Kenya (MNN) — HIV/AIDS is pandemic across Africa. Of those living with HIV/AIDS around the world, 74-percent of them live in Africa. In 2006, 2.8 million adults and children in Sub-Saharan Africa became infected with HIV. It's a problem that can't be ignored by Christians any more.
President of Book of Hope International Rob Hoskins just returned from Kenya where he attended the International Conference on HIV/AIDS and the Bible. The trip was helpful "to discover what's presently being done to use Scripture to combat the AIDS pandemic across Sub-Saharan Africa and also to learn together about some new things that we can do as agencies to help stem the tide of AIDS."
The five-day conference revealed that while the HIV/AIDS problem is complex and there are no simplistic solutions, Christians seem to have answers.
Hoskins says, "The answer is not exclusively condoms, not exclusively abstinence and being faithful in marriage. Even more than that, we the church have the responsibility to plant the truth of God's Word in the hearts of children and young people, because it's a heart response that's needed."
Book of Hope is currently working all across Africa. "We're involved right now in about 18 countries in Sub-Saharan Africa, mainly working through the school systems," says Hoskins. "And this next year we anticipate reaching close to 20 million school children across Africa."
Already, Hoskins says, they're seeing results. He says in Swaziland–the world's highest HIV/AIDS infection rate–up to nine percent of the children are changing their values, which "long term, there will be a change in behavior. So what we're planting as seed in the hearts of children and young people in Africa today, we'll begin to see results tomorrow."
Hoskins says governments are responding favorably to the work they're doing because of the results, and the outreach is growing.
The Book of Hope is a harmony of the Gospel for children. $1 purchases books for three kids, which makes a great project for Sunday school classes, schools, or churches. It's an investment that will have a physical and spiritual impact for years to come.