USA (MNN) — Tomorrow is World AIDS Day. 33-million people around the world have the disease, for which there is no cure. Today hundreds of Christians are at Saddleback Church in Lake Forest, California for the Global Summit for AIDS and the Church. The Purpose Driven Ministries' summit is designed to awaken the evangelical church to this disease that's taking away thousands, even as we speak.
World Vision's global health director Dr. Anne Peterson is at the conference. She says the need to awaken Christians today is important, according to a survey they released yesterday. "One in three people still don't really know very much about the global AIDS crisis, but those who do, do care (and) do feel like we should be doing more, especially if they have any personal connection."
According to Peterson, "We have 6,000 children who are losing parents to AIDS on a daily basis. It is still huge and in fact we are facing a tidal wave of orphans across the world, because every parent who dies is leaving behind numbers of children."
This is the third Global Summit on AIDS and the Church. Christians, says Peterson, have taken their time getting involved "until they realized the impact it had on children and frankly on the women who are now infected and not on any of their own choosing or control."
She says when Christians get involved, much can be accomplished. "If every person who is a Christian and wants to follow Christ is obedient to care for just one child or one mother who is affected by this disease, or many of the other things that are devastating, we would not have the disease and death and poverty that is out there."
Peterson, who worked for the U.S. government before joining World Vision, says this pandemic can't be controlled without the network of the global church. "The church is the foundation, its link to their values and their behaviors. The world can't address and win this war without church and people of faith getting involved. And that call to leadership is happening at this conference."
As Christians are able to show the compassion of Christ, they're able to share their faith, and many are coming to Christ.