USA/South Africa churches work together to combat HIV/AIDS

By October 31, 2006

USA (MNN) — HIV/AIDS continues to run rampant through Africa and other parts of the world. For the most part, the evangelical church has been nearly silent. Speaking out about the church’s silence, Purpose Driven Ministries’ Rick and Kay Warren are highly involved in stirring up the church to action. Since they’ve started talking about it, more churches have started to pay attention.

Fish Hoek Baptist Church in Cape Town, South Africa started Living Hope Centre, their HIV/AIDS ministry. They reach out to 1,000 children with HIV prevention. They also provide counseling for patients before and after HIV testing. They also work with parents before their deaths to be sure orphaned children will be cared for by extended family members.

Living Hope takes a holistic view to the HIV/AIDS crisis. They include community development in the response to AIDS. Through a vegetable gardening project, they’re working to improve nutrition to ward off the affects of HIV. And, craft centers offers employment and dignity to men and women touched by the pandemic.

However, Fish Hoek isn’t doing this on their own. The Brentwood Baptist Church in Brentwood, Tennessee is one of the churches partnering with them. They’re providing funding, volunteer teams and more to assist their HIV/AIDS outreach. They’ve helped with computer, construction and landscape projects. They helped teach children and volunteered with hospice and home-based care ministry, as well as assisted with craft project development and distribution.

While the partnership has strengthened Living Hope’s ministry, it’s also increased the missions heart at Brentwood Baptist. Two years ago they had 150 people serving on missions teams, now it’s close to 450. In 2001 the church gave $72,000 for missions, last year they gave more than $1 million. Additionally, more Brentwood members are considering full-time missionary service.

Pray that more churches will catch the vision for HIV/AIDS outreach through Purpose Driven Ministry’s Global Summit on AIDS and the Church, November 30-December 1 at Saddleback Church in California. Click here for information on the AIDS conference.

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