Tuesday, September 11, 2007

The Cross Project

This morning I was up early, spending some time reading the Bible and enjoying the sun coming up over the horizon. It hit me that we had been in Zambia for exactly a week, and my, how our lives have changed. I got an email from a former student in Bellingham writing how he and a friend had this moment where they were like, "whoa, Steve is in Africa." Well, we are having a lot of those as well. I had a CROSS Project orientation yesterday. CROSS stands for "Churches Removing and Overcoming Stigma and Silence of AIDS. It is an amazing ministry in their scope and approach. There are many ministries that treat the problem and person after they have come down with AIDS. But, the CROSS Project is a unique ministry that focuses on educating and equipping people by equipping the pastors and leaders of churches. They take a church through a 5 month teaching curiculum from helping people understand the disease and the myths to the actions that come from heart and sin. Starting in Genesis they move through the Bible teaching biblical principles that will help transform a life, a church and hopefully a generation of people. The impact of AIDS on Zambia is huge. It affects the family, healthcare, education and industry. The extended families are no longer able to cope because of the pressure of trying to care for deceased brothers and sisters, sons and daughters. 50% of hospital beds are occupied by people suffering from AIDS related illnesess. In 2002, two thousand teachers died while less than 1000 teachers graduated from school. And 82% of employee deaths are HIV related. So, AIDS affects every part of society, from children being educated to having enough doctors and nurses, to meeting the pressing needs of orphans and providing stability to the home. So, how do you move ahead? Well, ACTION is focusing on equipping churches to be a light to the community... We are starting small, but I see God using this in a big way in the years to come.

1 comment:

Kathy H. said...

I think this ministry sounds wonderful. I spent 3 months living in Zambia in 2004. I knew HIV/AIDS was a big problem, but when I heard Nelson Mandella on a commercial on Zambian TV state that according to the World Health Organization 1 in 5 Zambians are infected with the HIV virus, then it really hit me just how huge this problem is! The Zambians are wonderful people. Praise God for this Cross Ministry and all that you are doing there. God Bless.