Saturday, February 25, 2006

Bill Hybels in Africa

Bill Hybels was just in Africa again and talks about his time in his most recent eNews update.

Dear Enews Friends,

What a difference a week can make! Last Monday the American Consulate in Bern, Switzerland added a significant number of pages to my passport, and later on that day I was flying 11 hours to Capetown, South Africa for two days of mentoring sessions with our key WCA pastors in that area. In both Capetown and Johannesburg, I enjoyed the assistance of an African American WCA pastor friend of mine named Bishop Ken Ulmer from Los Angeles. The two of us sat side-by-side on the platform in each city, answering the steady flow of questions that came from the African pastors. The questions from some of these pastors were difficult to hear: “How can we try to build a youth ministry when we bury four of our students every week due to AIDS?”. Or "how can we train our leaders and volunteers when we cannot afford to buy the books or the training manuals we need?” Both Ken and I found ourselves fresh out of answers several times during our time there.

I was able to meet with 5 or 6 of our AIDS ministry partners while I was there. The work they are doing would astound you! One of our partners is located near a hospital that is so overcrowded that when an AIDS patient is deemed terminally ill, the hospital staff wait until the cover of darkness and then secretly drag the dying patient to the back of a dark parking lot, or into a forest, or even to a garbage heap and dump the body. They return to the hospital without saying anything to anyone. The hospital staff simply needs to open up some beds for the next day's wave of diseased people.

One of our WCA churches near that hospital asked Willow for grant monies from our AIDS/Global Poverty Fund in order to build a small sleeping facility with 24 beds in it. Willow provided the funds and the building was built. Now the volunteers of the church go out every night and intercept the hospital staff who are dragging dying bodies to the trash heap and gently take them to the AIDS hospice building where they are laid on a bed with clean sheets, and are cared for by church volunteers with love and dignity until their final breath! I am told that many of these gravely ill people place their trust in Christ during their final hours.

To join the eNews mailing list go to this link and look for eNews in the left hand column.

No comments: