Though millions are impacted by the AIDS pandemic daily, December 1 has been established as World AIDS Day, when victims of the scourge are remembered. A reported 20 million people have died since the first cases were diagnosed in 1981. Today fifty percent of the people living with AIDS worldwide are women. That statistic is even higher for women in sub-Saharan Africa, where women are infected at an earlier age than men, particularly in the 15-24 age group.
Nyack alumni Ben ('02) and Janeen ('03)Messner have responded to Godís call to this region. Under the Georgia-based organization, Adventures in Missions, they currently serve in Swaziland, a place where 40% of the population is infected with the AIDS virus. This husband and wife team returned to the United States recently for a brief stay, which was spent in part on the Rockland campus. Ben shared his heart with students at a Sunday night Jacobís Ladder to convey the glaring realities of the commitment to missions. Despite their history in short term missions trips, since they left the States this past June, the Messners have encountered opportunities to meet Jesus all over again. Still in the midst of their personal tests of faith, they have not hesitated to speak the Good News of the gospel into people's lives, as they urge adolescents to commit to a life of abstinence.
To learn more about Dream For Africa and/or to consider missions work with Ben and Janeen in 2005, visit www.themessnerjourney.com. Missions updates are also posted at the Adventures in Missions website, www.adventures.org.