for three days because of the infection.

Her mother, Besta Awate Faustino, sat beside the bed and called her name, but the child only looked at her without blinking.

“I am perturbed. My husband is in Juba (South Sudan’s capital), and I have no money to buy medicine. I tried to take her to the nearby public hospital but the doctors said there were no malaria drugs,” Faustino said. “She has lost appetite for food, and I am only trying her on water.”

The Rev. Fred Dearing, the South Sudan district superintendent who visited the family, expressed regret. The family belongs to Ligitoro United Methodist Church.

“As a church, we are looking at putting in place preventive measures such as health trainings and networking within the churches to reach out to communities and reduce the rates,” Dearing said.

There are no immediate plans to establish health centers but instead to strengthen the national delivery systems “where we shall do training of trainers on school screening, and distribution of health kits,” Dearing said.

He said that the church in Yei is in need of Volunteers in Mission with special skills in education, pastoral care, health care, agriculture and finance to work with doctors and health board members.

A torn billboard in the Yei District of South Sudan informs passersby of health alerts. View in Photo Gallery

South Sudan has few public hospitals, and the nearest in Lilly’s village of Ligitoro is five miles on a poor road. The committee of the health board includes United Methodist medical missionaries sponsored by the Mission Society, Dr. Lynn and Sharon Fogelman.

Other church programs include the training of traditional birth attendants, sanitation education, nutrition, personal hygiene, construction of latrines and hand wash stations.

“We also encourage mobile clinics to reach out to distant communities. Like now we have a visiting team from Holston Conference, which will be identifying areas of need and go back to their churches in America to share the story and mobilize for funds,” Dearing said.

The team from Holston Conference is led by John Micah LaRoche. The areas of need cut across groups of women, children, youth, elderly, disabled, orphans and vulnerable children, pastors and church in general.

Imagine No Malaria

Every 60 seconds, malaria claims a life in Africa. Millions of lives are needlessly lost each year. Imagine No Malaria is an extraordinary effort of the people of The United Methodist Church, putting faith into action to end preventable deaths by malaria in Africa, especially the death of a child or a mother. Achieving this goal requires an integrated strategy against the disease. As a life-saving ministry, Imagine No Malaria aims to empower the people of Africa to overcome malaria’s burden.

Learn more about Imagine No Malaria.

Pan Africa Summit trains health boards working with malaria

Pan Africa Summit
Pan Africa Summit

Group photo of attendees at the UMCOR Pan-African health conference in Ghana.

Accra, Ghana: Representatives of in-country health boards charged with overseeing governance of malaria programs throughout Africa  gathered last week in Accra, Ghana for the Pan-Africa Summit. The participants, made up of doctors, community health workers, educators and malaria program coordinators received follow-up training in effective program planning, financial management, and best practices for monitoring and evaluation.
The five-day meeting was sponsored by Imagine No Malaria and hosted by the United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR).

The UMCOR health board strategy was established in 2009 as a way to oversee planning and execution, as well as effectively evaluate malaria programs in each of the countries where there is a United Methodist presence. These boards submit grant applications to secure funding from UMCOR and other organizations.

“From the onset of this campaign, we’ve been working to inspire sustainability and local program ownership,” said Shannon Trilli, Director of Global Health Initiatives for UMCOR. “The Pan-Africa Summit gives us an opportunity to follow-up where those grants have been awarded and make sure the health boards have the support and training they need in budgeting, communication and program planning to maximize their effectiveness and ultimately save lives.”

African annual conference health board members are selected based on their skills in finance and accounting, legal and regulatory, medical, community, technology, hospital or clinic management grant writing and represent church interests. They oversee hospitals, clinics and posts, as well as programs such as malaria, nutrition, HIV/AIDS, maternal and child health care, community based primary health care, and other diseases of poverty.

“The people attending this conference are doing work that is critical to saving lives. We hope this conference will empower them to open new doors and make it easier for them to accomplish their work,” said the Rev. Larry Hollon, chief executive of United Methodist Communications.

Hollon noted that in addition to United Methodist Communications and UMCOR, the health boards will be working closely with United Methodist bishops, conference leadership, national and local governments, the General Board of Global Ministries, ecumenical partners and other non-governmental organizations.

Countries that are represented at the Pan-Africa Summit include Angola (west), Democratic Republic of Congo, Uganda, South Sudan, Rwanda, Burundi, Ivory Coast, Liberia, Mozambique, Nigeria, Sierra Leone, Zimbabwe and Malawi. Each country is encouraged to customize their anti-malaria efforts to meet the needs of their own people.

Moving ahead with Imagine No Malaria

by Candace Sindelman

Last Sunday (August 12) Pastor Tom MacLeod gave his sermon at the Sag Harbor Methodist Church just like any other Sunday; however, this  sermon was particularly unique. He spoke to his congregation about the project Imagine No Malaria, a multi-faith effort to eradicate the disease on the continent of Africa by 2015. The United Methodist Church in America is committed to fundraising $75 million and had partnered up with organizations such as the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and the United Nations Foundation.

The organization has already made a huge impact in slowing down the number of deaths caused by the disease. According to, which cited statistics from the World Health Health Organization from its World Malaria Report 2011, malaria claims a life every 60 seconds. Just a few years ago that number was showing every 30 seconds a child died due to the disease. Through prevention, treatment, education and communication, and working with communities to have nets, embedded with a mosquito repellant in the fabric, that hangs from the ceiling and tucked under the bedding of children has helped reduced Malaria’s impact by half.

Though MacLeod notes there is still more work to be done through removing stagnant ponds of water and eliminating drains, providing early treatment is also key in eliminating any residual effects from the disease. MacCleod’s daughter was infected after working for a non-profit organization called Action Against Hunger four years ago when in the Congo,; however, she was fortunate enough to get treatment within 48 hours and does not have the disease any longer.

“It really hit close to home, especially knowing the disease is preventable. I am so blessed my daughter was able to find a hospital and was treated,” MacLeod said.

The Sag Harbor Methodist Church has pledged to raise $20,000 for the cause. MacLeod does the math.

“There are about 8,000 year round residents (in Sag Harbor). If each person contributed 50 cents a year for four years, two dollars approximately, we would meet our goal of $20,000.”MacLeod said. “The trustees have agreed for every two dollars raised they will match it with one dollar.”

MacLeod hopes in bringing the congregation up to speed with what the United Methodist Church is trying to accomplish that it will inspire others to work for the cause in their own homes.

“We are called to a mission of compassion and action and we can make a very visible impact in the world we live in,” said MacLeod who plans on showing a video clip during the service. “I don’t want this to be in the hands of one or two people.”

Instead MacLeod wishes the local effort to expand from the church, to Sag Harbor to all the way to the whole East End.

“It’s more than just taking care of our own needs and instead we are focusing our energies outside of the building,” MacLeod said. “100 percent goes right to the initiative, there is no administrative cost, and contributions from the public are going to be multiplied from the trustees.”

MacLeod admits he is an optimist and sees the challenge in a positive light.

“I don’t see it as an impossibility,” MacLeod said. “This is something we can definitely do; we can meet or exceed our goal. People will see the smallness of what we are asking and see the bigness of what they are doing. That a little bit can have a huge effect and that together we can make this happen and not have it be a burden on anyone.”

As one of the many initiatives to come, The Sag Harbor Methodist Church had its second carwash last Saturday.

From the Sag Harbor Express

U.S. Senate passes malaria resolution

Seminary students from Africa visit members of Congress to ask for renewed Federal support in the fight agaisnt malaria.

Our voices are being heard. On July 11, 2012, the U.S. Senate passes a resolution recognizing the fight against malaria..

[courtesy RBM] US Senate Agrees on New Malaria Resolution Washington DC / Geneva, 11 July 2012 (RBM) – The Senate of the United States of America agreed to a new resolution supporting the goals and ideals of World Malaria Day, including the target of ending malaria deaths by 2015. It reaffirmed US leadership and support for efforts to combat malaria as a critical component of the President’s Global Health Initiative. The resolution commends the progress made toward reducing global malaria prevalence and deaths, particularly through the efforts of the President’s Malaria Initiative and the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis, and Malaria. Recognizing the goals to combat malaria in the Tom Lantos and Henry J. Hyde United States Global Leadership Against HIV/AIDS, Tuberculosis, and Malaria Reauthorization Act of 2008, the Senate encourages members of the international community to sustain and scale up their support for efforts to combat malaria.  The full text of the resolution follows below

RESOLUTION 429 Supporting the goals and ideals of World Malaria Day.
Whereas April 25th of each year is recognized internationally as World Malaria Day; Whereas malaria is a leading cause of death and disease in many developing countries, despite being completely preventable and treatable; Whereas fighting malaria is in the national security interest of the United States Government, as reducing the risk of malaria protects members of the Armed Forces of the United States serving overseas in malaria endemic regions, and reducing malaria deaths helps to promote stability in less developed countries; Whereas, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 35 countries, the majority of which are in sub-Saharan Africa, account for 98 percent of global malaria deaths; Whereas young children and pregnant women are particularly vulnerable to and disproportionately affected by malaria; Whereas malaria greatly affects child health, as children under the age of 5 account for an estimated 85 percent of malaria deaths each year; Whereas malaria poses great risks to maternal health, causing complications during delivery, anemia, and low birth weights, with estimates that malaria infection causes 400,000 cases of severe maternal anemia and between 75,000 and 200,000 infant deaths annually in sub-Saharan Africa; Whereas heightened national, regional, and international efforts to prevent and treat malaria over recent years have made measurable progress and helped save hundreds of thousands of lives; Whereas the World Malaria Report 2011 by the World Health Organization states that in 2011, approximately 50 percent of households in sub-Saharan Africa owned at least 1 insecticide-treated mosquito net (referred to in this preamble as an `ITN’), and household surveys indicated that 96 percent of people with access to an ITN within a household actually used the ITN; Whereas, in 2010, a total of 185,000,000 people were protected by indoor residual spraying (referred to in this preamble as `IRS’); Whereas the World Malaria Report 2011 further states that malaria mortality rates have fallen by more than 25 percent globally, and 33 percent in Africa alone, since 2000; Whereas the World Malaria Report 2011 further states that out of 99 countries with ongoing malaria transmissions, 43 countries recorded decreases of more than 50 percent in the number of malaria cases between 2000 and 2010, and 8 other countries recorded decreases of more than 25 percent; Whereas continued national, regional, and international investment in efforts to eliminate malaria, including prevention and treatment efforts and the development of a vaccine to immunize children from the malaria parasite, is critical in order to continue to reduce malaria deaths, prevent backsliding in areas where progress has been made, and equip the United States and the global community with the tools necessary to fight malaria and other global health threats; Whereas the United States Government has played a leading role in the recent progress made toward reducing the global burden of malaria, particularly through the President’s Malaria Initiative (referred to in this preamble as `PMI’) and the contribution of the United States to the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis, and Malaria; Whereas the United States Government is pursuing a comprehensive approach to ending malaria deaths through PMI, the United States Agency for International Development, the National Institutes of Health, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Department of Defense, and the private sector focused on helping partner countries to achieve major improvements in overall health outcomes through advances in access to, and the quality of, healthcare services in resource-poor settings; and Whereas PMI, recognizing the burden of malaria on many partner countries, has set a target of reducing the burden of malaria by 50 percent for 450,000,000 people, representing 70 percent of the at-risk population in Africa, by 2015: Now, therefore, be it Resolved, That the Senate– (1) supports the goals and ideals of World Malaria Day, including the target of ending malaria deaths by 2015; (2) recognizes the importance of reducing malaria prevalence and deaths to improve overall child and maternal health, especially in sub-Saharan Africa; (3) commends the recent progress made toward reducing global malaria deaths and prevalence, particularly through the efforts of the President’s Malaria Initiative and the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis, and Malaria; (4) strongly supports ongoing public-private partnerships to research and develop more effective and affordable tools for malaria diagnosis, treatment, and vaccination; (5) recognizes the goals to combat malaria in the Tom Lantos and Henry J. Hyde United States Global Leadership Against HIV/AIDS, Tuberculosis, and Malaria Reauthorization Act of 2008 (Public Law 110-293; 122 Stat. 2918); (6) supports continued leadership by the United States in bilateral, multilateral, and private sector efforts to combat malaria as a critical part of the President’s Global Health Initiative; and (7) encourages other members of the international community to sustain and scale up their support for and financial contributions to efforts worldwide to combat malaria. (Resolution agreed to in Senate on 10 July 2012 with an amendment and with a preamble by Voice Vote)

GenXaret youth event: saving lives is fun

BWC GenXaret event

On Friday, June 23rd, 2012, Glen Mar United Methodist Church’s young adult members Katie Cheung and Hannah Hardin partnered with Ray Jordan from GenXaret to raise money for Imagine No Malaria. As members of The United Methodist Church, a promise has been made by all members and confirmands to support this life-saving mission of the Church, which is a denomination-wide outreach ministry.

GenXaret is “an innovative, faith-based outreach where God is changing lives, healing communities, and empowering youth to change the world.” At this concert venue and safe haven for local youth, a worship service was led by Cheung and Hardin. This event featured the praise band Salvation Rock from Glen Mar UMC. Also attending the event was District Superintendent the Reverend Vivian McCarthy, speaking on the behalf of Bishop John Schol of the Baltimore-Washington Conference.  Rev. McCarthy shared a powerful and inspiring story of her personal experience around malaria.

Each of the attendees paid $10 as an entry fee, buying a single net to save a life, or even the lives in an entire family. To add to the fun, DJ Ostrowski played music after the service.  The largest group of attendees were from Wesley Freedom United Methodist Church in Eldersburg, Maryland, who brought the majority of their youth group after a full day of team building events for their upcoming mission trip to Chicago. All enjoyed the event and partied with a purpose to end Malaria in Africa.

Learn more and get involved in Imagine No Malaria today!

From one mother and child to another

WNC lemonaid

By Pamela Carter, Western North Carolina Annual Conference

It had been some time since I had last seen my friend, Susan.  She was the team leader for my first international mission trip. At that time our church mission team traveled   to Guatemala to help build a place of worship for a small mountain community, and I remembered with thankfulness those days when I began to see God’s world in a different way.  We had connected as a team to God’s vision for a transformed world as we worked alongside our Guatemalan brothers and sisters in Christ.   In those days, Susan was the associate at the church where my husband served as Senior Pastor, now 10 years past.   Now here she was at Lake Junaluska with her two young children in tow, Hank and Caroline, visiting lots of friends at Annual Conference.   Her life had been transformed as well since we had last been together.

As we gathered near the bell tower under a tent, just beyond the reach of Stuart Auditorium, the kids chattered on about their day with pride.   That week, while at Junaluska, they had raised over $41 at a lemonade stand they set up for Imagine No Malaria.   When Hank and Caroline had wanted to help, Susan had shown them the website,, and talked with them about the need.  How children and mothers just like themselves, far away, were at risk or suffered because of this disease.  Hank and Caroline were ready to act.  So one cup of lemonade at a time they did their part.  That $41 has grown to well over $150 as others heard about the work of two small hands (and one attentive mother).  A lay woman here in the crowd, or a pastor there, reached into their pockets and contributed, giving generously out of love and compassion for the sufferings of women and children far from the place where we are now singing praises and offering   prayers.  Others connected to the hearts’ desire of   Caroline and Hank, 7 and 8 year old children, and the results are inspiring.

Compassions calls forth compassion.  That’s what can happen when our hearts are moved by Christ to compassion for the suffering of others in this world, and we join in this effort with other friends, neighbors, churches, districts and conferences to help alleviate the suffering of those affected by malaria.   Children under five and pregnant mothers are most at risk unfortunately.  But in this case, the fate of a mother and her children far, far away is being met with the compassion of another mother and her children.

We can make a trickle of compassion into a river, an ocean – one lemonade stand at a time, one barbecue supper, or yard sale.   Please join Hank and Caroline, and their mom Susan in making a difference.  Tomorrow morning our offering at Annual Conference will be given to Imagine No Malaria and we will join with the mothers and children of sub-Saharan African as they fight the threat of malaria.  Please be generous – generous and joyful, like Hank and Caroline – and one very smart and attentive mother named Susan.  Your heart will be the better for it, and so will the mother and child who will sleep under a bed net in peace because you acted.

Nothing But Spokes

Center front: Bishop Peggy Johnson. From left to right in back: Jim White from St. Mark's UMC in Mt. Joy, Rev. John Pfeil from West Willow UMC, Shelly Trego from Mt. Zion in Narvon, Rev. Jim Todd, Southwest District Superintendent, Jay Horning, Grandview UMC. Missing from photo: Rev. Richard Conner, Calvary UMC in Wyomissing.

Nothing But Spokes begins 335 mile ride for Imagine No Malaria from Washington, DC

It was a perfect day for cycling. The day dawned sunny and cool, and at 9:00 am on Sunday, June 17, several cyclists gathered with dozens of members of Grandview UMC near Lancaster for a celebratory breakfast and prayer circle for the beginning of Nothing But Spokes for Imagine No Malaria. The trip has been in the works for the latter part of 2011 and all of 2012, with the cyclists raising funds from fellow church members, friends, family members, and business associates to support the denominational emphasis called Imagine No Malaria.

Center front: Bishop Peggy Johnson. From left to right in back: Jim White from St. Mark’s UMC in Mt. Joy, Rev. John Pfeil from West Willow UMC, Shelly Trego from Mt. Zion in Narvon, Rev. Jim Todd, Southwest District Superintendent, Jay Horning, Grandview UMC. Missing from photo: Rev. Richard Conner, Calvary UMC in Wyomissing.

Southwest District Superintendent Jim Todd was inspired to create the trip after hearing moving stories by Bishop Thomas Bickerton of Western Pennsylvania in October 2011, including one where Bishop Bickerton prayed over a tiny baby who had contracted malaria, only to see her die the following day because anti-malarial drugs were not available in that part of Africa to save her. The thought came to Superintendent Todd to create a bicycle trip to Pittsburgh, so that those going on the trip could be greeted by Bishop Bickerton at the end of the trip in downtown Pittsburgh. Most trips between Washington, DC and Pittsburgh go “downhill,” from Pittsburgh to DC, but it so happened that the Rails to Trails Conservancy was planning a reasonably priced DC to Pittsburgh trip at the exact time the group wanted to go. With professional planners taking care of the details of the trip, the cyclists themselves could focus on getting into shape for the 335 mile ride and raising support funds for Imagine No Malaria. There are five persons on the trip the week of June 17-24: Pastor John Pfeil of West Willow UMC, Pastor Richard Conner of Wyomissing: Calvary UMC, Mr. Jay Horning, member of Grandview UMC, Ms. Shelly Trego, member of Narvon: Mt. Zion UMC, and Mr. Jim White, member of Mt. Joy: St. Mark’s UMC. DS Jim Todd had every intention of going; however, he discovered in late May he had a herniated disk in his lower spine, and was urged by the doctor not to make the trip. He did transport part of the group from Lancaster to the starting point in Georgetown, NW Washington, DC, and rode 33 miles, or one-tenth of the total trip. Bishop Peggy Johnson, joined by her son Gabriel, met the group at the start of the trip and had prayer with them before they began the ride.

The initial vision was for there to be 50 riders, each raising a minimum of $5000 for Imagine No Malaria. In the end, there are only five riders, but each of them have come close to raising $5000 each, and by the end of the summer, Supt. Todd estimates that $30,000 will have come into the District and Conference offices in support of the Nothing But Spokes ride. Other inspiring events are happening in conjunction with the ride. The Rev. Paul Crikelair, a pastor on the Northeast District appointed to Poplar Valley and Cherry Valley UMCs, had wanted to go on the ride but could not because of schedule conflict. Instead, he sent a donation from his churches and decided to run each day for the cause of Imagine No Malaria. This also included him running a marathon on one day of the week of Nothing But Spokes. A member of Faith UMC in Manheim Township, Mr. Fred Helder, also wanted to go on the trip as one way to celebrate his 70th birthday. He also was not able to go, but instead is cycling 42 miles each day for eight days around Lancaster County, thereby riding the same distance as the trail riders going to Pittsburgh. Fred’s church has been very generous in helping him raise funds. Yet another pastor, the Rev. Rick Rimert, who serves Conestoga UMC, was not able to go because of a previously planned family vacation the same week as the Nothing But Spokes ride. He plans to ride the same route as the Spokes riders by himself in July, and is also raising money to fight malaria. Said DS Todd: “Just as I was inspired by Bishop Bickerton to get involved in Imagine No Malaria, so I have been inspired by those who have caught the vision on the Southwest District and other districts to find creative ways to raise awareness and funds for this most worthwhile of projects. I also want to thank the Rev. David Ryan, who is our District Mission Secretary and who has solicited prayer support for our efforts, and the Rev. Mike Alleman, who has been a great supporter and whose church, Grandview, plans to raise $10,000 for Imagine No Malaria.

Anyone wishing to contribute to Nothing But Spokes for Imagine No Malaria may send a check in any amount, payable to “SW District,” and sent to: PO Box 271, Bird in Hand, PA 17505. A thank you card will be sent to acknowledge your tax-deductible gift, and you can be assured that 100% of the funds you send will go directly to the Imagine No Malaria project. Funds will be used mostly in Africa to supply bed nets, standing water abatement, anti-malarial drugs, and eventually, a vaccine. To follow the daily account of the group on the trip, search for “Nothing but Spokes” on Facebook and “like” the site.

Faith Can Move Mountains

Minnesota umns12_014_01_480

By Victoria Rebeck, Minnesota Annual Conference

Raising a record amount for Imagine No Malaria by January was not enough for Minnesota United Methodists. At their annual conference session last week, they collected an additional $22,000, raising their total to about $2,500,000

“Nothing has made me prouder than your willingness and determination to commit to eliminate deaths by malaria,” Bishop Sally Dyck told the Minnesota United Methodists at their Imagine No Malaria celebration on May 30, the opening night of session.

Two years ago, this conference of 70,000 members questioned whether they could reach an ambitious goal of $1.8 million. With the help of a $600,000 challenge grant and mission-minded churches, Minnesota has raised more for this cause than any other United Methodist conference.

The celebration opened with the song “What’s the Buzz,” from the musical Jesus Christ Superstar, with new lyrics by Rev. Kay Hacklander: “What do you want to know? Saving lives for the children; we’re saving lives one by one. But there are so many children, so much work to be done, oh yeah,” the first verse goes.

The celebration thanked the 83 “challenge churches” that pledged at least $100 times its average worship attendance—many surpassing that goal.

Small churches were among the most generous. Villard United Methodist Church has an average of 54 in worship every week. A challenge pledge would be $5,400. They pledged $10,000—and raised $12,000 so far. Osakis United Methodist Church has 16 in worship every week. A challenge pledge would have been $1,600. That intimate group pledged a generous and visionary $3,000.

Following the song, members watched a “commercial” for Imagine No Malaria made by the youth of Excelsior United Methodist church. The humorous short video portrays a bored youth group becoming convinced of the urgency of combating malaria deaths after encountering a particularly threatening swarm of mosquitoes.

Throughout session, members watched other “commercials” from Park Avenue United Methodist Church (Minneapolis), Centennial United Methodist Church (Roseville), and Hamline University (St. Paul) students.

Churches have organized five‐kilometer runs and scooter‐and‐bike rides; toll a bell every 60 seconds during worship as a reminder that every 60 seconds a child dies of malaria; created maps of Africa to which they paste, for every $10 donated, a graphic representing another child saved; participate in community parades by entering a “Join Our Swat Team” float; and held neighborhood parties where they beat mosquito piñatas.

Discovery United Methodist Church (Chaska) created lawn‐ornament mosquitoes. Members can purchase swarming rights on another member’s home at $10 per residence. Those “swarmed” wake up one morning to find a crowd of the lawn ornaments in their yard. They can either call the swarm hotline to have the mosquitoes removed within a 24-hour period or they can wait until the Swarm Squad removes them in about a week.

Those who want to avoid being swarmed altogether can purchase swarm insurance for $10. All proceeds benefit Imagine No Malaria, of course. (

Hilltop United Methodist Church’s Pastor Fred Vanderwerf told the Imagine No Malaria story to neighbors through interviews on Mankato’s KTOE‐AM radio. Ten‐year‐old Alayna Strunk, daughter of Pastor Greg Strunk at First United Methodist Church in Red Wing, told a reporter at the Red Wing Republican Eagle newspaper that she is selling her own artwork and hand‐made bracelets to raise funds.

Thief River Falls United Methodist Church made sure the Grand Forks Herald and nearby radio stations interviewed them about Imagine No Malaria. That church’s pastor, Rob Kopp, says that “Young people in the church have said, ‘We need to do this; this is what it means to be church.’”

James Coward, a teen at Woodbury Peaceful Grove United Methodist, has said the same. He’s making tie‐dyed T‐shirts to raise funds—because, he says, “I want to hurry Imagine No Malaria along because the church is finally taking action.”

“You have become standard bearers in the United Methodist Church,” Gary Henderson, executive director of the United Methodist Church’s global health initiative, told session members. “God is able to do immeasurably more than we can imagine.”

“All over the connections, people are talking about Minnesota. Because of Minnesota, twelve other conferences are lined up to try to do what you did.”

Henderson urges Minnesota United Methodists to turn their pledges into reality, and “keep the storytelling. Many people don’t know about the urgent need to eliminate malaria deaths.”

“I had the privilege of watching you step out in faith to participate in greater levels than any other conference across the country,” said Leia Williams, who served as Imagine No Malaria field coordinator in Minnesota for almost a year. “You moved a mountain for those children [who are vulnerable to malaria] and their families. Remember who you are and know what your faith can do. Because it is in the moment you know, that you move mountains.”

At the celebration, members learned that a fifth‐grader named Allison asked Pastor Jim Beard at New Day United Methodist Church (Big Lake) if the people in Africa knew that United Methodists were raising funds and working to protect people from malaria.

He said he thought they knew—then asked her why she raised this question.

“I just want them to know that it will get better,” she said.

Bishop Dyck pointed out that as the statistic of children dying of malaria in sub-Saharan Africa slowed from a death every 30 seconds to every 60 seconds, it is getting better.

And as Minnesota’s example inspires and challenges other conferences, it will get only better.

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Faith-Based Organizations Partner to Fight Malaria

NetsForLife partner_feature

The relief and development agencies of two mainline Protestant denominations are forming a new strategic partnership to prevent and control malaria in sub-Saharan Africa.  By uniting in common mission, Episcopal Relief & Development’s award-winning NetsforLife® program partnership and the United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR) will be able to reach 21 countries in sub-SaharanAfrica where malaria is endemic.

“The goal of this partnership is to decrease sickness and death due to malaria, build local organizations’ capacity to mobilize their communities against this disease, and strengthen connections across faith denominations, sectors and countries in order to share knowledge and develop best practices,” said Rob Radtke, President of Episcopal Relief & Development.  “The strength of our NetsforLife® program and UMCOR is that we both work with churches and other grassroots institutions to fill gaps in health service coverage – mostly in rural areas – and develop solutions that fit the context and challenges of each locality.”

The partnership began informally in 2010, when NetsforLife®and UMCOR began working together to amplify United Methodist and Anglican/Episcopal anti-malaria efforts inAfrica. It has been particularly effective in areas of the Democratic Republic of Congo andSierra Leone.

“The root of our partnership is a shared belief in the strength of African churches to take action, empower local communities to become whole and healthy, change behavior and target resources for greater reach and impact,” Radtke said.  “This precedent-setting partnership affirms the importance of the global community in sustaining the gains, momentum and resources toward eradicating malaria.”

In the Democratic Republic of Congo, the relationship led to the successful mobilization of communities through a public launch event hosted by South African singer Yvonne Chaka Chaka. The event was followed by a door-to-door distribution of 30,000 nets and the founding of CORESA, a groundbreaking faith-based coalition to promote health.

Shannon Trilli, director of UMCOR’s Global Health Initiative, said, “There is still much to be done in our malaria prevention work, especially at the community and village level. By joining UMCOR’s resources and expertise in developing health-care infrastructure and communications to the NetsforLife®programming, monitoring and evaluation approach, we can strengthen and deepen our impact.”

Recently, NetsforLife®and UMCOR aligned their work with the National Integrated Maternal and Child Health Campaign inSierra Leone, where approximately 400,000 nets were distributed and more than 3,800 volunteers were trained. Aimed at achieving universal coverage of the population at risk of contracting malaria, this cooperative push was the largest health effort in the country’s history.

To sustain and grow this life-saving work, both NetsforLife® and UMCOR are raising funds through grassroots campaigns in churches, schools, seminaries and other institutions.

Imagine No Malaria is an effort of The United Methodist Church (UMC) to eliminate death and suffering caused by malaria inAfricaby 2015. TheUMCis a founding partner of the United Nations Foundation’s Nothing But Nets campaign, which works through Imagine No Malaria and focuses on improving health infrastructure and empowering communities for a sustainable victory over the disease.

In the Episcopal Church, the NetsforLife®Inspiration Fund is educating, engaging, and uniting Episcopalians to support Millennium Development Goals and the fight against malaria. The goal of the campaign is to build awareness about this disease and how it can be prevented. It also aims to raise $5 million by December 2012 to help NetsforLife®continue its work, training local volunteers to deliver life-saving nets, educate community members about proper net use and maintenance, and provide ongoing monitoring and evaluation of net use. Episcopal Relief & Development has managed NetsforLife®since 2006, and has helped the program expand from 8 to 17 countries.

Visit Imagine No Malaria online at for more information and to support this life-saving ministry.

Bishop Yambasu on Daytime TV Show


Bishop John Yambasu visited the set of Daytime on April 25 to talk about how The United Methodist Church’s Imagine No Malaria campaign is saving lives in Africa. His message was shared in more than 100 cities across the United States where Daytime is syndicated. Check out the bishop’s World Malaria Day interview with host Cyndi Edwards below:

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