Eight members of River Terrace Christian Reformed Church in East Lansing, Mich., recently traveled to Nigeria to learn about the Nigerian churches’ efforts to address the HIV/AIDS pandemic in their communities.
In Jos, the River Terrace team met with leaders of the NKST (Church of Christ in the Sudan among the Tiv). They learned about Beacon of Hope, an AIDS ministry supported by 13 Reformed denominations. In central Nigeria, the church is primarily responsible for the local health infrastructure.
The trip was part of the Embrace AIDS campaign sponsored by the Christian Reformed World Relief Committee, the relief and development arm of the Christian Reformed Church in North America.
Beacon of Hope focuses on orphans and vulnerable children, youth abstinence, and persons living with HIV and AIDS. River Terrace member Grace Kreulen said, “We sensed great need as we spoke to caregivers who have taken in from one to nine orphans of deceased family members.”
According to the United Nations Program on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS), approximately 12 million children have lost one or both parents to AIDS in sub-Saharan Africa.
River Terrace pastor Rev. Clay Libolt said, “The peoples of the NKST long for contact with us, and we have been blessed by contact with them.”
River Terrace plans to form a three- to five-year partnership with the NKST and Beacon of Hope, providing support to expand programs for Nigerians living with HIV/AIDS.