By Andy Ferguson and LeRae Collins
“God can do anything, you know -- far more than you could ever imagine or guess or request in your wildest dreams!” -- Ephesians 3:20, The Message
We have just reached a wild, new high. As of Sept. 15, Holston Conference has saved 121,238 lives through Imagine No Malaria. That’s a total of $1,212,380 given from generous Holston hearts out of love for the people of Africa.
Thank you, Holston. Thank you for saving lives, for giving sacrificially, and for having a God-sized imagination. You met this health crisis the way that Jesus would. We thank you, and so does our Bishop Mary Virginia Taylor:
“I want to thank you each and every church and individual who baked, biked, walked, sung, crafted, prayed and sacrificed,” she said, “so that our brothers and sisters in Africa might be free from the fear and pain of malaria.”
Bishop Taylor shared her gratitude through a special video* that can be re-shared in your churches, online, and through social media. Download the video (and other Imagine No Malaria resources) directly at www.nomalaria.holston.org.
Watch the video.*
Together, we have far surpassed our goal of saving 100,000 lives in one year. Imagine No Malaria marked the largest Annual Conference offering in Holston Conference history. This summer’s offering was nearly seven times the largest Annual Conference offering prior to 2013.
In all, 740 churches – 83 percent of all Holston churches -- gave to save lives through Imagine No Malaria. As a connectional church we worked together to make history and to end death and suffering from malaria, $10 and one life at a time.
Yet, we are part of an effort that is even larger than our own. The United Methodist Church’s goal is to raise $75 million to eradicate malaria by the end of 2015. To date, Imagine No Malaria has raised an astonishing $53 million.
We’re not finished with this herculean effort. In June, the Holston Annual Conference voted to extend the campaign until Dec. 31, 2013, so that more lives may be spared through the generous United Methodists of southwest Virginia, east Tennessee, and north Georgia.
As recently as Sept. 14, the Holston United Methodist Women saved 1,408 lives with an offering of $14,086 for Imagine No Malaria. The Cleveland District and Morristown District devoted their district conference offerings to fight the killer disease. Youth from across the conference are still working to save lives through the Youth Service Fund, and Change for Children has committed half its 2013 offering to the global health campaign.
How far can we go? It will be exciting to see! Bishop Taylor reminds us that God can do far more than we can ever imagine:
“Thank you for dreaming big dreams of what is possible when the people of God work together to change the world.”
The Rev. Andy Ferguson is chair of Holston’s Imagine No Malaria Ministry Team. LeRae Collins is coordinator. For more information, contact Collins at firstname.lastname@example.org or 865-690-4080.
* Holston members are saving lives even faster than we can thank them! Since Bishop Taylor made this special video, the number of lives saved has increased from 118,758 to 121,238.
- "Holston fight gains $1.1 million" (UM Communications, 6/13/13)
- "Beating malaria: Local Methodist churches bite off $1 million project, exceed goal" (Knoxville News Sentinel, 7/5/13)