Since the 1980s, the AIDS epidemic has had deadly repercussions for millions of Africans. The only two comparable outbreaks are the Spanish Flu of 1918 that killed some 25 million people and the Black Death, which one historian made a strong case killed 50 million people in the 14th century.

Cameroon reported its first AIDS case in 1985, and it grew exponentially from there. In the first episode of Christianity Today’s Prayer amid Pandemic, Elias Bongmba, the author of Facing a Pandemic: The African Church and the Crisis of AIDS, shares how the legacy of Christian missions paved the way for the church to serve those suffering from a disease that carried a heavy stigma.

Lawrence Chia, chairman of the Evangelical Fellowship of Singapore, offers this week’s prayer.

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Music by Urban Nerd Beats, Prod. Riddiman, and Oliver Dúvel

Prayer amid Pandemic is produced by Morgan Lee, Matt Linder, Mike Cosper, and Erik Petrik