Saturday, October 29, 2016
A New Challenge
Since moving to Mozambique in 2007, I have seen too many lives lost because of AIDS. According to the World Health Organization, "HIV/AIDS is a major public health concern in Mozambique. With a prevalence of 11.5% among adults between 15-49 years, Mozambique is facing a generalized epidemic. This means that the virus is spread among the general population and is not exclusive to specific risk groups."
In the past 6 months, here at Masana, we have had 4 boys test HIV+. On average, we have about 25 street boys at our center each day. That means that this year, 16% of them have tested positive.
These numbers shock me.
And break my heart.
How does Masana respond to this new epidemic facing street boys? What is God calling us to do to help these boys whose lives are forever changed by a positive test? What has changed among the street culture over the past years that cause us to see such high HIV/AIDS rates today? How do we help prevent more boys from becoming infected?
These are the questions that have dominated my prayers these last days and weeks.
Masana recently received a PEPFAR grant (President's Emergency Plan For AIDS Relief) from the US government. These funds are to be used specifically to help in the area of HIV/AIDS among street children. Next week, we will be meeting with a leader of Doctors Without Boarders, an international organization that works in the area of healthcare in Mozambique, to discuss a partnership as we tackle the issue of HIV/AIDS among street boys.
I know that God is orchestrating all of this and that He is going to use Masana to transform the lives of these boys who might otherwise lose all hope. I am grateful for that. I am grateful that He provides finances and partnerships to help us meet the needs of these boys. But I am even more grateful that God has called Masana to be a part of this battle....to bring Hope to the hopeless.