Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Imagine No Malaria-Lenten Devotion Day 14: February 26

Tuesday, February 26, 2013: Sharing out of Love 

Philippians 2: 3-4 “Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others.” 

Nothing could have prepared me for our welcoming into the village we received in Bo, Sierra Leone. When we arrived at our first village the brownish-red dirt road was lined with people. Men, women, and children were waiting for us, and as we piled out of our vehicles we began walking up the road and the singing and drums began. 

I was, as was the rest of our group, surrounded by the throng. I have never experienced being in a throng before. Children mostly surrounded me, smiling and laughing and talking. Overcome with warmth of emotion I pumped my two fists in the air and shouted, only being heard by the children closest to me, “This is BIG!” The few that could hear me above the song smiled, and pumped their fists in the air and shouted back to me, “Yes, this is BIG!” We were led and seated at a long table as “dignitaries” facing the seated villagers. After being introduced to them, we were introduced to their leaders. When the formalities were ended we toured their medical building. Inside the walls were lined with educational posters concerning AIDS, eye conditions, malaria, etc. 

One man proudly took me into the supply room (which held only a few boxes of empty syringes), but he was especially proud of a white enameled, freezer sized, temperature controlled storage unit for medicine. A generator kept the device at constant temperature. I asked if I could see inside it. He acted as if he had never been asked that before, and after a bit of tugging was able to lift the lid. We both peered down into the rust lined interior of the unit only to see two single dose ampoules of medicine on the bottom. I had expected to see racks of various pharmaceuticals, but they were non-existent. Afterwards we were educated by local leaders about the organization, communication and distribution of insecticide impregnated bed nets to prevent malaria. This initiative had been well-designed, extensive and largely complete for this Bo district. Bo is only one district, and there are eleven more districts in Sierra Leone. 

Paul tells us in Philippians that since we have received the love of Christ, that we are to be like-minded and to share that love and concern for others: not for our own glorification, but because we truly value others. Those in Africa who are suffering the ravages of death due to malaria truly need our help, and God willing we will stand united, and be generous in our contributions to help eradicate this disease. 

Prayer: Dear Lord, make me an instrument of your peace and love by sharing with others that they may have freedom from the disease of malaria. May we do this not for our own ambition, but simply out of interest and love that we have of others, as Christ has for us. In Your name we pray. Amen. 

Dr. Peter L. Paulson, Illinois 

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