Concordia students represent Lutheran Malaria Initiative in Tanzania
Two students from Concordia traveled to Tanzania, Africa, July 23 - Aug. 1, as part of Lutheran World Relief’s Lutheran Malaria Initiative.
Juniors Rebecca Monnier, Bellevue, Neb., and Louisa Mehl, Concordia, Mo., along with students from Concordia, Irvine and Valparaiso University spent nine days in Tanzania visiting with and learning from pastors and parishes working with the Lutheran Malaria Initiative (LMI) to fight malaria, a disease carried by mosquitoes that attacks the liver and red blood cells. In extreme cases, the disease may lead to coma or death.
Monnier explained that prior to the trip she had only been on mission trips on which she painted houses and planned a Vacation Bible School. “I so badly wanted to be a part of the hands-on work [in Africa], but that is not why God took me there. He took me there to meet people and hear stories and have my heart broken for the people affected by malaria so that I could go home and start doing everything I possibly could to be a part of the fight,” she said.
The trip marked the beginning of an initiative on campus that Monnier and Mehl, selected as fellows by the LMI through an application and interview process, would help lead. Their efforts now will focus on raising awareness and encouraging classes, sports teams and student organizations to get involved in fundraising efforts to meet a goal of $12,500. These funds will then be matched by a set of donors for a total donation of $25,000.
“We have several events in the works right now,” said Monnier, including Fight the Night, a campaign in which students will be asked to camp outside and give up the comfort of a dorm room so that someone else can have the comfort of a bed net. These bed nets protect humans from the transmission of malaria parasites while they sleep.
“We are excited to see what God has planned for our campus this year and honored to get to be a part of the work He is doing in Tanzania,” said Monnier.
To make a donation to the Lutheran Malaria Initiative and Concordia’s fundraising goal, visit lutheranmalaria.org and click the LMI Universities tab near the top of the page.