Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Lutheran Malaria Initiative Finishing Strong

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ:

Today is truly a day to pray, praise and give thanks! In 2010 you overwhelmingly passed — by a 98 percent margin — a resolution supporting The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod’s engagement in the global fight to end malaria deaths in sub-Saharan Africa through the Lutheran Malaria Initiative (LMI). The LCMS, in partnership with Lutheran World Relief and with the support of the United Nations Foundation, began engaging districts, congregations and schools in this unprecedented campaign in fall 2011.

By July 2012, 100 percent of LCMS districts were actively engaged in LMI. By March 2013 participation of LCMS congregations and schools reached 26 percent, just shy of our 30 percent participation goal. Now we can proudly say we exceeded our LMI participation goal with 33 percent of congregations and schools participating across the Synod.

Together as Synod we have raised more than $7 million to allow our church partners to conduct quality malaria education, prevention and treatment programming. And, most importantly, this is being done in close proximity to the Gospel. None of this would have been possible without your prayers and support.

In 2010 a child died from malaria every 30 seconds. In just four years we (LMI as part of the global fight to help end malaria deaths) have cut the number of deaths in half. Sadly, however, one child still dies every 66.5 seconds (approximately 1,300 daily) from a disease that is completely preventable and treatable! In June 2013, the World Health Organization announced that we have made “huge, but fragile” progress in the fight to end malaria deaths.

Active fundraising for LMI officially ended April 25, 2014, on World Malaria Day. Thank you for helping us finish strong! The LCMS will still receive gifts for the LCMS malaria project until all programming is complete or malaria deaths have ended. LMI programming will continue until all funding is depleted.

LMI programming has reached Tanzania, Mali, Uganda, Kenya, Nigeria, Liberia and Ethiopia. Additionally, we have begun preliminary capacity-building discussions with partner churches in Madagascar and Kenya. The potential exists to add more countries as districts and congregations continue to send in their gifts.

You are helping to restore health and inspire hope in the people of sub-Saharan Africa. And you are providing the opportunity for them to hear about Christ’s life, death and resurrection for our sins. Please continue to pray for our brothers and sisters in Christ who still suffer the devastating loss of a child every 66.5 seconds.

Finally, I would like to thank our partners at Lutheran World Relief and the United Nations Foundation for their support, the LCMS Council of Presidents for their leadership and you — our congregations, schools and faithful donors who have prayed for the Lutheran Malaria Initiative, given gifts and helped our church partners reach out with Christ’s hand of witness and mercy in our lives together.

In the name of Christ,

Martha Mitkos
Director, Lutheran Malaria Initiative

To learn more about LMI outreach, giving and participation, download a copy of the “Lutheran Malaria Initiative: Finishing Strong” Reporter insert from December 2014.

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