Changing Lives; Being Changed

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Jennifer Moore isn’t exactly sure what she’s going to do with her degree in health education from North Carolina Central University, but she knows that the six months she spent with the Christian Reformed World Relief Committee (CRWRC) in Mozambique will shape the rest of her life.

“It was an amazing experience,” Moore says. “I want to go back!”

Moore grew up in North Carolina and now lives in Belding, Mich., where she attends Oakwood Christian Reformed Church. Her internship with CRWRC started in September 2006, when she traveled to Vila Ulongue in Mozambique and met CRWRC staff members Phil and Christa Grabowski.

For the next six months, Moore worked with young people and youth group leaders as part of a “Choose Life” program that tries to reduce the rate and spread of HIV and AIDS by teaching youths about abstinence and values-based behaviors.

Sandonomo Lolesu, a youth leader with whom Moore worked, said he has seen a difference in the lives of the young people in his community. His group met every two weeks for nine months, studying lessons on self-confidence, abstinence, and HIV and AIDS.

Over the course of the project, he said, friendships began forming in the group. As these relationships deepened, he saw the teens gaining confidence as a group and standing together in their decision for abstinence.

But the teens aren’t the only ones benefiting from the program. These young people are also providing hope to the men and women of their communities.

“I remember talking with people about HIV and AIDS prevention and how these measures would keep them from contracting HIV and dying from AIDS in 10 years or less,” Moore said. She reflected on the reactions of community members before the Choose Life program began. “The response was typically, ‘Ten years? What is the worry in 10 years when I will die of starvation or malaria long before that?’”

Moore says that she will take her new understanding of what it means to live in poverty with her into the future. She’ll also take a new understanding of the AIDS pandemic and what people around the world are doing to fight this disease. She hopes that one day she’ll be able to return to Africa to serve.

To learn more about CRWRC’s internship program, contact Ruth Majawa at 1-800-55-CRWRC.

About the Author

Rebecca Combs is a senior writer with CRWRC.