World AIDS Day

1 December, 2009

Boy with ball, Mbabane, Swaziland, 2005.

Boy with ball. Mbabane, Swaziland. 2005.

My first foreign missions trip was to Swaziland, a small land-locked kingdom nestled between South Africa and Mozambique. It was a mixture of experiences and emotions that fixed my attention on world missions. It was hard to comprehend or relate to the factual knowledge I had of this country where 40% of the population is below 15 years old, where the birth rate is outpaced by the death rate, where the life expectancy is a mere 32 years, where the HIV/AIDS prevalence is 26%, a country with 40% unemployment and 69% of the population below the poverty line. (1)

These are facts with which there are no equivalents in the developed world. Yet, no matter how difficult is was to comprehend the impersonal facts of this country, it was not difficult to see the impact of these facts in the faces of the children I saw in the many orphanages our team visited.

Yet, despite the dismal forecast for future of these children, they were still children. They played and laughed as one would expect children would do. This despite the fact that they had seen mothers, fathers, aunts, and uncles die because of this disease. In the minds of the Christian missionaries, however, these children deserved every opportunity for life that any child born should have. I could see it in the eyes of those who served in these orphanages that this was an enemy to be defeated.

We can be the generation that no longer accepts that an accident of latitude determines whether a child lives or dies. But will we be that generation? – Bono(2)

That is one face of AIDS that had a great impact on me. Prior to that, my experiences with the disease were like many in the US, a tangential connection through acquaintances and friends of friends.  At present in the US, AIDS/HIV has, in recent years, been greeted with complacency.(3) This complacency puts the risk of infection “out of sight, out of mind” in young people. This is a cause for concern in ministries serving in AIDS affected communities.

As Christians then, what is our challenge?

Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the Kingdom prepared for you from the creation of the world. For I was hungry, and you fed me. I was thirsty, and you gave me a drink. I was a stranger, and you invited me into your home. I was naked, and you gave me clothing. I was sick, and you cared for me. I was in prison, and you visited me.

Then these righteous ones will reply, ‘Lord, when did we ever see you hungry and feed you? Or thirsty and give you something to drink? Or a stranger and show you hospitality? Or naked and give you clothing? When did we ever see you sick or in prison and visit you? And the King will say, ‘I tell you the truth, when you did it to one of the least of these my brothers and sisters, you were doing it to me!
– Matthew 25:34-40 (New Living Translation)

(1) https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/geos/wz.html
(2) http://en.wikiquote.org/wiki/Bono
(3) http://www.everydaychristian.com/features/story/5644/

© 2009 A Mission Proclaimed

A Mission Proclaimed is a federally recognized 501(c)(3). Your support is greatly appreciated.

One Response to “World AIDS Day”

  1. […] with this small country located in the southern section African continent, you can go to our World Aids Day post to find out more and also find links to further […]

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