$100,000

One hundred thousand dollars is an awful lot of money.

So, this morning, we pause in awe to reflect on this:

Connections has raised over $100,000 to eradicate malaria from the face of the planet.

We passed this milestone last night, at our Denton show. We’re grateful to the good folks in Denton for putting us over the top, and for coming out to enjoy the great music.

I know I speak for all the members of the band, when I say that we stand in awe and amazement. The idea for this band started out with just five us us, saying “What if?”

It’s grown into a beautiful thing that allows us the chance to play great music for thousands of people, provide a quality evening of entertainment, and raise money for several good causes. You can learn more about our band, its history, and its mission, by clicking here.

Today, however, we pause to specifically give thanks that we’ve been able to raise so much for malaria prevention. For those of you unfamiliar, you might be saying “why that cause?”

Mainly because it’s an absolutely preventable disease that still kills far too many people, mostly on the continent of Africa.

When we began this work, it was to directly support a project called “Nothing But Nets,” which was a project focuses exclusively on providing bed nets for Africa.

Within a few years, smart folks realized that bed nets were absolutely an important part, but to literally eradicate the disease, it would also take prevention, treatment, and education.

Thus, “Imagine No Malaria” was born, our current beneficiary of our anti-malaria shows. The ambitious goal of this project to literally eradicate the disease from the face of the planet. It can be done.

It’s a joint project of our own United Methodist Church, the United Nations Foundation, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, and several other very worthy NGOs.

Here’s an overview video for the project:

We’re honored to be partners with them in this effort, and to be doing our part to help.

Here’s another short video, featuring Pauley Perrette, who plays Abby Sciuto on NCIS, and is a member of the Hollywood United Methodist Church:

Every forty-five seconds.

That means that, likely, four people have died of this preventable while you read/watched this here. In the time it takes to play a Connections’ show, 113 people die.

But, here’s the awe-inspiring thing. In terms of bed-nets, the funds that Connections has raised in our shows, have saved 20 to 30,000 lives!!!

We’re so deeply grateful to be a part of it all.

If you’ve never contributed and are moved to do so, click here to donate online right now.

We want to specifically thank all of you who sometimes drive great distances to hear the band, and to all the churches who have hosted our anti-malaria shows. In addition to Denton, here are the other churches who have hosted a “Nothing But Nets” or “Imagine No Malaria” show:

Walnut Hill
Sachse
Lovers Lane
Richardson
Suncreek
Northaven
Coppell
Rockwall
McKinney
Wylie
Paris
Garland
Greenville
And, last but most definitely not least, Kaufman County.

This last group absolutely deserves special note. In two concerts, the good folks of Kaufman County, mostly small lakeside churches, have raised more than $25,000!! That’s one quarter of all we’ve raised in this effort. Copious thanks to them, and especially to our friend and colleague, Eston Williams.

Here’s the crazy thing. We’re not done celebrating great milestones.

In fact, at our next show in Allen, we’ll very likely pass two more significant fund-raising milestones.

Stay tuned. And come and see us.

And thanks to God, and all of you, who have supported us along this amazing journey.

(As always, if you like this post, then “share it” or “like” it on Facebook by clicking the box below, so others can see too…)

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Eric Folkerth is a minister, musician, author and blogger. He has been Senior Pastor of Northaven United Methodist Church in Dallas, Texas since 2001. During his tenure, church membership has grown almost 30 percent, and a completely new church facility (sanctuary and education building) has been constructed. Northaven is a leading progressive Christian congregation in the Southwest. Northaven is an eclectic collection of gay and straight families, artists, musicians, theater folks, academic theologians, lawyers and judges (go figure), socially conscious community activists, people who don't "check their brain at the door," and a wide array of others who either see it as their "last chance" inside the "institutional church," or their first trip back in decades. Eric is an avid blogger and published author.  Eric is also an award-winning singer-songwriter, who performs throughout Texas and the Southwest. He's an engaging live performer whose first CD was released in 2000. His songs have won honorable mention in both the Billboard and Great American song contests; and he's been a finalist in the 5th Street Festival and South Florida Folk Festival songwriter competitions. Eric is also a leader of Connections, a unique band comprised of United Methodist clergy and layfolk from throughout North Texas. Connections performs "cover shows" of artists like Dan Fogelberg, Chicago, Eagles, Doobie Brothers, Billy Joel, Stevie Wonder, James Taylor and others. Their shows draw crowds of between 300 and 1,000 fans, and they have raised more than $240,000 dollars for worthy charities. Eric has led or co-led hundreds of persons on mission trips around the globe, to places such as Mexico, Haiti, Russia, and Nepal. He has worked with lay persons to build ten homes, and one Community Center, in partnership with Habitat for Humanity of Dallas. He's a popular preacher, and often tackles challenging issues of social justice in his writings and sermons. His wife, Judge Dennise Garcia, is a State District Judge for Dallas, County. As judge of the 303rd Family District Court, she consistently gets high ratings from area lawyers, and was named "best judge" by The Dallas Observer. First elected in 2004, she was the first Latina ever elected to a county-wide bench in Dallas County. She was re-elected for a third term in 2010. They have the world's best daughter, Maria, and an incredible dog, Daisy. (As always, if you like this post, then "like" this on Facebook by clicking the box below, so others can see too...)

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