Maybe the story of feeding the five thousand has something to teach us about our ministry in Liberia as "we seek to better coordinate and maximize our mutual efforts in evangelization, education, health care and economic opportunity in Liberia."
To date, the Illinois Great Rivers Conference has raised $1,885,000 in cash and pledges for Imagine No Malaria, surpassing the 80 percent mark on the $2.3 million goal announced by Bishop Gregory Palmer at the 2010 Annual Conference.
There is an urgent and acute need to intensify our response here at home. Much of the southern tip of Illinois lies beneath flood waters. Roads remain closed, schools are closed and people have moved from their homes due to high water. As the waters begin to recede, now is time for the church to mobilize in a big way and be ready to respond. Volunteers will be needed throughout the summer and many hands will be needed to help people throughout the entire region of southern Illinois.
Here are four very specific ways you may join in this effort.
We thanked God for the relationship between the people of Liberia and the people of the Illinois Great Rivers Conference. We thanked God for the connection of the United Methodist Church. We thanked God for the respect and friendship that was forged in our sweat. We thanked God for hope.
We broke the circle and it took us a few minutes to actually leave. We shared hand shakes. We shared hugs. A few small tokens of appreciation were exchanged. A few last pictures were taken. There were many smiles, and then we got in the van and drove away. None of us truly left.
Bishop Gregory V. Palmer expresses his thanks to pastors, congregations and members in the Illinois Great Rivers Conference for support on a number of conference initiatives.
I heard confirmation of the presence of the Risen Christ and knew that the efforts of the volunteers and Imagine No Malaria staff were bearing fruit. In the faces so many of the people I met, I saw reflected the face of Christ. The people of Sierra Leone are not only being transformed, but they are becoming agents of transformation for the cause of saving lives.