|Commentary: God's hand is all over Nothing But Nets campaign
Dec. 1, 2006
A UMNS Commentary
By Martha Taylor*
Moments of clarity are gifts from God. For some, they come as naturally as breathing. For others, they are few and far between.
My moments stand out in my memory. Years ago, I was in an exercise class
when I heard a voice say, "Go home!" I immediately left class and
hot-footed it to the house. My son had fallen from a second-story
balcony and had a head fracture. He fully recovered, and today I still
vividly recall that insistent voice. I was not a practicing Christian
then, but I now recognize what I heard came from God.
I have conviction about my position as the conference communications
director. Accepting this position was easy, even though it involved
leaving a job I loved and a community I called home for 13 years. I knew
with certainty that all I had experienced in my personal, professional
and church life had led me to this point, time and place. A moment of
I had that same certainty about God's involvement when I heard about
Nothing But Nets and The United Methodist Church's involvement. Nothing
But Nets is a partnership between the people of The United Methodist
Church, Sports Illustrated, NBA Cares, the National Basketball
Foundation, the United Nations Foundation, Measles Initiative,
Millennium Promise and other global partners. How did the church get to
the table with such notables? God's hand is all over it.
In May 2005, Rick Reilly, the noted Sports Illustrated columnist,
wrote about the critical need for insecticide-treated bed nets in
Africa to stop the spread of malaria, a killer that causes 3,000 deaths
each day. In his column, Reilly urged readers to donate funds for bed
nets. In two weeks, he raised $1.2 million.
Simply put, Nothing But Nets is a campaign to eradicate malaria in
Africa. This can be accomplished through the distribution and proper use
of bed nets. One net can cover a family of four and will be effective
for many years. A $10 donation will purchase one net, and 100 percent of
that $10 goes toward that purchase. There is no overhead or
administrative costs, since a philanthropist donated $1 billion to cover
|A UMNS photo by Mike DuBose
Rick Reilly (right) visits Yesirat Gafani and her son, Afusat Gafani,
to see a Nothing But Nets-provided mosquito net at their home in Epe,
Any individual or church can give to Nothing But Nets, but United
Methodist youth should be particularly excited about getting involved.
Youth groups that raise money for Nothing But Nets will be eligible for
prizes at Youth 2007, an international event for United Methodist youth
in Greensboro, N.C., July 11-15. Fund-raising awards will include a trip
to Africa to distribute bed nets, a trip to New York to tour the United
Nations and a variety of NBA gear.
A cell phone text-messaging network provides campaign updates to youth.
They can send a text message to 47647, type "Nets" in the text field,
and hit "send" to be added to the network.
The Arkansas Conference is partnering with The Buzz 103.7 FM radio
station in Little Rock for the "High School Basketball Game of the
Week." Beginning in January, we will have commercials airing with a
message about the Arkansas United Methodist Church and Nothing But Nets.
The talent for the spots is Joe Kleine, former Razorback and NBA star.
During each halftime, a local church youth minister will be interviewed
about the positive impact the United Methodist Church is having on youth
in local communities. Arkansas young people will also have an
opportunity to tell what their youth groups are doing to raise funds for
Nothing But Nets.
How can you get involved? Go to www.NothingButNets.net
and create a team for your family, friends, basketball or soccer teams
and leagues, Sunday school class, youth groups, church, women's and
men's groups. Challenge one another. You can track fund raising online.
Join or sponsor another team. Think of creative, fun fund-raising events
and involve the youth in your community. Make a gift this Christmas in
honor or memory of a loved one.
|A UMNS photo by Mike DuBose
Muji Bakare clutches an insecticide-treated mosquito net, provided by the Nothing But Nets campaign, in Apapa, Nigeria.
To read Rick Reilly's Sports Illustrated article or learn more about Nothing But Nets, go to www.NothingButNets.net. The Nov. 28 edition of Sports Illustrated
also has an update from Reilly, "Nothing But Thanks," describing his
recent trip to Nigeria to distribute bed nets. Staff with United
Methodist Communications accompanied him on that trip and shot photos
One last note. Years ago, Reilly had the opportunity to go to Tanzania
with his family. While there, they played soccer with a group of kids.
The ball was a taped-up wad of newspaper, and two rocks were the goal.
When he returned to the United States, he sent some soccer balls and
nets. Here's what Reilly wrote last May:
"I kick myself now for that. How many of those kids are dead because we
sent the wrong nets?" A moment of clarity. Don't let us miss our moment.
*Taylor is director of communications for the United Methodist Church's Arkansas Annual Conference.
News media contact: Tim Tanton, Nashville, Tenn., (615) 742-5470 or firstname.lastname@example.org.