According to UNICEF, by 2030 the region of sub-Saharan Africa will be home to the greatest number of children under 18 years of age. Currently the children in this region number 380 million.
When I think about the needs of children across the continent, that number overwhelms me. But recently I had an experience that renewed my hope in the face of these statistics.
One Sunday my wife and I visited a church in a poor community in the center of Kinshasa, the capital city of the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Recent rains had left the streets a mix of mud and garbage. I’ve seen poverty, but I was a bit taken aback by what I saw that day. Little kids stood in doorways, many wearing nothing but a pair of shorts or just underwear. Young girls waded through ankle-deep water in their courtyard to get to the water spigot to fill their buckets. Some teenage boys made the most of the opportunity by blocking the road and then telling us they would help us through—for a price. As I thought about what it would take to meet all the different needs in that community, I was overwhelmed, knowing this was just one small section of this sprawling city of nearly 12 million people.
After weaving through barely passable streets, we finally pulled up to the small church. Here was a ministry facility and a pool of volunteers that already existed—right in the middle of all this need! I realized anew that by helping this church (and others like it) to maximize their efforts in ministry to children, we could make a real difference in young lives all across the city.
Numbers can be discouraging, even paralyzing, but that day I was reminded of another number. The Assemblies of God in Africa has nearly 80,000 churches that can potentially partner with Africa’s Children. If each church were engaged in ministering to the needs of the kids in its community, these numbers would not overwhelm us.
Africa’s Children envisions an Africa where every child has experienced the love of Christ and has chosen to follow Him. To move toward the accomplishment of this vision with renewed energy and commitment, Africa’s Children is preparing to launch the Africa’s Children NOW Initiative. This Initiative seeks to
encourage every local church in Africa to be involved in outreach to and discipleship of children in their communities;
raise awareness in our US churches of the need for children’s workers on the continent;
tie US partner churches into projects that truly enhance the ability of African churches to reach kids, e.g., Christian schools, children’s church structures, teacher training materials, and outreaches in urban areas.
Our goal is to officially launch the NOW Initiative in August 2017. We are asking you, our current partners, to begin praying with us NOW that this initiative will be a huge success. Maybe, you are not a partner, but you feel a burden to be involved. Attached is a document that may answer many of your questions on how to get involved.
Any other questions can be emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org.