Friday, September 21, 2018

MOSQUITOES: My 2018 Night of Nets Reflection

Last week, seemingly out of nowhere, swarms of mosquitoes descended upon Grand Rapids. I spent several late afternoons and evenings squirming and squatting while watching soccer matches and trying to cut my lawn. The large and unusual number of mosquitoes was a constant topic of conversation with fellow parents, students, and even random strangers around our community. For me, the timing was a bit ironic as I have been getting ready for our annual Night of Nets matches during the fall athletic seasons at Cornerstone.  As an unusual infestation of biting insects made us itch and slap our arms and run inside as dusk approached I couldn't help but think about my friends in Zambia who will soon be seeking to escape the bite of a mosquito for reasons far greater than an irritating itch or humming noise.

As the rainy season approaches in sub-Saharan Africa MALARIA season will come with the rain so desperately needed. The insects that come out at night bring sickness and death and fear to families and communities and nations even in 2018. I saw many people grabbing bug spray in cans and packets to try and escape the bites of mosquitoes. And I couldn't help but think of the bed nets that offer the chance to escape the dread and illness and missing school days and loss of income and the unexpected end of lives from the deadly bite of a parasite carrying bug on the other side of the world.

I know dear friends and even members of our Cornerstone men's soccer team whose own lives have been altered by this creature that has suddenly appeared in our community. They've helped me to understand what life is outside my little piece of this world and have made my life richer and deeper and more compelling because of our friendship and their expression of what it means to love God and love others. And I find myself now longing for a day soon where they will no longer worry or be concerned about what MALARIA will do to their current and future lives.

SO in a strange way this unexpected flock of GR Mosquitoes has been a helpful and motivating reminder to me about why I love and am as passionate as ever about the NIGHT OF NETS initiative we will be celebrating and participating in for an eighth straight year at CORNERSTONE U this weekend. Simply put, there are things happening in our world that need our attention...things that can be changed...things that shouldn't be if we come together to respond as the CHURCH...

Tonight and tomorrow we will play the BEAUTIFUL GAME that we both love...and that has always been and will always be a connection filled with joy and love between our community here and the people in is a day filled with hope and belief for me that God can and has and will do surprising things in our global community to mutually transform and redeem and restore lives now and for eternity...

And I am quite sure many in the crowd wearing a Night of Nets shirt will be swatting at a bothersome mosquito...and I will smile to myself as I ponder that children in homes in a beautiful nation thousands of miles away won't be worrying about mosquitoes as they fall asleep because of the shirts they are wearing and the power of sport to save lives through a bed net...


No comments: