Ava was at vacation Bible school with some of her cousins, and they played a game of “Malaria Tag.” Her Bible school teachers told the kids about how the ELCA Malaria Campaign is working to eradicate malaria, a preventable and treatable disease that kills a child in Africa every 60 seconds.
“When I heard how many kids were dying and that we could just help out with a little bit of money, that was great,” Ava shares.
When Ava returned home to Faith Lutheran Church, an ELCA congregation in Wolverton, Minn., she couldn’t wait to tell the kids at Sunday school what she’d learned.
“She just could not let it go until Sunday school started in her home church in September,” Ava’s mother, Sara, shares. “She was determined that she was going to do something to help.”
For a month, Ava spoke to her Sunday school class using statistics, questions and games designed to teach her classmates about the disease. “She would ask the kids questions and have little treats as prizes,” Sara shares. She even sent a note home to the kids’ parents explaining how an offering to the ELCA Malaria Campaign could help people in need.
Next she recruited her friend, Eva, to bring the cause to the adults in the congregation.
“After our worship service we go downstairs to our basement to have coffee,” Sara explains. “Ava and her friend took a little toy baby cradle and used wire and a tent to cover it and put a little baby in it, and she had Hershey Hugs wrapped up in the net.” Anyone who made a donation could then take a Hershey Hug as a gift.
Ava also addressed the entire congregation during Sunday worship. She was determined to help, her mother says. “I think what made her heart so heavy is that she found out that malaria is treatable and preventable.”
Ava wound up raising $1,004, which she then donated to the ELCA Malaria Campaign. “It feels really good that I got to make a difference,” Ava says, and she encourages others other kids to do something in their own congregations.
“It’s really fun,” she says. “Make it fun for other people just so they can learn it in a different way.”