International (MNN) — In Africa, current figures from the United
Nations show there are over 80 million orphans. 12 million of those children lost
their parents to AIDS.
It's a devastating loss, but "the worst is yet to come," warns
a report issued by the UN Children's Fund. That reports predicts that by 2010,
half of the orphans in the continent will be orphaned due to AIDS.
The needs are overwhelming. Governments are trying to respond but have
varying rates of success. Yet, there's a resource that's available, and
it's largely untapped: the body of Christ.
James 1:27 says, "Religion that
God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and
widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world."
Orphan Sunday is the catalyst
bringing believers and widows and
orphans together. The result of the
interaction is awareness and support.
Roger Thomas with AMG International says this kind of support goes a long way in child sponsorship programs like
theirs. AMG teams are serving the spiritual and physical needs of children and
families through 77 childcare centers, as well as facilitating sponsorship of over 5,300 children
in 14 countries.
According to AMG, fully-funded child development programs address the full range of a child's needs.
Nutritious meals are served daily. Medical needs are addressed so that physical
problems are no longer a hindrance to the child's development. Clothes are
provided as well. Children are taught social skills and problem-solving
strategies, and receive instruction in personal cleanliness and how that
relates to health.
children are either enrolled in a public school or attend AMG's school at
the childcare center. For those in public schools, AMG helps provide
money for uniforms, books, transportation, and school fees.
After school, the
children return to the center where they receive a meal, tutoring if necessary,
and attend a Bible class. Where possible, AMG makes scholarships available for
children with the desire and ability to continue on to college, technical
school, or a Bible institute.
Not all of the children coming to
their door are orphans, but Thomas says, "If somebody brings that child, there's
somebody there that cares, at least to some degree, about that child. It may be
a relative that is interested, but can't afford to care for yet another child,
but they're at least interested in that child. And if we can come alongside them, we can provide for that child."
A sponsorship is literally the
difference between life and death. Thomas explains that aside from food, medicine and education, "We're able then to give the children
Bible studies and teach them Bible, and then to have them memorize portions
of God's Word. They then share with their parents, and they come back to Bible
studies, to church. And before you know it, the child is transformed, the
community is transformed, and a church is planted."
Sponsoring a child through AMG involves commitment to a monthly
investment of $28. Click here if you can help.