Saturday, September 24, 2011

Malaria...2 million illnesses a year!

Malaria is disease caused by Plasmodium parasites. Plasmodia are transmitted between humans by the bite of an Anopheles mosquito that carries the parasite. When Plasmodium parasites enter the human bloodstream, they travel to the liver and reproduce quickly. Symptoms are fever, chills, body aches, vomiting and if not addressed quickly can result in anemia, brain damage and death.

When you think of Malaria, you often don't think of the United States, however this disease has affected people since the beginning of human history. Back in the 1940's, it was such a problem that Disney created a short film entitled "The Winged Scourge" seen below.

Today, half the world's population is at risk. The vast majority of malaria cases and malaria-related deaths occur in sub-Saharan Africa, according to the World Health Organization which has called this region "the heartland of malaria." Children are the hardest hit. According to Unicef 85% of those who die from malaria are under the age of 5. This year alone 800,000 children will die.

Vaccines for malaria have been in the works for some time. Clinical trials have been done, however results have not yet been significant. Medication can be taken to suppress the disease from presenting, however it is too expensive for those that are hit the hardest. These people barely have money to feed their families.

This week, two babies from the orphanage we will be joining in a few short months were taken to the hospital. One of those babies had a severe case of malaria and was put on an IV. Education, preventative measures (mosquito nets, repellents) and early detection are key in saving the lives of children. I ask that you please pray for these babies, Paco and Christiane. They are stable and improving, but things can turn so very quickly.

Love and Blessings!

Monday, September 19, 2011

The call to battle has sounded

Throughout history many battle cries have been sounded. A Battle Cry is a yell or chant taken up in Battle, usually by members of the same military unit. Battle cries are not necessarily articulate, although they often aim to invoke Patriotic or religious sentiment. Their purpose is a combination of arousing aggression and raise spirit on one's own side and causing intimidation on the hostile side.

When Amy and I answered our call and gave up the life that we knew to pursue the will of Christ for our lives, the battle cry was sounded. We saw the injustice of evil that has been raging like a wild fire in Africa. Poverty, Starvation, Disease, illiteracy, and the dark veils of Islam and Animism. It was a battle we could not walk away from. The trumpet has sounded and we are marching forward. The one thing we are made aware of is that the battle begins the moment the cry is heard by the enemy. Our case is no different. The attack comes from all directions, and it comes hard.

This is why it is important to have the army assembled and prepared before the cry. We have been blessed with a great team, church, and family that has been lifting us up in prayer from the moment we decided to go to battle. The more people we have praying, the stronger we become. The closer to the battle we get, the more frequent the attacks become. But we are not alone, When we suited up, when we took up arms, others joined us. Many came forward and said, "I'm all in!" whether it was spiritually with prayer, financially, or even physically, the army was formed. The charge was on. As I look around, I am humbled as I read: 

For the Lord your God is going with you! He will fight for you against your enemies, and he will give you victory! --Deuteronomy 20:4

Standing not next to us, but ahead of us is God the Creator, taking on the battle that we have been called to so we can be assured of Victory. As Christ is ahead of us, we need the rest of the army behind us, encouraging, equipping, and praying for our strength, our courage, our purity, and our focus. We need the help of all, to make sure we stay behind the one that goes ahead of us. Please join the battle.

With Love and Unity in Christ,