Friday, September 21, 2007

Africa Tour / Stop 1 / Uganda

God gave us a divine appointment our first day in Uganda. A lady was at the hotel selling handmade necklaces. She had a sign that she was with TASO [The AIDS Support Organization]. Jeff Sheets struck up a conversation with her, and learned she is HIV+. She makes the bracelets, baskets, etc. to sell to support herself and her 3 kids.

Her husband died of AIDS several years ago. He was a truck driver for the UN, running back and forth between Uganda and Kenya. He knew he was infected, but didn’t tell her until his HIV developed into AIDS. At the funeral, or thereabouts, she found out he had 2 other wives with kids in other cities.

Janet (at left) now is a born again believer. She sells stuff to make a living, but her passion is HIV/AIDS awareness training and encouragement. She said she no longer is sad she has it, because God has used her situation to change many people’s lives.

We invited her to share at the HIV/AIDS Cube training. She gave her testimony and everyone was riveted. Then we went to a clinic and shared with ladies waiting for treatment. She knew everyone at the hospital, and presented to all the ladies. The HIV/AIDS “practice” presentation was followed by the gospel. Several prayed to receive Christ.

A huge problem here is stigma. People often are ostracized because others are afraid they’ll be infected if they shake hands or even get close to HIV+ people. Often people just want to die because they’re so lonely. Or they get bitter and want to infect others—“if I die, I want to take others with me” as one person put it. So they don’t tell anyone, and end up spreading it even more. So learning the truth hopefully will reduce the fear, and thereby the stigma. Plus, and this is The Major Plus, this whole thing opens the door for discussions about real hope and love of God through Jesus Christ.

One thing we have heard over and over from many leaders—government, AIDS organizations, business leaders, as well as church leaders: it is only life change through a relationship with Christ that makes a difference.

This fits in with our prayer, that the Lord would use this tool to bring many into His kingdom and plant many new churches.

Please continue to pray for us as we head next to Rwanda for church planting training Sept 20-23, which also will include AIDS Cube training.
After that to Burundi and Ethiopia.

Mike Jorgensen

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