I have just returned from a visit to South Africa. It is a very beautiful country enjoying economic stability, which is rare in the continent of Africa. The people are very friendly and welcoming. I spent the first few days near Durban and visited a small project, run by Christians, which provides care for about 30 AIDS orphans. The children who live in the project have lost both their parents through HIV/AIDS.
It is estimated that there are 1.5 million such children in South Africa alone. Many orphan children are being looked after in the extended family, by grandparents. So many parents have died, however, that some families have found it impossible to cope and, so, projects have been established to look after the children. The social and economic cost of HIV/AIDS is very great. The orphans’ parents were the main wage earners and the grandparents struggle to find the money to bring up the children.
It was a privilege to meet the South African house parents, who are caring for these children, and the doctor and his wife, who established the project and raise the finance need to sustain it. The children have a good home and are going to school. They have experienced great sadness at a young age but are being given a good foundation for their future lives. They are growing up in a stable and loving environment.
God has a very special love for widows and orphans. He watches over and sustains the fatherless and the widow. Christians, who know Jesus Christ as their personal Saviour, are also committed to living out their faith. The letter of James says, “Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress.”
The children living in the project are experiencing the love of God through those who care for them. They know that they are valued and that they are not on their own. They are being helped to cope with their sadness and are being equipped to face the future. Some of them have already understood God’s love for them in Jesus. They know that God is their heavenly Father and will always be with them. He will never forsake them or fail them. It is a wonderful thing to know such love and to know that our heavenly Father can bring us through the deepest sadness and give us hope for the future.