In the aftermath of the al-Shabab terrorist attack on Garissa University College, Kenyans have displayed powerful love in tangible ways. Standing in long lines to give blood for the wounded, comforting the grieving, providing supplies for the impacted families and contributing money. One of the most loving and brave things the Kenyans are doing is not surrendering to fear, but choosing life instead.Continue Reading ›
Being from a Muslim family, and living in front of the community mosque, Awa’s decision to become a Christian was not acceptable among the Muslim communityContinue Reading ›
Sitting in the humid air inside a tent, listening to the palm leaves sway and the support poles creak, and with her hand clasped on her cheek, Zainabu can still hear the words ringing in her head:
“You have been tested positive for human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), the micro-organism that causes the acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS).”
When the doctor announced the results, a mood of gloom and despair descended on Zainabu. She did not know where to go or what to do.
“It seemed like my life and the livelihood of my children had been cut, since they all depended on me.”
Looking for a shoulder to cry on, Zainabu wondered whom to inform or talk to. Her family and the community had no place for HIV-positive people. “I am an abomination,” Zainabu thought to herself.
Pastor Korogo has been a pastor since 2002. He officiates as junior pastor in the central church of the Assemblies of God Church of Ziniaré, 30 kilometers from Ouagadougou, the capital of Burkina Faso.
In 2008, when the church began partnering with Compassion, Pastor Korogo was recruited as child development center director because of his long-standing experience in the ministry among the children of his church.
The development center has 220 registered children who take part regularly in center activities. Like all the other centers in the country, it is located in an area where poverty is visible in people’s daily lives.
The great majority of the population does not have access to drinking water or electricity. When someone in these families falls ill, he is cared for with indigenous methods, as families can’t afford medical care or drugs at the pharmacy.
The child development center is located in a community that is nearly 70 percent Islamic. The largest mosque in the city is 10 meters from the church that shelters the center. This proximity sometimes makes it difficult for Muslim children to effectively take part in the center activities.
One might think that celebrating Christmas in Indonesia – the world’s most populous Muslim nation – can be a problem. Even though 90 percent of Indonesia’s 220 million people are followers of Islam, it does not mean that Christmas is not celebrated.
The biggest signs of Christmas (i.e. the traditions of the Western festive season), can be seen in the malls. Most of the major stores in the larger cities like Bandung have huge Christmas trees, and restaurants tend to put on some manner of Christmas fares.
For example, the big stores have had their Christmas decorations up for weeks in anticipation of cashing in on the season. Naturally, hotels and malls cater to visitors by erecting Christmas trees ornately decorated, and “Merry Christmas” signs. Shopping hours are extended, and the seasonal specials jump out of nowhere.
There is a Christmas tree in every mall, and a man dressed in a Santa Claus suit and a white beard can be seen giving out presents to the children. It is the same in the other cities like Jakarta, where all the major department stores join in on the festive season.
One of Compassion’s partner churches in Bandung is Immanuel Baptist Church. Christmas decorations have been in place since the first week of December. A plastic Christmas tree stands by the front entrance door to welcome all the visitors; its snow-like glitter and many small butterflies on the leaves delight the small children.
Yes, the church entrance had been decorated with an artificial Christmas trees replete with pristine snow-like glittery ornaments and small butterflies – standing unaffected by the boiling tropical heat.