I thought I might share a little something I’m in the beginnings of working on to describe part of why we are looking to move to Africa. 

The Problem

There are millions of children throughout Sub-Saharan Africa who have lost both of their parents to AIDS. And it’s only going to get worse. Quoting The New Scientist, “The most comprehensive analysis of orphans to date suggests that by 2010 sub-Saharan Africa will be home to 50 million orphans due to AIDS.” One federal government web-site states, “Southern Africa remains the world’s worst hit AIDS infected region, accounting for more than two-thirds of HIV/infections and AIDS deaths. South Africa has more people living with AIDS than any other country in the world. A quarter of a million South Africans died of AIDS in 2002; the figure is expected to surpass 1 million a year by 2008. HIV/AIDS is the chief cause of death for South African women aged 15 to 39.”Writing as far back as 2002 one reporter in article entitled “AIDS orphans strain South Africa” notes, “’In developing countries, the norm is for about 2 percent of children to be classed as orphans,’…‘In South Africa, that figure is more like 17 percent…‘” To make matters worse, he goes on to say that, “…relatives are often reluctant to take in the children of AIDS victims because of the stigma attached to the disease, even in a country where 20 percent of all adults are infected with HIV.” With no one to take care of them, this means many orphans “…get no schooling, basic nutrition or hygiene.’” He reports, “Government officials concede that they are overwhelmed by the enormity of the problem. As the adult population drops, some fear a “Mad Max”-style future with teenage gangs roaming the streets in hard-hit cities. The country’s richest province, Gauteng, plans to set aside $30 million to provide for orphans, to be used as a $45-per-month grant for foster parents who take in children. However, neither the federal government nor other provinces have yet to come up with any strategy for helping the orphans themselves. ”

The Word

“Wash yourselves, make yourselves clean; remove the evil of your deeds from My sight. Cease to do evil. Learn to do good; Seek justice; Reprove the ruthless; Defend the orphan; Plead for the widow.” Isaiah 1:26,27

“He who is gracious to a poor man lends to the Lord, and He will repay Him for his good deed.” Proverbs 19:16

“Then He will also say to those on His left, ‘Depart from Me, accursed ones, into the eternal fire which has been prepared for the devil and his angels; for I was hungry, and you gave me nothing to eat; I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink; I was a stranger and you did not invite Me in; naked and you did not clothe Me; sick, and in prison, and you did not visit me.’ Then they themselves also will answer, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see You hungry, or thirsty, or a stranger, or naked, or sick, or in prison, and did not take care of You?’ Then he will answer them, saying, ‘Truly I say to you, to the extent that you did not do it to the least one of these, you did not do it to Me.’” Matthew 25:41-46

“This is pure and undefiled religion in the sight of our God and Father, to visit orphans and widows in their distress, and to keep oneself unstained by the world.” James 1:27

The Opportunity

Ravi Zacharias is quoted as saying, “If the church of Jesus Christ rises to the challenge of HIV/AIDS it will be the greatest apologetic the world has ever seen.” Jesus tells us that one of the ways we are to seek His fame is by doing good works. “Let your shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven.” We believe that we as Christians have a unique opportunity to do just that by demonstrating the grace of God through sacrificial love for HIV/AIDS affected orphans.