Today’s guest post comes from Maurice Williams, one of an excellent class of students from Bethel Seminary who recently studied the intersection between faith, vocation and work.
The issue of AIDS looms heavily in Africa as well as in Black communities in the United States. It has been reported that AIDS has killed an estimated 25 million people since it was first recognized in 1981. The vast majority of these deaths were of African or African American decent. The Office of Minority Health reported that 44% of all HIV cases in 2011 in the US were of African Americans.
Governments have spent billions of dollars in an effort to stem the tide of this horrific disease with little headway being made over the years. Christians, however, have become increasing involved in combating this pandemic through conventional and non-conventional means. For example, Christianity Today reported that Pastor George Karambuka in Nairobi, Kenya used his Facebook page to encourage men to get circumcised; which research suggest that doing so reduces the spread of the virus. Phungreiso Varu, a Christian scholar from India, has encouraged Churches in Nagaland to combat HIV/AIDS among drug addicts. Christianity Today also reported that “Increasing, global leaders are realizing that Christians and their churches are doing more to defeat the ongoing HIV/AIDS pandemic than any other single organization or group.”
Jesus encouraged and commended his disciples for caring for those persons who could not care for themselves when he said, “For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me. Then the righteous will answer him, saying, Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you drink? And when did we see you a stranger and welcome you, or naked and clothe you? And when did we see you sick or in prison and visit you? And the King will answer them, Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me” (Matt. 25:35-40).