At the 2014 Virginia Annual Conference, the conference comprised of clergy and laity voted to support the United Methodist Church’s Imagine No Malaria initiative. The Virginia Conference set a goal to raise enough funds to save 100,000 lives in a year. Those in attendance at Annual Conference may remember Bishop Young Jin Cho leading everyone in the “Happy” dance. If you missed it, you can watch the celebration here.
Each congregation has been encouraged to raise awareness and funds for Imagine No Malaria. This past Sunday at Peakland United Methodist, the Mission Kids (students who are in third-fifth grades) met and discussed what malaria is. Malaria seems like something that we shouldn’t worry about. Malaria was eliminated in the United States in the 1950s. However, in other parts of the world, especially in Sub-Saharan Africa, malaria is a top killer, killing a person every 60 seconds.
But, malaria is preventable.
We talked about how malaria is spread through mosquitoes. Since it is a parasite, when one infected mosquito bites a human, the parasite enters that person’s bloodstream, attacking their red blood cells. We talked about how not all families in Africa have houses like they do, and mosquitoes could bite them at night. For this reason the United Methodist Church and other global organizations have made it a priority to supply mosquito nets to protect people. Nearly 90 percent of malaria’s victims are children under the age of 5 and pregnant women.
Then, the group talked about what it means to raise awareness of something. Some of the things they noted were helping other people know about something and encouraging them to do something about it.
To raise awareness at our church, the Mission Kids made mosquitoes out of pipe cleaners, clothes pins and other materials. Each mosquito is different and unique.
Afterwards, they placed close to 50 mosquitoes all over the first floor of the church, including the worship spaces. They did this to raise awareness and demonstrate how malaria can be spread.
How did we do it?
Supplies: clothes pins, pipe cleaners, wiggly eyes, poms, glue gun
Glue the wiggly eyes to the pom. Then select a size for the mosquito’s needle nose with a pipe cleaner and glue it to the pom. Then, glue the pom to the clothes pin. Decide on the length of the wings out of pipe cleaners, bend them into a wing shape and glue to the clothespin.