USA (MNN) — Millions have already died and many more are suffering from HIV/AIDS around the world. It’s pandemic and it’s not getting better. It’s getting worse. At Urbana ’06, World Vision focused on HIV/AIDS with a couple of exhibits that touched the heart of young people.
Vice President of World Vision Steve Haas describes the exhibits. “They’re called the AIDS Experience, in which people get a chance to take a life lane, in that they’re going to walk in the lives of four different individuals whose lives have been impacted by HIV and AIDS.”
Haas says the participant actually walks the life of that one child, “Actually, even going into the clinic in which they find out, after their stories been told, if they’re HIV positive or negative. And, by the time you lived in this life-lane, you actually take on the persona of that child. You’re living — walking in their steps. So, in a sense, it’s a reverse vision trip — Africa comes to you.”
It’s important for young people in North America to learn about the disease. “When we have 1 million infections here, it’s easy for someone to say, ‘I haven’t seen it, I don’t understand it, and therefore I don’t need to deal with it. But, we’re talking about 69 million people who have been infected globally. So, it’s critical that we begin to understand just what this greatest humanitarian crisis of all time is.”
While young people continue to look at humanitarian work and evangelism together, Haas says. “What’s happening now is that we’re watching Christianity — those two things coming together, so that the Gospel really is the Gospel — a robust Gospel — where compassion and word come together. And, of course around the issue of HIV/AIDS both are desperately needed.”
Haas says this pandemic directly affects their work. “This is killing our kids. We’re child focused. When you’re talking 16 million kids who’s going to feed them? What are they going to be when they grow up? Who’s going to tuck them in at night? So, AIDS for us has become public enemy number one.”
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