The Kentucky WMU team serving in South Africa is serving among those that Jesus referenced when he said that ministry to “the least of these” was ministry unto Himself. We are working among children with AIDS, some who live in an orphanage and others who live in child headed households.
AIDS strikes fear in most of us. We are afraid of somehow contracting this virus which is deadly to so many. Yet the WMU team of twelve is teaching, hugging, feeding, and loving these children in the Name of Jesus. We are here in partnership with Baptist Global Response to spend a week working with Tabitha Ministries which operates an orphanage, the Hope Center, and reaches out to children in Sweetwaters Township near Pietermaritzburg, South Africa.
Like much of America, this area includes extremes. There are well-to-do homes as well as middle-class and poor homes. There are followers of Jesus here as well as those who follow other religions or none at all. But those with AIDS in the poorest communities are among those who many avoid.
In addition to leading Holiday Bible Club in the township and Hope Center, the team is spending time leading other activities with the children at the orphanage and will be delivering Buckets of Hope to AIDS victims in Sweetwaters. We are blessed to be serving with BGR personnel who have a passion for ministry and have paved the way for our team.
During orientation at Tabitha, we learned from Gail Trollip, the founder and director of Tabitha, that her prayer is that each of us on the team would go home changed. One cannot be here seeing the great need and not be profoundly touched. On the one hand, the children here are like children anywhere – constantly moving, playful, and eager for attention. On the other hand, these children have experienced in their young lives more heartache than most of us can imagine. One child here was buried alive by his mother who suffered from dementia because of AIDS. Only the action of neighbors to save the child and the tremendous care given at Tabitha Ministries has helped this child live and grow.
Kentucky will be a lead state in the BGR Bucket Project in 2014. The items in each bucket are things that most of us take for granted. But to those in extreme poverty and too weak to work, the items are a treasure. Above all, the items communicate that God loves each person, even those with AIDS and that His people are showing His love with a bucket of items to make their last days a bit more comfortable.
Please pray for Tabitha Ministries and Baptist Global Response in outreach to those with AIDS. Please learn more about the Bucket Project and pack a bucket in 2014. You can bring filled buckets or the items for buckets to the 2014 Kentucky WMU Annual Meeting. Let’s show our love and concern through this tangible means which will be delivered with a gospel witness. The least of these need our help and love.
Without a doubt this is a significant time for the Kentucky WMU team to be in South Africa as the attention of the world is focused on remembering and honoring the work of Nelson Mandela. Pray for this nation and all of its people. South Africa is a beautiful nation with great resources. This nation was blessed with a peaceful transition of government unlike so many other places in the world. Pray that the ideals of democracy and forgiveness will continue here and be a role model to many other nations.