Here is a recent note from my Zambian friend Lawrence who is the director of the Jubilee Center in Ndola, Zambia where I will be heading in 3 weeks with a team of 14 to serve and learn and be moved to response from CU...I never, ever want to stop being bothered...
In the Post Newspaper article of Sunday 8th April Dr. Mannesseh Phiri asked an important question, “What drives a man like Bill Gates to bother about preventing Zambian babies, children, women and men from getting infected with HIV in Zambia?” How many leaders - the prosperous, government and church leaders read this article? How many who in the past were not disturbed, were stirred up to do something because of the question? How many of our key leaders see HIV and AIDS as a threat to our well-being and development? Could our blind pride on some wonderful things that have happened such as the declaration of Christian Nation, growing church population, growing economy, peaceful change of government and an accompanying lack of openness on the challenges of HIV and AIDS be standing in the way of us overcoming the epidemic? One thing is certain: Unless we as leaders soon force ourselves to reflect on this deep rooted question by Dr. Phiri, we are doomed to more HIV and AIDS crisis.
‘The hour has come’ for political, business and church leaders to come together and discuss the leaders attitude and the individual responsibility that has created the problem of HIV and AIDS. It is about time we leaders from all walks of life come together and discuss how we can do more from own resources in the fight against HIV and AIDS. Here is an example of what few committed people can do. Recently, our organization (Jubilee Centre) had the privilege of hosting 11 high school students from the USA who came to learn about the beauty and challenges of our great nation. They were extremely challenged by the needs of orphaned children who are also infected with AIDS. On their return home they shared with their parents about the plight of children infected with HIV and AIDS. With the support of their parents, they raised enough funds to feed 200 children three times a week with nutritious food for one year. In addition, they also raised enough funds to help three churches start income generating activities to sustain the feeding program after their one year commitment.
What made these high school students be bothered about giving hope of long life to the infected children? Children infected by AIDS and lacking food are unbearably tough to watch, and normal people don’t soon forget the dreadful sights of underfed children. The unpleasant situation of these children made their high school counter parts from another continent cry out to their parents to do something. However, most importantly, these high school students are Christians who belong to a local church that constantly give them awareness to have their hearts broken with things that break the heart of God. They get involved because they know that this is what God would want them do.
We may not know what inspires Bill Gates to do something about the spread of HIV and AIDS in Zambia. But like those high school students, Christians are inspired by Christ’s call to loving God and to loving our neighbor. Therefore as Christian leaders we are called to offer leadership strategies to believers in cabinet, to lawyers, accountants and in business to serve passionately with their spiritual gifts. This is what these eleven children did. They offered leadership strategies to their parents on how they can help prolong life to children infected with HIV and AIDS. I pray that as you lead with all your might, skill, and all your faith, you will inspire your members to proclaim and demonstrate the gospel to a world broken by poverty, HIV and AIDS and injustices.