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Helping shape lives that will change the future.
September 12, 2010 8:27 am

I’ve had the wind knocked out of me again! This time it Trevon and his friend Kevinwasn’t the hill we live on here at RVA. Gathering for prayer at the very start of “Outreach Day”, our fifth and sixth grade dorm boys met with Jr. high girls and a few Sr. high boys who also volunteered. As this mixed group of students and adults came together, we were given the news that the orphanage coming to visit us was made up of children from birth to 13 years old, but only 24 of the older kids were coming to visit. If having to live in an orphanage isn’t enough, each of these children are HIV positive.

It wasn’t the fear of this horrible virus that knocked the wind out of me. I am glad for what we learned about HIV in our three weeks of Africa Based Orientation when we arrived in Africa. Basically, it is nearly impossible to get this virus from a child during normal interaction on the playground or in the dining hall.

What knocked the wind out of me was the thought of coming face to face with the very children I have read about and heard about. Children who likely have lost both parents and probably even aunts and uncles to AIDS. Children whose lives are forever impacted not by their own choices or actions, but by the choices of someone else. Children, not monsters or freaks. Children.

Meet ClintonClinton is a new friend of mine. He is ten years old, the same age as our son Landon. He has an older sister, loves to play on the playground, play soccer, and eat hot dogs. In fact, Clinton ate at least three hot dogs, potatoes, carrots, strawberry jelly, and more. He even had a couple of glasses of milk to wash it all down as I sat next to him at lunch! You wouldn’t even realize that he is HIV positive.

This little boy, and the 23 others, looked totally normal. Watching them play games you couldn’t tell any difference from other kids. The orphanage did a good job of clothing them, and based on their physical appearance, these children are receiving good nutrition. Anti Retro Viral (ARV) drugs and good nutrition can help these children live a fairly normal life. If they miss just one of the daily doses of their ARV, tuberculosis, or pneumonia, or some other common illness will wipe out what is left of their immune system. If he stops taking his ARV, Clinton will not see his 20th birthday. Even with his ARV, he may not live past his twenties.

As I try to catch my breath again after spending half a day with these wonderful children, a question goes through my mind. For the past week, my 11th grade “Doctrines of the Bible” class has been wrestling with the thought, “Why would God create people who would never have an opportunity to hear the Gospel?” The question I find myself wrestling with is a similar thought, “Why would God create these children, knowing that they would be born with HIV?” I am reminded of the character of God, that He hates sin but loves the sinners. One of the reasons He hates sin so much is the consequences of sin. The consequences are far reaching. Each of us can testify to the destructive effects of sin in our own lives.

Our purpose in “Outreach Day” here at RVA was to share the love of Christ with others. God certainly loves these children we met and played with. I’m not sure how much of that love they felt and saw from us, but I know I have come away touched by God in a huge way.

2 Responses to “Meet my New Friend”

  1. Linda Says:

    What a blessing to be able to just love on them..to allow them the joy of just being kids…and hopefully to find Christ and change their eternal destiny. Love the pix!! I see Trevon is showing off his big muscles!!

  2. Hal Waterhouse Says:

    Hi guys,

    I just wanted to encourage you and to let you know we think of you often and that you are continuously in our prayers. When I was in the hospital for my heart catheterizarion, I had a nurse that was from Kenya. I told her about y’all and found out I was one of many that had talked to her of you and RVA! So you are becoming quite famous here for your work. Keep the news coming!

    Your avid readers demand it!

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