2 recent college grads battle AIDS in Africa

By Blair Pippin   |  6 May 2014
2 recent college grads battle AIDS in Africa (photo)
Photo courtesy Blair Pippin

Every 16 seconds, someone in Sub-Saharan Africa will die from HIV/AIDS.

While Justin Miller was in college at Vanderbilt, he began to understand this grave problem. The following summer, he traveled to Kenya to create a documentary film to expose the harsh realities of the disease and the suffering the Kenyans were facing. Justin’s hope was that the documentary would prompt westerners to lend a helping hand. However, the Lord had different plans.

Justin met two local pastors in Kenya who had a vision for how they could mobilize the churches in their country to care for people in need. However, they lacked the resources and organizational skills necessary to launch an effective movement.

On the same trip, Justin met Pamela, an AIDS victim. Suffering, she had been cast out of her village and forced to live in a tiny shack. Her husband had left her and taken her children away, blaming her for contracting the disease even though it was no fault of her own. Justin’s heart broke for Pamela as he heard her story, but he was hopeful because of her faith in Christ. At this moment he thought, “This is why the church exists. To extend the love of Jesus to people like Pamela.”

When Justin returned to Vanderbilt he was compelled to start a non-profit called CARE for AIDS that would mobilize Kenyan churches to care for families suffering from HIV and AIDS. His Cru Bible study encouraged and affirmed God’s leading. His roommate and friend, Nick Gordon, went a step further and agreed to be Justin’s first employee.

As the friends graduated, Nick moved to Kenya to lay the foundation for the ministry’s work in partnership with local churches while Justin remained stateside to build the organization’s support base. God has allowed them to use the strategic leadership skills they learned in Cru to train Kenyan leaders to have a ministry. These leaders have ministered to thousands.

Churches take people through a 9-month program that consists of spiritual and physical counseling, a food supplement, and training on how they can make a living and provide for themselves. Their goal is that as their lives are transformed, the participants attribute that change to the Lord.

Pamela’s life is one that has seen an amazing transformation. Once shunned, now that she has gone through the program she has seen God do some amazing things. She has become much healthier, has reunited with her family, and is even providing financially for them.

As of 2014, more than 4,500 families have come through the program with CARE for AIDS. That means that more than 10,000 children now have a family to grow up with. And now, close to 1,000 people have made a decision to follow Jesus Christ for the first time.

Find out more about Cru graduates making an impact.