by Stan Walker
Every minute, a child in Africa dies of malaria, a mosquito-borne disease that kills one million people each year.
The death rate from malaria is improving worldwide due to various government mosquito net projects, malaria awareness, and small programs like Caleb’s Nets—our outreach project that provides mosquito nets to locals and surrounding villages.
Because our ministry is administrative in nature, we wanted to start a project where our son, Caleb, could be involved in a ministry outside of the office. Why nets? I, Stan, grew up a missionary kid in a small country in Central Africa where malaria was widespread. In high school, I almost lost my dad and my youngest sister to cerebral malaria. In fact, two different doctors said that if my sister were to live, she would have brain damage. Through God’s grace, He spared both my dad and sister from death. I learned at a young age that malaria was very dangerous, as I had lost many friends to the disease.
As we were serving here in West Africa, we noticed that so many of the night guards in our neighborhood were sick with malaria, and we thought that the best way to protect them would be to provide mosquito nets to each of them. Our first distribution started the year Caleb was born, with only 24 nets.
Our home church in the States heard about the net distribution and wanted to help us the following year. When they sent the funds, they sent enough to purchase about 100 nets. So we started looking for other ways to distribute nets. Several VBSs choose Caleb’s Nets as their project, and it began to grow. Today, it is not uncommon for us to distribute 200-300 nets in a village in a single distribution.
To-date, we have distributed roughly 3,000 mosquito nets. Our desire is to partner with existing ministries to use Caleb’s Nets as a way to help build credibility, to open new doors and areas to ministry, and of course, to have Caleb involved. It is a wonderful way for him to see the dire needs around us and to help in a small way. Most Africans do not have the funds to purchase a $2 net.
Death rates have dropped from around 1 million per year to around 500,000 per year. Most deaths occur in sub-Saharan West Africa, with young children being the most vulnerable. A treated mosquito net is one of the most effective ways to avoid being bit by a mosquito, and they have proven to save lives. As we aim through this small project to save lives physically, our desire is to also save lives spiritually. With every mosquito net distributed, each individual has the opportunity to see God’s love in action and to hear of His love for them. Please pray with us that God would continue to use Caleb’s Nets in the lives of many, including our own.
What a privilege it was to partner with CAMA Services in a Caleb’s Nets mosquito net distribution this month to school children from lower-income families. This Christmas, besides receiving a mosquito net, CAMA Services also provided a toy to each child. These gifts may be all that they receive of material possession, but each one is hearing of the gift of salvation through a tutoring program in conjunction with a local church. Thank you for your partnership in all this through your prayers and support of The Alliance.
To watch a wonderful video about Caleb’s Nets, click on the link below.