Sunday, January 24, 2010

Sharing ministry

Today, I joined forces with Brad and Christi Guffey to speak at a church
located just near our Kasupe Ciyanajano property. It all came down last
week when the Guffeys, their parents and our families went out to see the
property that ACTION Zambia owns and plans to use as retreat/conference
centre. I had asked Christi to take some pictures of children while touring
the facility to use for some promotional videos for our camp. But when we
got there, the pastor Victor Makundu said that he forgot to take into
consideration that church goers take their children out to the farm on
Saturdays. So, we didn't get to take pictures. As we were talking about when
to reschedule, I was talking to the pastor about how Brad was a doctor with
an HIV/AIDS specialty. His eyes got wide and he shared how they had an
HIV/AIDS service coming up and he wasn't able to get a video and he really
needed a speaker. And, oh, he needed it next week:) Anyway, we decided to
think and pray about it. On Tuesday, we decided it would work and so I
called Victor. He said, "Oh yes, I was already planning on you!"

Anyway, it was really one of the greatest, I think, most significant
services that I have ever been a part of for a church here in Zambia. I
preached on fear, especially in light of HIV/AIDS and then Brad came up
behind me and shared the realities of someone who lives by fear and shame
and the damage that does to lives in Zambia. I say significant because it
gave both the a pastoral call to fear God and not people, shame, stigma,
fear of getting tested and caring for HIV/AIDS people, but then also to hear
Brad share medically how people die needlessly because they are fearful of
getting tested and afraid of the stigma of getting tested and having to take
ARV's was an amazing closer. I don't quite know how to put it into words
the revelation that occurred in my mind about the darkness the Zambians are
under and how I saw it clearly for the first time. Fear has kept people from
getting treated. How do we break the fear? We gotta preach and pray...
After the service was over, Victor shared how they were going to bring in
someone to test in the church and they were not going to be controlled by
fear anymore. This was very, very unusual to have a pastor make this kind
of a statement and motion. Amazing.

So, please pray for the people in Zambia who live in fear of a disease that
though isn't curable, is treatable and can allow people to live a long,
healthy life. Pray that they wouldn't allow fear to keep them from getting
tested so they can know if they have the disease so they can know if they
need treatment. Pray that they would talk about it, and learn how to care
for each other. Pray that the church will stand up in the gap for this
disease that carries the same stigma and shame as leprosy back in bible
times. And pray for our CROSS HIV/AIDS ministry that we will continue to
have a strong presence teaching churches how to help people out of the
darkness in to the light of Christ, medicine and the love of Jesus.
Amen.

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