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In Zimbabwe, relief gives HIV/AIDS patients 'lease on life'
ZVAVAHERA, Zimbabwe (BP) -- Lives are being saved and families finding hope for the future in a Zimbabwe village, at a time when the country as a whole is battling one of the worst HIV/AIDS epidemics in the world."The ultimate objective of the project is to show the community the love of Jesus Christ by ministering to their physical and spiritual needs and establishing the community in Christ."In a partnership project between Zimbabwean Baptists and the Southern Baptist World Hunger Fund, not only have patients been gaining weight, but no deaths at all were reported in the village during the most recent phase of the effort, project director Aaron Mutingwende said.
When the Baptist Union of Zimbabwe started a congregation in the Zvavahera area in 2010, they saw firsthand the stark poverty of the people and how families were being ravaged by AIDS. Mutingwende petitioned Baptist Global Response for assistance and, with resources provided by the World Hunger Fund, a six-month campaign was launched in January 2011.
Of 229 patients registered at the Zvavahera clinic, 125 were identified as especially needing food support to make their HIV medications be more effective. Ten volunteers visited families to deliver food packets that included, among other things, dried meat and fish, rice, peanut butter, mealie meal and beans.
"Once they saw the assistance and improved health of those being assisted, others were encouraged to come out in the open about their [HIV] status," Mutingwende said. Another 121 people registered for treatment at the clinic, and the next six-month campaign was expanded to feed 350 people, at a monthly cost of less than $30 per person.
"The feeding program has become the talk of the area. It has also become a unifying factor in a land polarized by many problems," Mutingwende said. "Food is distributed by the church with a message of hope and salvation in a very non-partisan manner. Most beneficiaries are clearly showing signs of improved health and recording gains in their weight.
"We can testify that the program has been changing lives. Hope is renewed and it is evident many people have been given a new lease on life," Mutingwende added. "Some people who were not expected to live this long have survived and even gained weight. Since the beginning of the fourth phase of the feeding program in May 2012, none of our beneficiaries have died."
In six communities, totaling 1,500 residents, 660 people received health care and 70 were trained in agriculture, health care, community development and job skills. Of the 2,400 people who heard about God's love for them, 120 made decisions to follow Jesus.
Realizing the need to move recipients toward self-sufficiency, Mutingwende and BGR area director Mark Hatfield developed a self-help strategy for participating families.
"Our humanitarian projects always look for ways to help people move from dependency to self-support," Hatfield said. "For Zvavahera, we are in the process of designing projects in the areas of greenhouse vegetable gardening, goat rearing, and producing lotions, candles, and soaps. Read More
Ala. police chief apologizes for city's racist pastMONTGOMERY, Ala. (BP) -- As Montgomery Police Chief Kevin Murphy unpinned his badge from his uniform, only he and the Lord knew what he was about to do. But both of them had known for a long time. Read More
Portman 1st GOP senator to back gay marriageCOLUMBUS, Ohio (BP) -- Influential Sen. Rob Portman became the first sitting Republican U.S. senator to endorse same-sex marriage Friday (March 15), saying a development in his family led him to "wrestle" with his faith and decide that homosexuals should be allowed to marry. Read More
On spring break, students clean up Sandy debrisSTATEN ISLAND, N.Y. (BP) -- Staten Island resident Dominick Camerade was hard hit by Hurricane Sandy. Five months after the storm ravaged the area, Camerade and others in the community continue repairing their lives. Read More
'Nim's Island 2' launches TV family film ventureLOS ANGELES (BP) -- Seeking to fill what supporters are calling an "unmet need" for clean family entertainment, two media companies are joining two corporate giants to launch "Walden Family Theater" Friday night (March 15) with the premier of "Return to Nim's Island," followed with about 30 more films this year. Read More
EC's Hammond resigns for full-time pastorate
NASHVILLE (BP) -- W. Thomas Hammond Jr. has announced the resignation from his vice presidency with the Southern Baptist Convention Executive Committee to accept the full-time pastorate of First Baptist Church in Alpharetta, Ga. Read More
Panel: Chinese regime still marked by brutality
WASHINGTON (BP) -- Near-death torture and medical or food deprivation describe the experience of innocent prisoners under China's latest Communist officials, experts said at a recent Capitol Hill briefing.
A panel of Chinese, American and European leaders discussed the horrifying realities under the regime in a March 5 event sponsored by ChinaAid and Freedom House.
"The things that take place in China amount in my view to a modern genocide," said Edward McMillan-Scott.
McMillan-Sc... Read More
CULTURE DIGEST: Chris Tomlin 'most prolific songwriter' in U.S. now, exec says
NASHVILLE (BP) -- Worship leader Chris Tomlin "is the most prolific songwriter in the United States now, in this past decade," a Christian music executive said in a CNN feature highlighting the differences between Tomlin and secular stars.
Howard Rachinski, CEO of Christian Copyright Licensing International (CCLI), the company that tracks what music is used in churches around the world, said last year churches used 128 songs Tomlin wrote or co-wrote.
According to CNN.com March 9, CCLI... Read More
FIRST-PERSON: Extramarital sex has consequences far beyond 'the morning after'
No amount of technology, pills or procedures will remove the consequences of extramarital sex forever, says columnist Thomas White. Read More
CALL TO PRAYER: Praying for the weather
As farmers prepare for the spring planting season, Rick Shepherd, prayer and spiritual awakening team leader for the Florida Baptist Convention, asks: Should we pray about the weather? Read More
EDITORIAL: El Amor Verdadero
GRAPEVINE, Texas (BP) -- Sabemos que Dios es un Dios de amor. El amor de Dios fue mostrado al mundo cuando Cristo vino a este mundo y murió por un mundo perdido. Read More
El problema del tráfico humano capturó su corazónHIGH POINT, N.C. (BP) -- Sandra Johnson se niega a darle la espalada al problema. Y cree que otros bautistas deberían hacer lo mismo.
Para Johnson, una misionera de la Junta de Misiones Norteamericanas (NAMB, con base en Carolina del Norte, el asunto del tráfico humano es personal, y es un problema que existe justo "en el patio de nuestra propia casa," por así decirlo.
El tráfico humano es el crimen que crece más rápido en el mundo, y Johnson dijo que cada cristiano debe involucrarse en ponerle fin. Justo ahora se cree que hay cerca de 27 millones de personas viviendo en la esclavitud. Niños de incluso 6 años se venden en las calles o a través del internet, dijo Johnson.
"No puedo darle la espalada a eso… fácilmente pudiera tratarse de mis propios nietos," dijo Johnson, una miembro de Green Street Baptist Church en High Point, Carolina del Norte, y presidenta y fundadora de Triad Ladder of Hope, una organización sin fines de lucro que ayuda a las víctimas del tráfico humano a escapar de la esclavitud y reconstruir sus vidas, compartiendo el amor de Jesús con ellos en dicho proceso. "Hoy en día hay más personas viviendo como esclavos que en cualquier otra época de la historia... Esto es 'América la Libre,' pero no lo es en realidad."
Johnson fue comisionada por NAMB durante la más reciente reunión anual de la convención Bautista de Carolina del Norte en noviembre pasado, como misionera del Cuerpo de Servicio Misionero (MSC). Read More
De nuevo, aumenta el antisemitismo, dijo un panel de la Cámara de Representantes
WASHINGTON (BP) -- El odio por la gente de ascendencia judía de nuevo va en aumento en los Estados Unidos y otros países, según un testimonio congregacional de líderes judíos, cristianos y musulmanes. Read More
Luter, en N.C., trata sobre el PC, el calvinismo, el matrimonio gay
PLEASANT GARDEN, N.C. (BP) -- Al hablar a un grupo mayormente de pastores y líderes de iglesia afroamericanos, Fred Luter recientemente expresó ánimo y preocupación en relación a algunos asuntos que los bautistas del sur enfrentan hoy en día. Read More
COMPENDIO CULTURA: Chris Tomlin 'el compositor más prolífico' ahora en EE.UU.
NASHVILLE (BP) -- El líder de adoración Chris Tomlin "es el más prolífico compositor en EE.UU. ahora, en esta década pasada," dijo un alto ejecutivo en una presentación de CNN destacando las diferencias entre Tomlin y las estrellas seculares. Read More