Monday, June 12, 2006


I mentioned at the end of my last blog that, in the battle against AIDS, everyone can contribute something. That truth was driven home to me by a man named Osborn.

Mama Mavimbela and the caregivers I wrote about, such as Maria, are making an obvious and dramatic contribution. They studied hard and have received intensive training in order to offer the care that they are providing in homes. They walk miles each day to minister mercy to many people suffering with AIDS, and their orphans.

But others are using their own skills, as well, to make a difference in the battle. Osborn is doing what he does best and loves most, and is doing it in a way that helps orphans and vulnerable children, as well as people suffering from AIDS in the East Orlando Township.

Osborn’s gift is gardening. He had never before heard the term “green thumb,” but when I told him that's what he was, he smiled. He admits that he has a special gift for growing anything green. Behind the church property where the Tlhokomelo support group meets, Osborn lovingly cultivates a series of garden plots into fresh vegetables that grow year-round in Johannesburg’s mild climate. The edibles are harvested and prepared for the benefit of the patients and orphans that Tlhokomelo is ministering to each week.

Each plot in the garden contains a layer of topsoil established on a deep bed of refuse. The garbage helps to hold in the moisture and create compost, Osborn says. The sight of healthy green vegetables springing up from a foundation of decay is an interesting metaphor for the role of Tlhokomelo’s caregivers in this AIDS-plagued township.

What he likes to grow most, Osborn says, is flowers. “But you cannot eat them,” he grins.

“I develop this garden for the community,” Osborn says, “for those that are affected by HIV and AIDS. They need something to eat.”

I was deeply impressed by Osborn's humility, honesty, and commitment. He was doing what he loves doing and is good at ... using the gifts that God has endowed him with ... to make a difference in the battle against AIDS, to help people overcome. God bless him!

My question for you is, what has God gifted you with? What do you love doing? And how can you, like Osborn and Maria and Mama Mavimbela and others, employ those gifts in the battle to save millions of suffering people from the scourge of AIDS?

Tomorrow, we look at what World Vision in South Africa is doing to equip the children and strengthen them for the battle.

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