By Jill Wondell
After Annual Conference, churches around Missouri began thinking of ways they could raise awareness to end deaths from malaria in Africa, and Vacation Bible School seemed like a great place to begin their campaigns. Kids and youth all over the state caught the bug and began saving lives!
Rev. Deborah Bartley shared their experience: “During Kingdom Rock VBS at First UMC St. Charles, the children were encouraged to bring their “nickels for nets” for their mission project. We wanted to send as many nets as possible, so we told the children if they reached a goal of $600, Denise Carmichael, our VBS go-to person, would get a pie in her face. Rev. Debby Bartley said she’d take one, too, if they collected at least $700. Rev. Debby was out the last day due to an injury, so Rev. Robin Roderick stepped in for her when the children donated just over $700! To loud chants of “Stand Strong!” the ladies both graciously received pies in their faces!”
Inspired by a picnic-themed Vacation Bible School, Park UMC kids in Hannibal challenged their church to fill large jars with mosquitoes and saved 54 lives! And Monroe City UMC kids made a bucket full of pipe-cleaner mosquitoes and are selling them after church for $10 a piece. They’ve already raised $420 and are inspiring their congregation to meet their pastor’s challenge to raise $1500.
In Archie, Missouri, kids saved 56 lives, while Dockery Chapel kids raised $409 and then challenged their congregation to match it & saved a total of 157 lives!
At Pacific UMC, a couple of fourth graders decided that they would help their church’s efforts and opened a lemonade stand adding $350 to their donation for a total of 101 lives saved!
In California, during their “Everywhere Fun Fair” kids exceeded their goal to save 10 lives and raised twice that much. As a reward, they threw water balloons at their pastor, Rev. Eric Moore after their Sunday VBS celebration!
Between these congregations and their generous kids, 460 lives were saved!
Imagine No Malaria is an extraordinary effort of the United Methodist Church to end deaths from malaria in Africa. Every year 655,000 people die from this preventable treatable disease, and we have an unprecedented opportunity to change that! The Churches of the Missouri Conference are committed to saving lives through this effort, and have already raised over $100,000 toward this goal. Churches are continuing to think of creative ways to involve their communities in this effort, and field coordinators Jill and Jennifer look forward to hearing their stories.
For more information about the Imagine No Malaria Campaign, or to get ideas and resources for your community, check out the website at www.ImagineNoMalariaMO.org. Just $10 can save a life - how many lives will you save this year?