By Jessica Brodie
Every 60 seconds, a child dies of malaria.
In the time it takes you to read this editorial, a small, precious, vulnerable child, who Jesus Christ himself charged us to protect, will die from a disease that is preventable, treatable and beatable—if only there were enough money and resources.
Picture that child: those big eyes, those sweet hands, those tiny lips. Picture that child’s mother and father, crying out to the Lord. Why? Why is my child gone so quickly?
If this were happening in the United States, in our own cities and neighborhoods and not sub-Saharan Africa, would we be more outraged? Would we by now have eradicated this disease completely?
God only knows.
The global United Methodist Church has already raised $66 million to fight malaria, and now the South Carolina Conference has the opportunity to make that $67 million thanks to a new conference-wide commitment courtesy of Bishop Jonathan Holston.
Holston has committed the South Carolina Conference to a new God-sized dream: raising $1 million to offer life-giving hope in sub-Saharan Africa through the UMC’s Imagine No Malaria initiative. Led by field coordinator the Rev. Jeri Katherine Warden Sipes with leadership from a team including Felecia Holston and the Rev. Mike Alexander, the team rolled out plans at Annual Conference to donate funds and jumpstart South Carolina’s efforts. They have launched a fundraising campaign via text message, inviting people to text “Malaria SC” to 27722 to donate $10.
We’re off to a great start. Already, between funds collected at Annual Conference and what has been collected to-date, the conference has about $100,000, reported Connectional Ministries—a tenth of the goal.
Let’s kick this effort into high gear and see if we can turn $1 million into $2 million to fight malaria.
As the Children in Poverty Task Force reminds us, they are all our children. Let’s start treating them this way. No child deserves to die from malaria—not in Africa, not in America, nowhere.