Making a world of difference

By Bishop Jonathan Holston

“God can do anything, you know—far more than you could ever imagine or guess or request in your wildest dreams! He does it not by pushing us around but by working within us.”
—Ephesians 3:20 (The Message)

At the 2015 South Carolina Annual Conference, our laity and clergy accepted the clarion call to connect with United Methodists across the globe to end deaths by malaria.

Imagine No Malaria (see article here) is a bold ministry of The United Methodist Church that seeks to eliminate malaria in sub-Saharan Africa through prevention, treatment and education. The signature goal for the South Carolina Conference is $1 million.

The Imagine No Malaria campaign will be led by committee co-chairpersons the Rev. Mike Alexander and Felecia Holston, as well as Campaign Coordinator the Rev. Jeri Katherine Sipes.

In order to be successful in this effort, we need your help. The participation of laity and clergy across our conference is critical.

I know the people of the South Carolina Conference to be generous people. You’ve proven time and again that when given a “God-sized” challenge, we more than achieve our goals. This effort will require all of us to actively participate. So I want to thank you for your willingness to join this movement of change to save lives.

The question is asked, “How many lives will you save?” Think about that question in this way:

  • A $10 net can save a person’s life
  • $100 saves 10 lives
  • $500 saves 50 lives
  • $1,000 saves 100 lives
  • $1,000,000 saves 100,000 lives

Every 60 seconds, malaria claims a life in Africa. It kills more than 655,000 people each year, most of them children younger than age of 5 and pregnant women. Transmitted through the female anopheles mosquito, malaria is a parasite that initially causes fever, vomiting and joint pain. Left untreated, its symptoms progress to convulsions, organ failure and death.

Yet, malaria is 100 percent preventable, treatable and beatable! Imagine No Malaria is an extraordinary effort of the people of The United Methodist Church to end deaths by malaria in Africa. In South Carolina, we believe leadership is a decision, an obligation made by a hardworking community.

This is our time to make a decision to save lives. When we make space for God to work, we are “able to do far beyond all that we could ask or imagine by His power at work within us.” Again, I thank you for your willingness to make a world of difference!

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