Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Bedtime Nettings

Our bedtime routine is probably very similar to a lot of people back in the States.  Starting just after dinner, we bathe the kids, put on their jammies, tuck in the little ones (Maddie & Ellie), have the older two brush their teeth and finally climb into bed for a story and prayers.  The difference, though, is that every night as the kids climb into bed, we have one more routine - pulling down the mosquito nets.

I knew that malaria was one of the major diseases affecting Africa, but as I watched Kerri read to the children, this evening, I decided to go and find out more about the disease and just how helpful these nets were at preventing it.  Here's what I found out...

In 2006 the World Health Organization estimated that there were over 200 million malaria cases and nearly 1 million deaths related to those cases.  What's more astonishing is that 90% of all malaria deaths occur in Sub-Saharan Africa.  That means that one person in Sub-Saharan Africa dies from Malaria every 35 seconds and most of the victims are 5 years of age and younger.

But mosquito nets can and do help.  There have been studies that have shown that treated mosquito nets can reduce the chance of malaria transmission in high-risk areas by nearly 50%.  These same nets, which cost roughly 10 U.S. dollars, can protect an entire family for up to 4 years without being retreated.  

As I researched, I was blown away by the numbers.  I didn't realize the widespread effects of this particular disease.  I didn't realize how many people, mostly children, died each year.  I also didn't realize how something as simple as a net could have saved many of these lives.  I was in the dark.

But our God is a God who likes to bring things into the light and He as certainly done this for us.  One of the things that God has been teaching both Kerri and me during our time here in Zambia is that we have been blessed to be a blessing.  We should be thankful for every blessing, both spiritual and physical, that the Lord provides, but we should also go a step further and look for ways to bless those around us with the same blessings He has given us.  

I think that, on this evening, He was showing me a blessing that I hadn't really considered a blessing before.  He was showing me the blessing of mosquito nets.  I know this may sound stupid, but He was!  So, now, I'm eagerly waiting.  I know he has shown me this blessing so that I can bless someone else in a similar way.  I'm just wonder who it will be.

May the lesson He is teaching me encourage you to look for the different ways that God is blessing you and then find ways to use that blessing to bless others for the glory of Christ!

1 John 3:17

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