Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Bite Me

When we go to Uganda, we have to take anti-malaria pills every day since our bodies have not built up an immunity to malaria. The pills can be miserable, causing all sorts of side-effects, all of which I will always say are worth to keep from getting the dreaded illness. On our trip last August, our team was sitting at dinner. We were laughing and having a good time. My friend Ashley had just taken her malaria pill when she saw a mosquito and shouted out for all to hear, "BITE ME! I JUST TOOK MY MALARIA PILLS!"

Malaria is a parasite transmitted through the bite of an infected mosquito. The parasites multiply in the liver and infect the red blood cells. Symptoms include high fever, terrible throbbing headaches, and vomiting. Without treatment, it will quickly become life-threatening by disrupting blood supply to vital organs. About half of the world's population live in areas at risk for contracting the illness, but the majority of deaths occur in sub-Saharan Africa.

It's a hot, sticky evening. She sits near her mother who is cooking rice over an open fire. She hears a buzzing, but sees nothing. Then she feels it. A quick prick makes her jump. Her reflexes spring into action and smack at her leg, but it's too late. In that split second, malaria has staked its claim on another precious child, and over the next few days, that child's body will have to fight for its life.

Every 30 seconds, an African child succumbs to malaria.

Every one of those deaths could be prevented.

Malaria is entirely treatable, and completely avoidable. Medications can treat the infected person, bringing them back to full health. Nets treated with insecticide can protect an entire family from the bite that brings malaria.

(Click here for a video about malaria)
Today, April 25, is World Malaria Day. If you'd like to find out more about what you can do to in the fight against malaria, click here.

It's time to tell malaria to bite me.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

A New Dynamic

Ok, so it comes as no surprise to you that sometimes I just plain stink at updating the blog. It's been far too long. Until now I haven't seemed to have much to say. Or maybe that's not entirely true. There have been some things going on that have knocked me down hard enough that for a few weeks I stopped writing altogether, which for me is not normal. It would be like asking a fish to stop swimming. A couple weeks ago I picked up a pen and started up again and haven't looked back. The rest of my absence, well the rest the time I was teaching...

7th grade Science...

If my life were a tv show, this is where we'd play that creepy dun dun dun music, because my degree is in elementary and my subject area is English. So to plan for and teach 7th grade science for 5 weeks was a new adventure.

Now I'm back to my regular old substitue teaching with a new classroom and new students each day. For now it's giving me time to plan for what the Lord has in store this summer.

Back in February my dad and I hopped in the car and drove down to Chattanooga, TN. The director of AMG Uganda was visiting the US, and I was hoping for a chance to talk with him. During a meeting with him and Pete Lafakis (the man in charge of AMG's missionaries around the world), I was asked to return to Uganda in July to prepare for the team that comes in August. I will be there for about 6 weeks.

Where the January trip served as a way to get my feet wet, the July trip will be more of a dive into the deep end. It will be a training of sorts where I'm given more responsibilities in planning for the team's ministry. This will be a medical trip, which I have never taken part in before, but I am looking forward to witnessing what God will accomplish this summer.

Don't worry. I won't be leaving my family behind the whole time. My parents will be joining me at some point during the summer to take part in the ministry.

We are very excited about what God has in store for the future. But as you can see, the nature of our ministry as a family is taking on a new dynamic. We ask for your prayers as we navigate through these changes. Our goal remains to serve the Lord by serving His people, and in the end giving Him the glory.

We're glad you're along for the ride. It will certainly be a new adventure. Thank you for your continued love, prayers, and support.

- Aly