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Purpose Driven in Rwanda

Rick Warren's sweeping plan to defeat poverty.
2005This article is part of CT's digital archives. Subscribers have access to all current and past issues, dating back to 1956.

In 2002, God dropped a pebble into the pond of Kay Warren's life in the form of a magazine article about HIV/AIDS in Africa. Three years later, the ripple effect has reached all the way from her home in Orange County, California, to Africa.

It's still gaining strength through the PEACE plan, a bold ministry vision from Kay's influential husband, Saddleback Church's Rick Warren. I traveled to Kigali, Rwanda, with the Warrens and 42 other American evangelicals in July, where they joined 9,000 Rwandan Christians in launching the first "Purpose-Driven Nation" initiative to harness businesspeople, politicians, and pastors against the nation's biggest social problems.

Kay told Christianity Today seeing that article was "an appointment with God … he intended to grab my attention." The news photos were so graphic that she covered her eyes and peeked through just enough to read the words. There was a quote box in the middle of the article that read: "12 million children orphaned in Africa due to AIDS."

"It was as if I fell off the donkey on the Damascus road because I had no clue. I didn't know one single orphan." For days afterward, she was haunted by that fact: 12 million orphans.

Unable to block it from her mind, Kay began to get mad at God, praying, "Leave me alone. Even if it is true, what can I do about it? I'm a white, suburban soccer mom. There is nothing I can do." But that did no good.

After weeks, then months of anguish, she realized she faced a fateful choice. She could either pretend she did not know about the HIV/AIDS pandemic or she could become personally involved.

"I made a conscious choice to say, 'Yes.' I had a pretty good suspicion that I was saying yes to a bucket load of pain. In that moment, God shattered my ...

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