NAIROBI, KENYA (ABP) — The Cooperative Baptist Fellowship is entering into a ministry partnership with two other groups to aid children orphaned by the AIDS epidemic in Africa.
The Atlanta-based moderate Baptist group will participate in the Hope Child Sponsorship Program in conjunction with the international Christian aid group World Vision and the Baptist Convention of Kenya.
The program will unite 350 children in the Soweto area of Nairobi with sponsoring families and churches in the United States. The sponsors will provide $30/month for each child.
“This is a tangible way for Fellowship churches to make an impact on the international HIV/AIDS pandemic,” said David Harding, CBF's associate coordinator for emergency and humanitarian relief. “World Vision has a proven track record of connecting resources to areas of the world that need attention and a Christian message. They are an international leader in HIV/AIDS ministry, and by partnering with them, we are giving churches and volunteers direct access to meaningful ministry.”
So far, the CBF-affiliated First Baptist Church of Rome, Ga., has sponsored 80 children. College Park Baptist Church in Orlando, Fla., has sponsored 12.
CBF's Kenya project will also involve Nairobi-based CBF missionaries Melody and Sam Harrell who work with a transformational development ministry in Soweto and another Nairobi neighborhood.
It will be built around the Baptist Children's Center in Nairobi. The center is a partnership between the Kenyan convention, CBF and Buckner Africa, a subsidiary of the Texas-based social services agency, Buckner Baptist Benevolences.
“The Harrells have been instrumental in building capacity for the orphanage to include a medical center, vocational training and agricultural production,” Harding said. “However, the reach of the center into the community is limited, and the Harrells want to bring holistic ministry to the rest of the neighborhood. An area development project seemed like an ideal path to explore in reaching the community.”
The area development project is based on a World Vision model. Their concept for the enterprise focuses on creating ways to build a livelihood and on social and spiritual transformation of individuals and the community. It is all designed, a CBF spokesman said, to bring holistic “shalom” or well-being in relationships as God intended them to be.
“The ADP model of transformation through sponsorship is a tremendous opportunity for the Fellowship to engage the great potential of a strong partner in World Vision and to put a personal face on missions as we extend the reach of the Fellowship to some of the most neglected in our area of influence,” said Barbara Baldridge, CBF's co-coordinator of global missions.
CBF Coordinator DanielVestal finalized the partnership during a recent 10-day visit to sub-Saharan Africa.
–With reporting by Lance Wallace