Many of the children who are part of the AIDS Hope ministry in Mamelodi grow up with absent or abusive fathers. These children carry a lot of scars with them – both physical and emotional.
Located just outside of Pretoria, South Africa, the township of Mamelodi is home to nearly one million people. AIDS Hope was established as a beacon of hope to a community faced with poverty, high drug-use, sickness, broken families, teen pregnancy and HIV and AIDS. AIDS Hope hosted a camp focusing on “the Father heart of God” with the desire to see breakthroughs in the children's lives and help them take the first steps towards healing and forgiveness.
During one of the worship times the AIDS Hope team members who were fathers stood along the edge of the room, surrounding the children. On behalf of fathers AIDS Hope leader Pastor John told the children “We are sorry for not treating you well. We are sorry for doing bad things.” He went on to assure them that “not every father is a bad father.”
Touched by John's words, the children ran into the waiting arms of the fathers standing around the room and cried. Transformation took place and the children understood the importance of forgiveness and that they have a heavenly Father who wants a relationship with them.
One OMer shared “Our fathers are not perfect and they will never be – no person is perfect. Only God is perfect and we can look up to Him for everything as a Father!”
The theme not only brought healing to the kids but to Thabo (South Africa) who serves with AIDS Hope. Though Thabo accepted Jesus as his saviour a while ago, this was the first time he had heard of God as a good Father. Thabo's father gave him gifts instead of spending time with him and Thabo longed for a close relationship.
“I was not waiting for his presents; I just wanted to see him,” Thabo said. His childhood experience made it difficult for Thabo to see God as his Father in his spiritual journey. Leaving the camp Thabo felt encouraged and confident that he could be a good father in the future.
Pray for the township of Mamelodi to recognise God as their heavenly Father who wants a relatioship with them. Pray for the children at AIDS Hope to remember what they learnt at the camp and to share it with their friends. Pray for the men at AIDS Hope to be good father figures in the kids lives.