In the middle of all of this, there are Malawian believers and Christians who are doing incredible ministry to the sick and dying, the women and grandmothers and the orphans and vulnerable children. We are trying to walk alongside the Malawian church as it ministers in communities devastated by the AIDS pandemic.
AIDS in Malawi is all-encompassing. Every aspect of society -- family, economics, education, religion, business -- everything -- is touched and affected by HIV/AIDS.
From this trip I have two images burned into my heart and mind. Let me briefly share them with you.
The other day I was taking a shower, and in the middle of that lovely, warm shower the following two pictures came to mind.
The new borehole/well in Matanda, Malawi
Carrying home the precious gift of clean water!
But, unlike many other orphaned girls in Malawi, Matilda has something going for her. She knows a woman named Theresa. Theresa is looking for ways to help Matilda -- to find a safe place for her to live, to help her get an education, and to find a way to get her adequate food and clothing. Matilda has hope. Millions of other young girls and women don't know a Theresa, and there is little reason for hope.
As my friend George Snyman from South Africa says -- the fact that millions of girls and women in Africa live in fear of getting HIV/AIDS through no fault of their own, and that they are subject to beatings and rape as a regular part of their existence, and that they have no rights when it comes to sex or education or so many other things that western women take for granted -- all of this is simply UNACCEPTABLE if there are Christians in this world.
And, if this is unacceptable, then what am I doing about it? What am I doing to love my neighbor across the street or in Africa? What am I doing to see the Kingdom come to Matilda and the girls and women in her situation? What are we doing?