St. Francis UMC uses thought-provoking obstacle course to raise money for Imagine No Malaria


By Rev. Warren Cico, special contributor
St. Francis United Methodist Church used the information on the Imagine No Malaria DVD to educate the congregation about the need to help fight malaria in Africa. The information was presented to the congregation, the Sunday-school classes and the UMYF.


Participants take on the challenges of an obstacle course at St. Francis UMC to raise money for Imagine No Malaria. (photos by Sherry Schultz)
For the Oct. 20 fundraiser, we decided to have an obstacle course around the block to help the participants see how malaria was an obstacle to living and how working together we could help them overcome these obstacles.

The congregation could help in two ways: by being a participant in the obstacle course and getting donations or by giving a donation to the participants.

The mission committee provided snacks and drinks inside the church. We also played the DVD, so people inside could get more information about the problems facing the continent of Africa.

Old and young alike participated in the obstacle course. The course started with a hopscotch area with some long jumps, so the participants could think about the challenges that malaria caused.

The next stop was an area with some very heavy concrete blocks. Participants were to try to lift the whole stack of blocks by themselves, but they couldn’t. Then, they had to figure another way to get the blocks to the desired location. They used a wagon and teamwork to get this done. The idea was to see that by working together we can accomplish more and help people with their burdens.

For the next part of the course, the participants were blindfolded. They tried to make their way through the course by themselves, but, of course, they couldn’t. Then, when they asked for help, they were told what path to take to get through the course. This also helped them realize how frustrating it can be to have a problem and not have the resources to solve it.

The next station was a stack of milk crates that made a set of steps. It took balance, courage and trust to climb up the crates, and a helping hand might be needed.

The last station was a tunnel to crawl through. This reminded participants that, at times, we feel trapped by our life situation, but when we have help, there is a light at the end of the tunnel.

The young children were especially touched by what they had learned in the Sunday-school lessons. Our leading fundraisers were a 3-year-old girl and 5- and 7-year-old brothers who raised more than $150.

The total amount of money raised for Imagine No Malaria through the obstacle course was $750. However, this amount was matched by the church’s thrift store, bringing the grand total to $1,500.

Rev. Warren Cico is the pastor at St. Francis UMC.


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