From the Worldwide Faith News archives

ACNS - Mission to AIDS Orphans

From Worldwide Faith News <>
Date Sun, 30 Jun 2002 21:18:23 -0700

ACNS 3039 - AUSTRALIA - 29 June 2002

Mission to AIDS orphans

[The Melbourne Anglican] Melbourne teenager Hugh Evans is spending six
months in KwaZuluNatal, South Africa, as World Vision's inaugural Youth

Hugh, 19, is establishing a child sponsorship program in God's Golden Acre
(GGA), an orphanage which is home to 60 children who have lost parents to
the African HIV/AIDS pandemic, and for more than 750 children in the
surrounding area.

Other projects include speaking to local high-school students on issues such
as HIV/AIDS, self-esteem & education, and working with the community to turn
a rubbish dump into a sports ground. He is producing a monthly report on
World Vision in South Africa and is setting up a webcam so child sponsors
can meet their sponsor children via the Internet.

"My faith was a prime motivation in going to South Africa," said Hugh. "When
I finished Year 12 last year I thought that I wouldn't like to go through
another five years of study (he plans to study Law/Science) without first
exploring my inspiration for the course that I will be doing," he said.

"I offered this to God in prayer, and for two nights I couldn't sleep
because my mind was thinking overtimeInstead of sleeping I drafted a
proposal letter to Lynn Arnold, CEO of World Vision, and after some talks
with the pastor of my church, I sent the letter."

His proposal was accepted the following week. Hugh spent the next few months
planning the trip, raising funds and talking to schools and churches, before
leaving for South Africa on 15 April.

Hugh describes the highlights so far as getting to know the children in the
orphanage and forming relationships with local people. Spending a week with
a Zulu family was an eye-opener. "Their house was very basic, with no
toilet, shower or running water inside, yet their hospitality was amazing,"
he said. "God taught me so much that weekend about the differences in this
world that are by pure virtue of birth."

Some of the challenges include adapting to "African time", which is much
more relaxed and spontaneous than life in Australia. It's also been a
struggle to stay positive in the face of the size of the problems:
unemployment; HIV/AIDS; drug and alcohol abuse; and domestic violence.

"These are major issues, but I am confident that the work of GGA and World
Vision is having a huge impact on people's lives. Every time we give a child
a new pair of shoes, or drop a food parcel to a starving family, I know that
it will have a huge personal impact in their life."

For more information on the Youth Ambassador program or to contact Hugh

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