Jim Wilson is the retired director of Community Christian Ministries in Moscow, Idaho. He will be posting regularly, so check back in soon!

Friday, February 24, 2006

Careless Tourists

The following is from Vicki Van Gorkam. She, with her husband Fred, are missionary veterinarians in Ethiopia. Fred, her husband will be speaking at the Nuart Theatre after the showing of “Beyond the Gates of Splendor” at 7:00 pm on March 5, 2006. That is 516 S. Main St. in Moscow, ID.

I’m mad at uncaring tourists, who have been visiting the Hammar people for years and exposing them to HIV/AIDS with perverted sexual acts, previously unknown to the Hammar.

For years the Hammar and Bunna had been more or less protected. HIV/AIDS had not reached these tribal peoples because of their remote locations. Even the Ethiopian truck drivers who might have been carrying the deadly virus thought the tribal women were beneath them and did not desire contact with Bunna or Hammar women. School teachers who came to live there from other areas of Ethiopia brought their own women with them.

Sharon Smith, who worked as a nurse at the Alduba station when we were there from 1987 to 2002, did a lot of teaching about AIDS and encouraged abstinence before marriage with the “True Love Waits” program. After explaining how AIDS is spread, she asked some Bunna people how long it would take for it to reach the entire tribe. Their answer? “Yesterday!” The Bunna and Hammar live very promiscuous lifestyles.

Now HIV/AIDS has hit the Hammar tribe, and it’s sure to spread. People are lying all around the clinic in Turmi dying of resultant diseases like cholera. People are “standing with their mouths open” in amazement at how fast Hammar are dying. There is no one to help. Nobody cares. There are no anti-viral drugs for the Hammar.

In my distress over this report, I cried out for a Word from the Lord, and I read Psalm 10:
“In his arrogance the wicked man hunts down the weak, who are caught in the schemes he devises. He boasts of the cravings of his heart; he blesses the greedy and reviles the Lord. In his pride the wicked does not seek him; in all his thoughts there is no room for God….He says to himself, ‘Nothing will shake me; I’ll always be happy and never have trouble….He lies in wait near the villages; from ambush he murders the innocent, watching in secret for his victims….His victims are crushed, they collapse; they fall under his strength. He says to himself, ‘God has forgotten; he covers his face and never sees.’…But you, O God, do see trouble and grief; you consider it to take it in hand. The victim commits himself to you; you are the helper of the fatherless. Break the arm of the wicked and evil man; call him to account for his wickedness…You hear, O Lord, the desire of the afflicted; you encourage them, and you listen to their cry, defending the fatherless and the oppressed, in order that man, who is of the earth, may terrify no more.”

We are praying that God will use this situation to open the hearts of the Hammar to the Gospel. Up until now they have had hard hearts and have seen no need for God’s love in their lives. Pray with us that God will soften their hearts and they will see that their only hope in this life and in eternal life to come is in Christ!!

Still mad but praying,

Vicki for the VGz

P.S. Please be praying, too, for Fred’s travel to the States mid-February to mid-March. We’re contacting some of you who are on his route. Our family will be coming to the U.S. late June through late August. We’re still working on that schedule. Let us know if you’ll be around and would like for us to visit. vangorkom@ethionet.et

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