Jackie and I have always loved garage sales. Before there was Craigslist we found furniture for our first house, kids’ clothes and toys, and all kinds of treasures we didn’t know we needed or wanted at garage sales. One of my best finds was an original painting that still hangs in our house and is admired by all who see it. We also enjoy cleaning out our closets for our own garage sales. It’s fun to meet new people, convince them to buy your junk, and then haggle over the price. It’s even better when it’s for a good cause!
Garage sales are fun, good for the environment (recycling), and are great fundraisers. This brings us to malaria, specifically the Lutheran Malaria Initiative (LMI). The LCMS has partnered with Lutheran World Relief, the United Nations Foundation, and others to stop the suffering caused by malaria.
Malaria is a parasitic disease, which is spread by mosquitoes. It begins with a flu-like illness, which can become rapidly fatal or turn into a chronic debilitating disease. Each year, 300-500 million people develop acute malaria, mostly among the world's poorest populations. More than 1 million people die each year from malaria, and 90% of these deaths occur in children in sub-Saharan Africa. Every 60 seconds another child dies of malaria!
These statistics are staggering and really hard for me to fathom. I have treated malaria patients in the emergency department and I was always aware that periodically servicemen die of malaria, but until now I didn’t realize what a horrible killer it is in Africa.
The financial impact of malaria creates a downward spiral of poverty and despair which makes it hard for Africans and their governments to treat and prevent malaria. It is estimated that African economies lose 12 billion dollars annually due to malaria.
Yet malaria is a preventable and treatable disease. It was a huge killer in the USA from the time it was imported into Jamestown in 1607 until the 1940’s when the CDC (Center for Disease Control), the TVA (Tennessee Valley Authority), and other agencies eradicated it. They did it by treating the ill, removing standing water, and spraying DDT to kill mosquitoes. Air conditioning and sealed up houses also helped prevent mosquito bites. We still have sporadic cases in the USA in travelers, but if diagnosed promptly, we can easily treat it.
The LMI is making progress with help from congregations like ours. They have decreased child mortality from a death every 30 seconds to one every 60 seconds, increased treated bed net use by 34%, tripled malaria treatment, taught people when to seek treatment, and trained many healthcare workers. They are inspiring a new cycle of health and hope. Their goal is to eradicate malaria by 2015, just as it was eradicated here.
As Christians, we are called to follow Christ’s example of unconditional love and mercy and serve those who are vulnerable and suffering. As Lutherans, we have a strong tradition of helping people in need AND through LMI we have the means to help. LMI uses our missionaries and our partner Lutheran churches in Africa as resources for malaria information and programs.
We can help with our prayers, donations, and our garage sale fundraiser:
$1 will provide treatment for one sick child
$10 will provide one family with a treated bed net
$50 will cover the cost of a radio malaria prevention message
$100 will help train a healthcare worker
$1000 will provide microscopes and other medical equipment to a rural clinic
You can support our garage sale by donating items to be sold and helping out.
- Sunday April 7th, 12-2 pm
- Wednesday April 10th, 4-7pm
- Monday – Thursday April 8-11th, 9am-3pm (check in at church office)
- Friday April 12th, 7-11 am
Areas of Volunteering
- Volunteering during the garage sale, with jobs such as pricing, selling, sign-waving, helping to load, and parking attendants
- Hauling away leftovers, and cleaning up after the Saturday sale
Garage Sale will be held Friday, April 12th and Saturday, April 13th from 7:00 - 11:00 AM.
To learn more about the Lutheran Malaria Initiative visit the Lutheran Malaria Initiative web page http://www.lutheranmalaria.org