This coming Monday, April 25, is World Malaria Day – a day in which The United Methodist Church asks you to Imagine No Malaria.
WHAT IF malaria were on the endangered list? WHAT IF its days were numbered? WHAT IF we talked about malaria the way that we do about polio – almost never?
But that day is not today. Not yet. Today in Africa, a child dies from malaria every 45 seconds.
Look at your watch and take a couple of slow, deep breaths. It should take you about 15 seconds. So by the time you've taken six of those breaths, a child in Africa will have taken his or her last one.
The video above asks an intriguing question: How can you imagine a world with no malaria, when you already thought you lived in one? Malaria is the number-one child-killer in the world, yet outside of Africa many children have never even heard of it. We must educate ourselves, then others.
Pastors, as a first step please play this short (2 min. 53 sec.) video for your congregation. If it doesn't fit into your Easter plans, please set aside time to play it during your worship service next Sunday. When you play it, consider making a "cell phone exception," and invite congregants to get their phones out and be ready to text "malaria" to 27722 at the end of the video, to donate $10 to Imagine No Malaria on the spot.
(The texting information is at the end of the video but fades away fairly quickly. We suggest that you ask your video technician to "freeze" the last frame so that the information stays before the congregation long enough for people to type it into their phones. And be prepared to repeat the instructions verbally, yourself.)
Spread the buzz
Afterward, please suggest to those gathered that an excellent way to "spread the buzz" and continue the education process is to host an Imagine No Malaria house party. (Think of it as a Tupperware® party in which, instead of taking home plastic containers, attendees get to go home knowing they've helped save a life! How cool is that?!)
House parties are an easy, fun, social way to spread the word about Imagine No Malaria and collect donations which – no matter how small – will help defeat malaria. Each dollar will be funneled through United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR), which won't take a single cent for administrative costs: Every penny will go directly to people in Africa who are most in need.
Thank you for what you're doing to Imagine No Malaria in observance of World Malaria Day. If we work together, we actually can Imagine No Malaria. We can turn WHAT IF into NOW.
How to access video
If you don't have WiFi, sign into your account in REEL Witness (the Cal-Nev Conference video library, at http://www.ourchurchvideos.com/95691/cnumc/) or create an account (it's free!). You then may download the video to a laptop so that it can be projected from the laptop file. (You'll see download instructions just below the video window when you sign in to REEL Witness and select the video.)
Visit www.ImagineNoMalaria.org for more information, to subscribe to monthly updates from Imagine No Malaria, and to download resources.
(Two churches in the California-Nevada Annual Conference have planned Imagine No Malaria events to coincide with Change the World Weekend, May 14-15. Wayside UMC in Vallejo will host an Imagine No Malaria Basketball tournament on May 14; Memorial UMC in Clovis will host a free ice cream social/Christian music festival for the community, featuring all three language ministries of the congregation, on May 15 – and will use the opportunity to educate the community about malaria and to take an offering to buy bed nets. Find out more and sign up your church at www.umcom.org/changetheworld.)