Guest Post: Faster Pastors and the Fight Against Malaria

My friend, Brigette, runs. Even when no one is chasing her. Now she is running for a cause. I’ve asked Brigette to write a guest post about Faster Pastors and their quest in raising money to fight Malaria. If you are as moved as I am, you’ll want to donate to this team running to make a difference.

Many of us run for our waist lines and to stay healthy. In other words, we run for our own sake. This is not a bad thing inherently, but what if you can run not just for your own health but for the health or the very life of someone else? What if that person is someone you have never and will never meet? 
This is the premise of a running group of Evangelical Lutheran Church in America pastors from Colorado. The group is named Faster Pastors and was begun by Pastor Chad Kohlmeyer when he was serving a congregation in Wisconsin. He put together a group to run a Ragnar sponsored relay race to raise funds for the local camps and their sister synod of Malawi. 
Fast forward a few years. Pastor Chad now serves Atonement Lutheran in Boulder, CO and became involved in the ELCA Malaria Initiative task force. He decided to expand the idea of Faster Pastors to the Rocky Mountain Synod and tackle the global issue of malaria.
When Pastor Chad first asked for volunteers to run the Ragnar Relay Colorado (Breckenridge to Snowmass, CO-188 miles total) and raise money for the Malaria Campaign of the ELCA, 10 other runner pastors and I jumped at the opportunity to use our running as a way to live out following Christ in our lives and to love our neighbor. 
Malaria seems harmless enough to those of us who live in the developed world, but in places such as Indonesia and Africa where medical resources are scarce at best and non-existent at worst, malaria is deadly and kills one child every 60 seconds. As a mother, (and all of us on the team are parents) the thought of another mother or father holding their child as he/she dies from a preventable and treatable disease is completely unacceptable. 
Jesus cared very much for children-gathered them to him, healed them and even brought them back to life. While I am not able to physically heal these children or bring them back to life, I can offer them life through a $10 insecticide mosquito net and the prayers of God’s presence and grace in their lives. 
I have run every morning for the past eight years or so and I selfishly guard this time every day. I have run for other causes, but honestly those causes were close to my heart and affected me directly in some way. So this run is different for me. 
I do not live where my children are threatened by malaria but I am compelled to train and raise awareness as if they were. Why? Living out our faith as followers of Christ in this world where disease, death and sorrow are realities, requires us to look at all aspects of our lives, even the activities that we do for our own health and ask the question, “How is this part of my life living into my baptism as a child of God called to serve other children of God and spread the good news of love of God come down to us in Jesus Christ to all the world?” 
It is a reminder that every part of our lives, even the parts that seem to have nothing to do with our relationship with God, has everything to do with our relationship with God. All of our days and our whole lives belong to God, even when we are out of breath, sweaty and in desperate need of a shower. 
Our race is soon! We run September 7th-8th! Please visit our web page on the Rocky Mountain Synod website for more information and to donate securely via Paypal: http://rmselca.org/world/malaria/contactus_stories.htm.
The ELCA website also has more information on this deadly disease and the Church’s commitment to its eradication. Please visit: http://www.elca.org/Our-Faith-In-Action/Responding-to-the-World/ELCA-Malaria-Campaign.aspx

About the author:
Brigette Weier is the Associate Pastor of Youth and Family at Lutheran Church of the Master in Lakewood, CO. She co-authors the blog, Faith Formation Journeys, a site devoted to sharing children’s sermons and family devotionals.

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