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That is all I can say. Seriously. I just got back from a two-week research/prep trip to Kwazulu Natal with our newest partner, Loving South Africa, and my jaw is on the floor.
Confronting the realities of HIV/AIDS first-hand, my heart has been broken. Seeing the phenomenal hope that comes through the work of LSA’s grassroots partners, my heart has been filled to the brim. This trip has taken my perspective on the world to a whole new level.
On this short trip, I saw elderly grandmothers struggling to care for multiple grandchildren now that their sons and daughters have passed away from this disease. I also saw a children’s village full of kids who now have hope for a brighter future due to the work of an incredible organization.
While visiting a hospice care ministry, I saw patients wasting away in the last moments of their life. I also saw a clinic full of bright, smiling HIV patients who are living healthy lives due to effective medication.
I spent time standing on the edge of a mass grave for AIDS victims, trying to comprehend the sheer scale of this pandemic. I also saw selfless young leaders who have stepped up to lead their communities out of the cycle of poverty.
To say that these experiences were eye opening would be a massive understatement.
This trip will stay with me forever.
Only the Beginning
But the best part about my trip to South Africa is the fact that these life-changing kingdom encounters have only just begun.
On June 6, I return to Kwazulu Natal with our summer intern team. We will spend two full months diving deep into the AIDS pandemic and highlighting the incredible work of Loving South Africa’s partners.
For those of you who feel like HIV/AIDS has never hit close to home, get ready to see the world in a whole new way. The WND team and I are going to take you right into the heart of it all and give you many practical ways to get engaged.
I don’t want to give away too much, but I will say this: we are entering into uncharted territory with World Next Door, and we would love to have you along for the ride!
- Take a look at Loving South Africa’s website to get a first glimpse at the ministries we’ll be embedding with this summer.
- Do you have trouble remembering to keep up with World Next Door? Sign up here if you’d like to receive a weekly digest of new content.
- If you would like to be a part of WND’s inside prayer team, we’d love to have you on board. Sign up here!
About the Author: Barry is the founder and director of World Next Door. A storyteller, traveller and giant nerd, he lives to compel suburban Americans to get engaged with social justice and find their place in God's kingdom revolution. His ultimate dream is to adopt a pet monkey named Kevin.