ACTION Zambia’s HIV/AIDS Ministry
C.R.O.S.S. Project Mission Statement
The ACTION Zambia C.R.O.S.S. Project exists to disciple and equip the Zambian Church with the knowledge and application of the Word of God in their response to issues of HIV/AIDS and domestic abuse.
What is the C.R.O.S.S. Project?
The C.R.O.S.S. Project stands for Churches Ready to Overcome Silence and Stigma and is a ministry of the evangelical mission ACTION Zambia Ministries. Currently, the Project has a four-member teaching and ministry team: Pastor John Chitambo, Counselor Eta Imasiku, and project coordinators Derek and Kristin Dearth.
In line with ACTION Zambia’s purpose, the C.R.O.S.S. Project seeks:
-to strengthen the local church
-by training pastors, elders/leaders, church-based HIV/AIDS care teams, and Bible colleges
-to use the Word of God
-to understand how they are negatively affected by HIV/AIDS and domestic abuse
-and to biblically respond to these issues in their own lives, congregations, families and communities. (Eph. 4:12-14)
Why is this Needed?
HIV/AIDS impacts the entire nation of Zambia, including Christians and church-regulars. 15% of Zambians are HIV-positive with a 20-25% urban HIV infection, and only 28% of adults know their HIV status. Life expectancy at birth is around 50 years old. There are many factors that contribute to the spread of HIV in Zambia and its Church:
- Marital unfaithfulness
- Domestic violence (over 50% of Zambian wives are victims of domestic violence or sexual abuse)
- Lack of concern for orphans and widows
- Sexual appetites unchecked
Because Christianity is very shallow in Zambia and is described as “a mile wide, but an inch deep,” many Christians and churches have chosen to embrace silence rather than engage these issues. This is largely owing to a lack of biblical knowledge and application and holding to cultural beliefs.
The Goal of the C.R.O.S.S. Project – [How the Gospel Impacts the C.R.O.S.S. Project]
The C.R.O.S.S. Project is saturated with the Bible, empowered by the Spirit, and rooted in the Gospel. We believe that no lasting change can happen without these elements. By addressing specific issues, like domestic abuse or compassionate care in the community, with the Word of God and the hope of the Gospel, we pray that non-believers in attendance will be saved, that Christian men will stop beating their wives, that pastors will gain a heart and vision for reaching out to those who are infected and affected by HIV/AIDS in their communities, and more. This is a ministry much like the apostle Paul prepared Timothy for: “Being trained in the words of the faith and of the good doctrine…train yourself for godliness.” (1 Tim. 4:6b-8)
How we do it
There are three ways in which The C.R.O.S.S. Project currently seeks to accomplish its goals:
1) A 16-lesson, God-centered, Bible-based curriculum is taught weekly in compound (slum) churches around Lusaka that applies the Bible to the issue of HIV/AIDS-related issues and domestic abuse. Our lessons include:
- Why We Do HIV/AIDS Ministry
- A Broad Overview of HIV/AIDS
- The Pre-Eminence of the Bible in HIV/AIDS Ministry
- How to Share God’s Word
- Understanding the Stigma Surrounding HIV/AIDS
- HIV/AIDS and Stigma in the Church
- Encouraging Believers Who Are Stigmatized
- Introduction to Christian Counseling
- Facing HIV/AIDS for Ourselves
- Family Disclosure of HIV/AIDS Status
- Biblical Gender Part 1 – How Do Zambians View Gender
- Biblical Gender Part 2 – Domestic Abuse and HIV/AIDS
- Biblical Gender Part 3 – Gender at Creation (Genesis 1 & 2)
- Biblical Gender Part 4 – Gender at the Fall (Genesis 3)
- Biblical Gender Part 5 – Gender Redeemed Through Christ
- Having an Eternal vs. Temporal Perspective
The course includes a free copy of the lessons to each group and a vernacular Bible for each member who completes the course.
We also provide followup with each group to assess their implementation of the course in their own lives, churches and communities and to see what further assistance can be provided to help them reach their goals.
2) A 2-5 day condensed version of the 16-week course is taught to local Bible colleges or pastor’s fellowships in rural areas and to churches in other cities in Zambia multiple times a year.
3) The C.R.O.S.S. team does outreach projects that seek to share the gospel, show the love of Christ, and draw people to Himself. Some of these projects include rural clinics, HIV testing, visiting local AIDS clinics and hospices, visiting local orphanages, and conducting hospice training seminars.
4) The C.R.O.S.S. team helps out in counseling and with some medical assistance at a local feeding program in George Compound for 100 HIV-positive children. It’s run by a local church and its pastor, Wozifera Ngoma, and his wife, Easter, who are also on staff with ACTION Zambia Ministries. The feedings happen for lunch every Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday.
In the end, the C.R.O.S.S. Project is about people coming to know Christ as their personal Lord and Savior. We desire to see Christians and churches live authentic, mature Christian lifestyles flowing out of a vibrant personal relationship with Christ that will impact every area of their lives and churches, especially in relation to the huge cultural issues of HIV/AIDS and domestic abuse in Zambia.
ACTION Zambia Country Director
Derek also serves as ACTION Zambia’s Country Director and provides leadership, direction, and vision in conjunction with the AZ ministry coordinators towards the fulfillment of the purpose and mission of AZ, while at the same time doing various, needed administration and recruitment duties.
“For the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh but have divine power to destroy strongholds.” 2 Corinthians 10:4 (ESV)