The suffering, death, and personal isolation resulting from HIV/AIDS stands in stark contrast to God’s intentions for abundant life. Called one of the greatest humanitarian crises of our day, the global HIV/AIDS pandemic has forced Christians around the world to dive into a series of complex questions: What is the church’s role? Where is God in the face of such immense suffering? How does the Bible equip us to address HIV/AIDS? How do we communicate the Gospel?
Christ was the embodiment of holistic ministry. As he healed and taught people in Capernaum, his reputation spread, and the local population clamored to receive his touch. Christ’s ministry was fundamentally composed of signs and deeds that were nearly always accompanied by Gospel words of salvation.
“Life, deed, word and sign must all find expression for us to encounter and comprehend the whole of the good news of Jesus Christ. …It’s only when life, deed, word and sign are expressed in a consistent and coherent whole that the gospel of the son of God is clear,” writes Bryant Myers in his seminal book, Walking with the Poor .
The gospel of the son of God is clear when it comes to HIV/AIDS. We are convinced that this problem is a concern for all of us. As Christians, we want to join hands with all other efforts (official and private) to fight the epidemic. Fortunately, faith-based organizations and churches have long been part of the fight against HIV/AIDS in their communities, eager to participate in innovative, compassionate and incarnational care options.
The Good Samaritan Program is one of those options. Developed by the Bible Societies in Africa along with the United Bible Societies, the Good Samaritan Program creates awareness about HIV/AIDS through open discussions and sharing.
Its materials are built around the story of the Good Samaritan, challenging people to act as Good Samaritans to one another. Combining sketches, facts, case studies, interactive drama and stories from the Bible, the materials empower participants to better tackle the enormous challenge of HIV/AIDS in their lives, their churches and in their communities.
The Good Samaritan Program is answering the question about the church’s role in the HIV/AIDS epidemic. It is equipping all to communicate Christ’s ministry in life, deed, word and sign.
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