Thursday, March 21, 2013

Imagine No Malaria-Lenten Devotion Day 37: March 21


Thursday, March 21, 2013: Partnering for Mission 

Luke 10:1-2, 8-9 After this the Lord appointed seventy others, and sent them on ahead of him, two by two, into every town and place where he himself was about to come. And he said to them, “The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few; pray therefore the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest. Whenever you enter a town and they receive you, eat what is set before you; heal the sick in it and say to them, ‘The kingdom of God has come near to you.’” 

Jesus sent 70 people in pairs on a mission trip that involved healing and proclaiming the kingdom of God. Most of us would not go on a mission trip alone, but when we are paired with others, we gain courage and are able to take advantage of opportunities to show the love of Jesus and bring about many kinds of healing. 

My opportunity came in 1991, when I learned of a group going to Haiti. Preparations included lots of shots to ward off diseases and a weekly pill before, during, and after the trip to prevent malaria. While in Haiti, we visited four mission projects and then decided where we wanted to work for the week. I selected a nutrition feeding station for children whose parents had tuberculosis or AIDS. Each day when I arrived, a three-year-old boy named Charles was waiting for me to pick him up. He wanted to be carried constantly. Since I couldn’t speak his language, I sang to him as I carried him around to see what was happening with the other children. The staff didn’t ask me to do anything else. They recognized that Charles needed full-time, tender, loving care. I had never before met a child so starved for attention. While he received physical food at the center, he had a greater need for the healing that comes from knowing that someone cares. 

Twenty years later, I still remember Charles and my week of singing to him. Also vivid in my memory is the allergic reaction I had to the anti-malarial medication. Fortunately, the head-to-toe hives and itching did not start until I was home and had immediate access to an emergency room. Unfortunately, the hives returned every six hours for ten days in spite of Benadryl and steroids. For years I have banished thoughts of going on another mission trip to a malaria-plagued country. 

Today “Imagine No Malaria” offers the hope of a pair of mission blessings: the gift of health for the millions of children and their families who can be saved from a prevent-able death from malaria, and the possibility of a mission trip without the threat of malaria or medication reactions for Christians who are called to take the love of Jesus around the world. 

Prayer: Loving God, we thank you for the partners you give us for the mission you have called us to. Help us to respond in faith to your call. We pray for healing for all who are sick, and we ask for your blessing on all who are working to combat malaria. Amen. 

Rev. Barbara Drake, Pennsylvania 

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