Compassion reaching out to children with HIV/AIDS

By August 10, 2004

International (MNN) — “This is without a doubt the worse pandemic to ever hit in the last century or so,” says Wess Stafford, President of Compassion International. Stafford is talking about the world’s HIV/AID crisis. Stafford says it’s gone on for about 25 years, but has grown incredibly.

Stafford understands the need and is committing to get financially more aggressive in helping this health issue. “We have been a part of the solution, working through churches to really prevent this…since we understand so much of it is a behavioral thing. But, it’s has really grown. And, it’s starting to affect many of our children, especially across Africa and Asia and some spots in Latin America.” Stafford says, “You go through many communities where AIDS has ravaged the place you really only have two pieces of the population left. You’ve got little children and very elderly people.”

Compassion International is tripling the amount of money committed to the HIV/AIDS pandemic. “(We spent) a million and a half dollars on it this last year. That’s better than nothing, but it’s a drop in the bucket. And, (while) tripling that is wonderful, it’s still a drop in the bucket. The church really needs to awaken to this,” he says.

The money is going to help the local church make a difference in these lives. Stafford says this is about the only hope many of these families have. He says, “We try to maintain a low profile so the church gets the credibility and that community recognizes that little body of believers are the ones that are salt and light in (their) community,” and many of the hopeless are turning to Christ.

Stafford says churches in Africa are doing great work, but churches in the United States have failed. “The church in the United State has been very judgmental and very stingy in its willingness to invest in helping their brothers and sisters across the world with this disease,” he says.

Funding is needed to help this program. Go to http://www.compassion.com.

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