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Third Annual Saddleback Global Summit on AIDS & The Church Focuses on Cooperative Leadership:
Date:11/29/2007

find solutions to this pandemic on the Continent.

"We have entered an important stage in the struggle against AIDS, and are beginning to see the fruits of the many efforts over the years," said First Lady Kagame. "But we have to remain steadfast. Now, more than ever, we have all the tools we need to turn despair into hope."

First Lady Mwanawasa reminded the audience that AIDS transcends all societies. "I am not saying to fight AIDS, but to conquer it," she said. "Today we call on leaders from all sectors of society to join hands with the Church and double efforts to fight AIDS, especially encouraging abstinence among young people. At home, we teach, 'Abstinence is cool.'"

Other speakers throughout the day echoed the importance of individual compassion, the various sectors working together and the vital role that the Church is playing in this effort.

In speaking about the seven reasons the local church must lead, South African Pastor John Thomas explained that AIDS is 95 percent a moral problem requiring a spiritual/moral resolution. "The Church is God's solution," he said. "It is the only organization that can combat AIDS, as it is everywhere and is the most grassroots organization imaginable."

According to Lynne Hybels, wife of Bill Hybels, founding pastor of Willow Creek Church in suburban Chicago, AIDS is not about the statistics, it's about the people. "Good intentions are not enough. We must carefully plan, but must do with a sense of urgency," because while we are planning, people are dying.

"The antidote to feeling overwhelmed is not to think about the big solution, but to think about the small solution that can make a difference. The big solution is too big to handle, but we can all make a difference in some small way," Mrs. Hybels added.

"The war on AIDS is a giant-sized battle we must win, but we can't ignore those with no voice -- children orphaned by AIDS," said Dennis Rainey president, CEO and co-founder
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