Africa is largely a fatherless continent. Promiscuity, war, and desertion have dispossessed millions of women and children. They fend for themselves on city streets, in the bush, and in violent townships.
Rites of passage for decades have included a young man siring a child with a young woman, not his wife. This happens shortly after puberty, as a proof of virility for the male and of fertility for the female.
They never form a family. Often, the father has no part in the child’s life at all.
AIDS orphans are pandemic in Africa. Horrific counsel from the witch doctors instructs infected adult men to “lie” with an HIV-free partner. They claim this is a cure to the disease. Instead, it makes matters so much worse. And those who are HIV-free get younger and younger as the disease spreads throughout the continent.
The surviving orphans are not taken in by extended family. They are considered an expense, a curse, or both. As unimaginable as it is for an 18-month old to be alone in the world, on the streets without resources, this is a common sight.
The look of confusion on their faces is unforgettable.
“Let the little children come to Me, do not hinder them…” said our Lord, their Maker.
The Lord Jesus Christ loves children. Bishop of Souls is one of the vehicles Christ utilizes to bring His love to these discarded, wandering souls. And children are sensitive to the Spirit of God.
Bishop of Souls brings the Gospel to these orphans with love, music, joy, and truth. Many of the children we touch are already resting in the eternal arms of God by the next time we visit. They are very ill. But they are still children.
They love to dance and play, to laugh and eat. We bring food, clothing, blankets and coats. And sometimes, even weekend festivals to delight these babes of Christ.
And always, always, we proclaim the Gospel of Victory, Security, Love, Faithfulness, Eternity, Forgiveness, and Salvation in the Lord Jesus Christ, in ways the children remember for the rest of their lives. “God is Good – all the time! All the time – God is Good!” is one of their favorite sing-songs of faith.
As with the orphan population, there are widows. In war-torn places, the women are considered part of the “spoils” of war. Rape by soldiers produces its own type of widows abandoned with babies to care for.
Wars, disease, and abandonment all contribute to high numbers of widows in Africa. Widows face great dangers and trials. Their protection is gone, and their property is easily taken from them. Their social status is marginalized.
The widowed, like the orphans, are not welcomed by their extended families. It is difficult to find work. And what work can be found doesn’t support the widow along with her children.
So the children get sent to relatives. The relatives put them out on the street. It is a vicious cycle.
The way to break this cycle is by bringing the truth of Christ to the dying, and by affecting a change in the lives of the living. To obey the call of the Lord God to go, have dominion. Make disciples. Teach and preach, feed and clothe. Love the lost and downtrodden in the Name of Jesus Christ.
This is the first call of Bishop of Souls. We go for Christ, into lives and locations many fear to enter. No matter where we are sent, we always find the Spirit of our God already at work.
The Lord Jesus Christ is still meeting His people where they are. He brings victory in the most unimaginable places, in the most unexpected lives.