Thursday, February 28, 2013

Imagine No Malaria-Lenten Devotion Day 16: February 28

Thursday, February 28, 2013: A Life of Wholeness 

John 10:10 “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.” 

Several years ago I was on a mission trip in Cameroon, which is in west Africa. Our team was working with former GBGM missionaries Wes and Leah Magruder. We were visiting different congregations all over the country. Every day we spent lots of time driving to a new village and a new church, where we stopped and visited for a few hours. As the trip progressed I began to notice that our van driver began to spend all our breaks, meal stops, and church visits sleeping in the van. I questioned our interpreter about it (because our driver spoke only French) and our interpreter simply said that our driver was sick. 
Shortly afterwards I asked our team leader if she thought our driver might have malaria. Her answer surprised and enlightened me. She responded that it was quite likely that our driver did have malaria, because in a sub-Saharan country like Cameroon nearly every adult carries the malaria parasites. Several times a year they may be stricken with flu-like symptoms that are so severe they can barely function and work. Yet work they must, if at all possible, for they have to provide for their families. Often they suffer through it as best they can with no medications, because they can’t afford them or have no access to them. 

The Imagine No Malaria initiative helps prevent malaria and offers treatment for those that do have it. In the future, as we reach our goals in this initiative, fewer and fewer children will have malaria. Those children will grow into adulthood healthy and whole. In John 10:10, we see that God’s will for us is not sickness and weakness, but a life of wholeness and abundance - for everyone. By being healthy and experiencing a life of wholeness we fulfill God’s promise to all generations. 

Prayer: God of all nations, your love and mercy surrounds us, wherever we are. So many people are suffering from malaria. Help us to learn about the suffering of others and give us the wisdom and compassion to act. It is so easy to look the other way. With open hearts and open minds, we seek to learn what you would have us do. We ask all this in your son’s name. Amen. 

Rev. Marji Bishir, Texas 

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