For HIVAfrica 2013, our mission (June27 – July 14) will be a little different. We are dividing into 2 teams of 11 people (from 8 states).
Team Medical and Care Outreach will go forward as we regularly do with our Team leader and doctor, Kathy O’Connell, three nurses, and support persons who will distribute blankets, mosquito nets, worm pills, medications, clothing, hoes, machetes, seeds, mattresses and a million hugs in the name of Jesus.
The Vacation Bible School (VBS) Team will do something well-known in America amongst most churches, but rarely if ever done in Africa, especially for AIDS orphans. Team VBS will be serving 420 AIDS orphans with fun, crafts, T-shirts, lunch, skits, games and a million hugs in the name of Jesus. This is a huge undertaking doing it 7 times in two countries and three languages! Led by Joni Sonnenberg, Lori Buccino, and Amy Bringhurst this team will break ground in the hearts of those children so often forgotten completely about.
Over the 18 days, the team hopes to share the Gospel of Jesus in very real demonstrations of God’s love to over 3000 people.Read More
Did you read about the baby girl, born in Mississippi to a woman with HIV, who was found with HIV in her blood shortly after birth? Care providers quickly started the infant on a full set of three HIV medicines (usually, only one or two are used in exposed babies to prevent infection).
The medicines were continued for 18 months, but then the mother and child went missing from care. When they returned after almost five months without medicines, no evidence of active HIV infection was found in the child. The medical team performed an exhaustive array of tests to try to confirm the prior presence of HIV and its subsequent eradication, and to rule out rare forms of resistance to HIV infection. Their medical doctor and the media have now declared this child “cured” of AIDS!
It’s really a broad jump to say that this baby was cured. In fact what happened to this baby is what would happen to ALL babies of HIV infected mothers if given the AIDS medications. The chances for an HIV+ mother to give birth to an HIV+ baby are about 30% or about 1 in 3 children born. With proper medical care and medication before the birth that can be dropped to about 1%. But even with DNA tests being done at birth, the chances are very high that the antibodies found in the babies blood stream for HIV where still a residue of his or her mother’s virus. The truth is no one really knows if the baby was HIV+ to begin with. If anything, as Dr. Marc Siedner of Harvard Medical School said, “It seems more likely that her treatment prevented her, after exposure to HIV, from being infected.”
So the great news is that this toddler is showing signs of being HIV negative but the truth is probably not really “cured”.
With over 16 million AIDS orphans in the world, the need for someone, anyone, to help them is huge! He Intends Victory through our outreach, Terry’s Kids, is committed to helping all of those AIDS orphans that we can. But where do you start? And can we really make a difference?
Those were both questions I asked the Lord while on my first trip to Africa in 2001. I was in a remote village in Central Uganda called Nagamuli in with my HIV co-workers, Herb Hall and Mike McIntrye. We were there to “spy out the land”, that is to see if the ministry of He Intends Victory would work in Africa. The three hours over bumpy dirt roads and trails it took to get to this village were quickly forgotten as soon as I saw the 200+ mostly women and children dancing as we approached. They were happy to see us, that was for sure. AIDS, this far out of the city? Yes, many of the men in this village had already died and their infected widows were doing the best they could to raise their 2 or 3 or 6 children. But when you have no visible support, when you are as a mother are yourself sick with HIV infection, when you have no money to buy seed or food, even having an acre of land doesn’t help much. And then what happens when ‘mom’ finally dies? Where do the children go? When the disappointment that we were not doctors finally subsided, the joy that we were pastors prompted the women to bring their tiny, sickly babies to us for prayer. It wasn’t long before I heard in my heart that soft and gentle voice of the Holy Spirit, “Start with the one in front of you”. It was a privlilege to pray and know that we could do more to help these helpless children as we wept through our words to God and it was there in our hearts that Terry’s Kids was birthed.
Terry Duffy was Board member, friend, sister in Jesus, and committed to helping people infected and affected by HIV/AIDS all over the world. But Terry never had any children of her own so all kids became Terry’s Kids. And when she finally went home to heaven from cancer in July of 2002, it made sense to honor her memory and her love for AIDS orphans by calling our AIDS orphan sponsorship program, Terry’s Kids.
For the last five years we have been blessed to have Terry’s Kids working in Uganda, Kenya, Ethiopia, India, and Paraguay. Today we have over 50 children sponsored who are now able to go to school, wear a school uniform and shoes, eat healthy food every day and all in the name of Jesus! One great thing about Terry’s Kids, unlike all other AIDS orphans programs is that ALL of the $ 40 a month to sponsor a child through our outreach goes to the child’s needs!
So as of January 1, 2013 we are pleased to share that we have now added Tanzania and Nepal to our Terry’s Kids countries.
This will soon make our potential a total of 200 children! Yet most of our children are waiting and praying for someone, anyone to care. Please don’t think that that is the total number of children under the He Intends Victory umbrella who could qualify for this program. I recently asked our 20 Country Directors what the total number of children under their care is for whom Terry’s Kids could help. The answer was 11,056! It can’t be that many!! But it is. Then the question comes to my mind, “Can we really make a difference?” And the Lord spoke to my heart and I heard, “If each of you will care on my behalf, you can change the world for these children!” There it was. Just start with the one in front of you and little by little, child by child, we will make a difference!
Do you want to hear what they say? Stephen from Uganda says to his sponsor, “I want to thank God for you and the help you always give. I thank you because I have been able to go on with my studies and I have been promoted to Primary 7.” Yeabsira from Ethiopia says, “Now I am a grade one student. I love you, I love my mom. I love my studies. How are your studies? I thank you for your support. I am very thankful for your being my sponsor. I pray for God to bless you and your family.” And Resty a young teenager from Uganda says, “ I can’t begin to thank you for your continuous support towards my future.”
Our goal this year, 2013, is to have 200 children sponsored. It wouldn’t hard. It’s the equivalent of 8 Starbucks or 2 movies and a popcorn. We COULD do it- together.
So go to Terry’sKids.org and sign up today. Pray about which child, which country you want to change, which lives you want to touch with God’s love. Then sign-up. You’ll get a letter from that child, you’ll get photo, and you’ll have the knowledge in your heart that the someone who cares for that AIDS orphan is YOU!Read More