Sunday, December 13, 2009

Christmas and the Millennium Development Goals

Reprinted from the December issue of Prints of Peace,  the monthly newsletter for Peace Lutheran Church in Las Cruces

By Becca Winship

Jesus is HIV Positive. Jesus is dying of a hunger-related disease. Jesus has malaria. Jesus has no clean drinking water. Jesus needs a new pair of shoes for Christmas. How are you serving Jesus, your neighbor?

Four youth from Peace Lutheran Church recently returned from the Rocky Mountain Synod High School Youth Gathering. As some of you know, we have been focusing on advocacy since our return from New Orleans, and we spent a weekend talking about the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), the ONE Campaign, and what we, as young people can do to reach those MDGs by 2015.

We were treated to a wonderful conversation with Bishop Mark Hanson, who shared with us the story of a Bishop in Tanzania who opened a sermon “Jesus is HIV Positive” and what that means for us as Christians.

As baptized believers, our call to action is to live out our faith in such a way that we treat all people with love, honor, and respect. We are to help where we’re able, we are to fulfill the challenge of Jesus-to love our neighbor as ourselves, and we are to work hard-together- to achieve the MDGs.

Bishop Hanson challenged us to think about what we as congregations are doing to help achieve the MDGs as part of the ministry we do together. Listed below are the 8 MDGs; take some time to reflect on what you as a minister in this congregation are doing to help achieve them, and spend some time thinking about how we (or you) can do more.
The Rocky Mountain Synod Youth were challenged this weekend by our Lutheran Youth Organization to take on MDG #6 and participate in the Lutheran Malaria Initiative. The LYO challenged each congregation present at the gathering to raise $1,000 by the Synod Assembly in May. In addition, each participant was challenged to raise $100. That sets our RMS fundraising goal for the Malaria Initiative at $75,000. That $75,000 will provide approximately 25,000 mosquito nets to be placed over beds in countries where malaria is rampant to help prevent transmission of the disease.

The youth in our congregation are challenging you to help us raise $1,500, one and a half times what we were challenged to raise. Only $3 (three dollars), approximately what you would spend on a coffee out, buys a mosquito net to help save a child from contracting malaria. Buy a mosquito net as an alternative gift for someone this Christmas.

Help save lives.  We have been given a beautiful gift-the love and grace of Jesus Christ, who gave himself to die so that we may be saved. We are set apart as baptized believers, with a faith that calls us to action, and we can change the world. ONE voice at a time, ONE step at a time, ONE simple change will make a difference.

Join us in the fight; help us say “Time’s up!” to all that prevents our world from being ONE.

The author is the Family Ministry Coordinator at Peace Lutheran Church 

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