Mission Issues

Thinking and re-thinking missionary issues

Courageous Leadership Award

The Willow Creek Association gives recognition to churches involved in the fight against HIV/AIDS. They name it their Courageous Leadership Award. I honestly do not consider myself as a very courageous leader. I think during the past twenty months since we had started with our home-based caring project in Swaziland, it was very often a matter of “fools rush in where angels fear to tread” – (as my father would have said!) And I learnt to be much less harsh on Moses when he tried to find excuses NOT to do what God commanded him to do. But somehow God was also patient with me and encouraged me to go on with this project.
Earlier this year a friend from the Netherlands made contact with me. She had heard about this award and she asked me to make a presentation to the Willow Creek Association. I would be dishonest if I did not mention that the prize money for the first three places also played a role. But more than that, I was curious to know how our project would feature in terms of what other churches are doing all over the world. I therefore started working on the material for the presentation.
Recently the winners were announced. We weren’t one of them. However, our project did get a place on the list of churches who received “Special Recognition” for the work they are doing. According to an e-mail I received, we were amongst the top six churches in the world involved in an AIDS ministry. Last night I received an e-mail to inform me that the information had been put on Willow Creek’s website. If you are interested, you can have a look at it here
What does this mean for us? Not so much, as it is really not about us but about the Lord. He was the One who encouraged us to do this work and who still keeps the people motivated to do it. However, I think it is important in the sense that, probably the majority of the world are still living in denial of the problem of HIV/AIDS. If this could help someone to realise that this disease is a terrible reality or if they could realise that a fairly insignificant group of Christians in one of the smallest countries in the world are making a huge difference in the lives of people with hardly any money or resources and that others could follow their example, then it would have been worthwhile.


Wednesday, August 15, 2007 - Posted by | HIV & AIDS, Mission, Swaziland


  1. I think anything that brings recognition to the HIV/AIDS problem and how some are working to mitigate its effects is good. On the other hand I think contests like these breed inner thoughts that can pervert how G-d wants us to think about ourselves and ministry, but this is the way of the world, is it not? I’m not surprised at all at how you ranked in the top ministries. Your work is amazing.

    Comment by Maya | Thursday, August 30, 2007 | Reply

  2. If you read tomorrow’s post, then you will realise that this is really a big problem for me on how to handle this type of situation. I had the chance some months ago to meet two of the king’s wives in Swaziland to speak to them about our ministry. The one offered to become a patron for the NGO which we are in the process of registering. Is this a worldly way of doing our work or is this God’s providence to get greater exposure to the problem? I honestly do not have the final answer to this.

    Comment by Arnau van Wyngaard | Thursday, August 30, 2007 | Reply

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