By Amy Simonson
Area Coordinator, Spoon River District
In December 2010, our district coordinators for Imagine No Malaria, Jim and Kathy Crozier, introduced the idea of being area coordinators for INM. I was convinced my mom and I should say yes, and that was that for a while.
Then came the Celebration to Save Lives, thinking about it, reading material about malaria, thinking about it more, and finally planning events. We donated the proceeds from the United Methodist Women's annual spaghetti supper at the Good Hope UMC and are planning a kick-off event for May 15. On that Sunday evening, we are going to have a Nigerian woman come and present a program, serve African food with lots of rice, and really delve into this issue of ending deaths by malaria in Africa by 2015. That sounds so idealized, but if you really think about it, why hasn't it happened sooner?
Think about it this way: If there was a cure for cancer, everyone would be wanting the world to have the cure because everyone knows someone who's had it or died from it. It's not the same with malaria, but in Africa, it seems likely that everyone has a sibling that not only had malaria, but died from it or continues to suffer from it. We want to save these people and show them that we care about the other children of God, so we're raising awareness and money to buy nets to save these valuable lives. If you just look at a child and imagine them suffering for days due to something that is able to be prevented, it's saddening and disheartening.
Can we really conquer malaria? Educating these people and providing nets for protection against infectious diseases is not impossible and that's what we need to do. Nothing is impossible with God and Imagine No Malaria excites me because I can imagine throwing quarters into an M&M tube with the rest of the church until the job is done. I can imagine a world where kids aren't dying from malaria as I write because, after all, who imagines that it's going on right now? Hunger is hard to conquer because it keeps coming back, but once malaria is gone, it's gone, and that's something worth celebrating. I can't wait to picture African children living to be successful, fulfilled adults, but for now, let's imagine a world with no malaria and believe that this imagination can be real.