July 11, 2016
"Some people think that because I’m serving those with HIV, maybe I’m positive too. I tell them, whether I am or I am not positive, It’s my responsibility to serve all God’s children."
On my most recent trip to Kenya this June, I was fortunate enough to meet several of the pastors that CARE for AIDS gets to work with. One story that stood out to me was that of Zachary Kariuki, the pastor at Redeemed Gospel Church in Waithaka, a slum area just west of Nairobi.
Pastor Kariuki said that when he first became the pastor at his church, it was only Kikuyu tribe members, the largest tribal group in Kenya. He started preaching the message in Romans 10:12- that there was no distinction between tribes, we are no longer Jew or Gentile, but we all serve the God of the Bible, we are one tribe. He also started telling his church members that they needed to be an active part in solving the community’s biggest problems, and that AIDS was the biggest problem that he saw in their area. Over the next year, the weekly attendance at his church went from 150 people to just a handful. Zachary said that it was a testing time for his faith, but that he was sure that God was calling him and the church to love and serve all people, not just people who were easy to serve.
Over the past 6 years, Pastor Kariuki’s message has begun to resonate with the people in Waithaka. CFA has been a big part of their reaching out to the HIV community. Zachary goes on home visits with our center staff to make sure that he is personally serving and encouraging the people in the community. He comes to some of CARE for AIDS’ empowerment seminars and even joined our June Impact Trip team in preparing and eating dinner at one of our client’s homes. His church now has over 250 members who are excited about the vision of CARE for AIDS and including the HIV community. They know that as a global church we are one body with many different parts.