“Taking this trip was overwhelming, and as it was only a few weeks ago, I think we’re all still processing it. The first impression was what we expected: driving into a village and having a bunch of kids come up to us and dance for us and stuff. But from there on, the realities became much more sobering.

"We visited with a group of people who ministered daily to those suffering from AIDS, then visited a house where four girls, who were left as orphans because of this disease, lived. We left there, going back to our hotel, knowing these girls didn’t have power, water, any of the things we would consider elemental and necessary for life.
“The official statistic is that 31 percent of this country we were in (Lesotho) is infected with the HIV virus. But then when you go and visit a village of about 300 people, where they don’t have a clinic — like we did — and walk by the graveyard and see 20-30 fresh graves of people who have died from pneumonia or tuberculosis, you realize those aren’t even figured into that statistic. The more accurate death rate is probably closer to 50 percent at this point!
“We thought we would see what an impact World Vision was making there, but seeing as how this is really kind of a new field of ministry for them in this country, their work there has just begun. I found myself getting angry at how big this problem is and how little it’s being covered in this country right now.”
Like most of us would, the men of Third Day feel deeply saddened and angry at what they saw and heard in Lesotho. Their challenge, like ours, is answering the all-important “What can I do?” question, though for them it weighs heavier still, due to the platform and audience they have been entrusted with.
Says front man Mac Powell, “I think education is the key … first educating ourselves and learning more about the problem, so we can accurately share with our audience.” 
“What World Vision does is amazing,” says Anderson. “What I relate it to is the story of the Good Samaritan, who most people see as the hero of that parable, right? Well, the Samaritan does recognize the needs of the man left for dead, and he takes him to an inn and gives the innkeeper money to cover his expenses. But I think the real hero of that story is the innkeeper because it is he who is nursing him back to health and attending to his daily needs and rehabilitation. The fact is it takes both.
“I believe God has called us in America to be good Samaritans to the needy of this world. Not everyone is called to be an innkeeper, but all of us have been blessed abundantly more than we understand and can say to an ‘innkeeper’ organization like World Vision or Compassion International, ‘You take care of them. I’ll pay the bill.’
“People don’t want to hear this, but I believe there is an underlying attitude — I don’t know whether it’s racism or nationalism or just elitism — that has diseased the American church. It’s an attitude that really views the rest of the world as sub-human. We really think we are entitled to the standard of living we are so blessed with in this country, and we turn our backs on helping the suffering people of the world because ‘I deserve at least a $50K job with health insurance, so I can make my payments on my SUV and get my high-def TV; and, by God, why isn’t there high-speed internet in my community yet?’

Guitarist Avery adds,  “See, our challenge is to communicate what we’ve seen and what we feel about what we’ve seen in a way that doesn’t bring people down but inspires them with hope to motivate them to do good works on behalf of God’s people.”

Anderson agrees. “The fact is,” he confesses, “I wasn’t doing anything about this a few years ago. I was ignorant of the facts. But with knowledge comes responsibility; and I believe that when our audience hears about the problem and understands that there are tangible things they can do to address it, I trust that they will respond. I refuse to believe otherwise.”

For more information on World Vision’s Hope Child Initiative, visit worldvision.org on the Web or write to P.O. Box 9716, Federal Way, WA 98063-9716.

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