Six-year-old inspires her church to Imagine No Malaria

At the tender age of 6, Rylee Burns seems to know a great deal about Jesus’ message of loving God and neighbor.
When the pastor of Rylee’s church, the Rev. Mike Smith of First UMC Brinkley, challenged the congregation to donate a $1 per day during Lent for the Imagine No Malaria effort, saying that for every $40 donated, an Easter egg would be placed in a glass vase, Rylee was carefully listening.
With her March 17 birthday on the horizon, she told her parents, Eric and Heather Burns, that she had all she needed and what she wanted most for her birthday was to be able to donate her gift money to Imagine No Malaria. Her parents agreed, and little Rylee Burns gave her $300 to the initiative.
Her generosity inspired the church, which collected more than $2,100 for Imagine No Malaria, assisting the Arkansas Conference in meeting the goal of saving 100,000 lives, or raising $1 million. Bishop Gary Mueller was able to personally thank Rylee for leading the way during a visit to First UMC Brinkley.
Arkansas United Methodists will celebrate meeting their goal at this year’s Annual Conference gathering in Rogers, Ark., a full year ahead of the goal’s deadline of June 2015.