Monday, 12 February 2007

Bible Power

God's Word stops AIDS
Hope for today.

The African pastor sighs, looking around at the faces in his community. “If there is a place where HIV is tough,” he says, “it is this place.” He hears their stories, their heartaches, on a regular basis. People who have never set foot in a church come to him because they have heard he offers a listening ear—and a message of hope.
His message is consistent—God loves them, and He wants to build a relationship with them. The pastor says, “God’s church is doing a great work here. [The infected] are taught from the Word of God that they have a reason for living—to serve God for the short period that God has given them.”
A losing battleAccording to the UN, AIDS is now the number one cause of death on the African continent. Thousands are dying every day. Currently, more than 20 million Africans suffer from HIV/AIDS, and the overwhelming majority of the world's AIDS orphans live on the African continent.
This mounting health crisis has led to an outpouring of humanitarian assistance from countries around the world. Secular and Christian organizations alike are furiously seeking to halt the disease’s spread through contraceptives, sex education, and medical care.
Try as they might, though, it all seems a losing battle—at least on a human level.
A better wayThere is, however, hope for the people of Africa. African Christians are witnessing a miraculous transformation as God’s Word takes hold of communities. According to one such Christian, the Bible has had more of an impact on HIV than any well-meaning organizations or trained professionals.
The Massai, a tribal group of eastern Africa, have been particularly influenced by the teachings of the Bible. Within the Massai culture, sexual behavior is traditionally very open. When men are away from the tribe for hunting, it is perfectly acceptable for other men of the village to sleep with their wives. In addition, it is normal for the men who are away to have intercourse with women outside of their village. Because of this promiscuity, sexually transmitted diseases—including HIV/AIDS—spread rapidly.
However, as the Massai are receiving Bibles and instruction from Bible League-trained Christians, incredible changes are taking place. They learn that God intends sex to be a holy act, celebrated between one man and one woman within the boundaries of marriage. As the Massai accept Christ, God changes their hearts, their thinking, and ultimately, their behavior.
A Massai pastor explains, “The Bible has helped us understand more about AIDS and overcome it. It has prevented us from following the former ways of doing things. When people are born again, the Bible instructs them to better ways.”
What’s more, when a Massai turns to God, people of other villages are astounded by the changes. One African Christian explains, “It amazes them and they say, ‘Anybody can give their life to Christ!’ Just the testimony that he was a Massai, that he has changed, and has given his life to Christ moves hundreds to come to know Christ!”
Power of GodGod’s Word is doing what no effort of man has been able to do—God’s Word is stopping the spread of AIDS. The Bible offers Africans hope; the Bible offers Africans instructions; and the Bible offers Africans the fulfillment of living a life in Christ.

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