What If? Concert Tour Update
The What If? Concert tours focusing on calling the youth to create a HIV-generation were inspired from Louie Giglio’s Passion conferences. Having been blessed to volunteer for Passion for two years and watching the Passion Conference DVDs over and over I wondered What If? The youth of Kenya came together shouting praises to God and believing Yes We Can wipe out HIV-Aids in our generation. The Partners for Care Kenyan team of course doesn’t have the resources Passion has been blessed with. And the audiences attending walk from their villages or live in a slum and could never afford to pay to attend the concert – some of them barely survive because of a lack of food. We have as they say “gone interior” to the village people. But, the team does have some of the things Passion has. It has passion. Passion to wipe out AIDS. Almost every member of the team has an infected family member, has lost close family members who have died from AIDS and some are caring for the orphans left behing. Even in the Partners for Care house where many of them live we have with us Brian. Brian is one team members’ nephew, who at age six has AIDS. The team has Temples of Worship, a gifted group of artists who want to see AIDS eliminated from their Nation. We don’t have Louie, Beth Moore, John Piper or any of the other wonderful speakers from Passion, but we have Dr. PLO Lumumba, one of the most elegant orators in Kenya who has agreed to be a spokes person for the What If? campaign. And we have good, strong, passionate pastors like Bishop David Thagana and Pastor Omondi to preach the purity mesage that will wipe out AIDS. And, the former Youth President of Kenya Mwangi Mukami is working with us speaking at some of the venues. Most Kenyans know both Dr. Lumumba and Mwangi Mukama and respect what they say. It is God’s favor that we have the blessing to work with these men of God. The What If? Concert in Siaya was all we had prayed for and more. The on the ground work the Partners for Care staff had done was deep and wide. They worked through families, friends and Muma Churches Fellowship an organization of 22 churches in the surrounding villages. The pastors from this organization had posted the posters, distributed handbills and announced the event from the pulpit. They came and met with us before the event. We asked them how they wanted us to conduct the day. We asked permission for Pastor Omondi to preach. They said very much so and one of their pastors interpreted. A very known artist, Sara, from the area performed. Also a local theater group performed a HIV/AIDS awareness drama skit which was very much accepted by the people. The day was amazing starting in the morning at the hotel. The hotel staff had seen our hats and our t-shirts What If? and knew we were there for HIV-AIDS awareness. One hotel staff came to Sam our communication director and said please test me now. I want to know my status. I am tired of living without knowing. We moved to the village market area where the concert would be held. We knew we were deep in the interior where poverty and lack of opportunties is great – signs were everywhere. No cars – everyone walked, poor unpaved roads, children in torn and ragged clothes. The people from the villages come to this marketplace on Tuesdays and Fridays in the afternoon.. When we arrived there was a “stage”. Not what you typically see even in Kenya. It was constructed from boards…..well you would just have to see it to understand. But, that stage performed very well! After we sat up we walked around this market. It consisted of small wooden structures with small stores, two table restaurants, shops etc. In a large grassy area were wooden structures. One by one women carried in produce – potatoes, onions, clothes, fresh fish, fruits and soon there was a full “shopping” center with hundreds of people shopping. The What If? Concert was opened by the chairmen of the Muma Churches Organization. He introduced Pastor Omondi who explained the purpose of the What If? Concerts – to create a HIV-free generation. He introduced the Temples of Worship who sang and danced. One of the Temples of Worship – George comes from this area. His whole family including his parents were there to hear George worshipping on the stage in the open market village. The local leaders estimated the crowd at over 2,000. The cross was raised to the platform as Pastor Omondi asked those that did not know Christ to come forward. Over 100 people stepped forward to receive Christ.
The local pastors were there to receive them into their churches. Each new believer was given a salvation bible. There were so many people who wanted to sign committment cards we couldn’t pass them out faster enough.
At the conclusion of the event as darkness came we met for tea with the pastors to ask them to evaluate the event and how we could do better next time. Everyone of them said just “stay longer” and “come back”. They took committment cards for their churches to distribute to members who could not attend the concert. And the best of all they committed to not just encourage a pregnant woman to test to see if she is possitive but to take the woman by the hand for testing. They committed to stop babies being born in their village with HIV/AIDS. Tomorrow is Mathare. We hear the Bishop from our host church announced the event Sunday from the pulpit. We have heard he will attend. We feel your prayers as we feel these What If? Concerts have had God’s favor. Praying for the concert tomorrow in the slums in Kenya, Conie
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