Orphaned By AIDS
Statistics are staggering. In the span of just one week, AIDS kills more people than all the Americans killed in the Vietnam War. In five years, African children orphaned by AIDS may equal the entire population of school children in the United States. As Reed Galin reports, the gloomy future awaiting these children has motivated a North Carolina man to step down from the pulpit and into the lives of thousands of orphans who need him.
(Locator –Zimbabwe, Africa: Footage courtesy of ZOE Ministry)
These are the faces of orphans...the youngest victims of the African AIDS pandemic. Faces like the 15-year-old girl the Reverend Greg Jenks met on his first trip to Africa years ago. She was caring for her three younger brothers.
(Locator: Clayton, NC)
The Rev. Greg Jenks/ZOE Ministry: "She took us into her home and she said, ‘This is all that we have left, all the food we have left. It's enough to last us until Saturday and then after that we'll just die.’"
Many people can forget the faces of these young orphans. Jenks knew he could not. Their cause became his crusade. The young girl and her brothers are now among those being fed by the Zimbabwe Orphans Endeavor.
The Rev. Greg Jenks/ZOE Ministry: "It's about the faces of children, the personalities of children, kids that we hear about that come to school hungry, that maybe haven't had an adequate meal in a couple of days."
Three years ago, Jenks left the pulpit of Christ Community United Methodist
Church in Clayton, North Carolina, for his new calling. He is a realist. He knows he can't stop the AIDS pandemic, but he can save lives – and give hope to children who had none.
The Rev. Greg Jenks/Natsound: "Because He loves you so much..."
When he isn't in Africa, Jenks travels though the U.S. asking churches and individuals to help. And as for that teenage girl in Africa?
The Rev. Greg Jenks: “She understands that Christians here in America put their faith into action here, and it changed her life over there."
This year, the ZOE program has fed 8,000 children. Next year, he wants to feed and clothe even more.
Natsound: Children singing
The girl who inspired Greg Jenks’ ministry painted four words on the side of her house in Shona, which are “contena catina labassa wacoffa.” Translated, that means “Faith without works is dead.”
Jenks feels that we all have a responsibility to help care for orphans, no matter where they live. To learn more about the Zimbabwe Orphans Endeavor and how you can support it, log onto www.zoeministry.org or contact the General Board of Global Ministries at www.gbgm-umc.org.
Also see: Visit to orphan's house inspires an AIDS ministry in Zimbabwe.