When people hear the word AIDS, so many different things come to mind. AIDS is a widely known disease that has ravaged countless lives in many parts of the world. Sometimes the enormity of the issue can seem so overwhelming that we get lost in statistics and forget that there was or is a real person behind each one of those statistics. If you have ever met someone who suffers from AIDS, you know that it is real and tragic. On my last trip to Kenya I met two orphaned girls whose parents all died from AIDS and now the only thing these two girls have left of their parents is this disease passed on to them. In spite of this tragic story and those like it all over the globe, God is at work to bring people to Himself and comfort those in pain… that is the story I want to share with you.
In November we partnered with an organization called HEART to do the first ever community wide HIV/AIDS awareness program and testing in Kandaria. I recently visited Kandaria and asked several people in the community, as well as community leaders, what impact this program had in Kandaria. They shared with me how AIDS is a very delicate issue with a lot of stigma and misinformation, and how difficult it is for anyone to take the step to be tested. (Often times, if someone is tested they will be shunned completely from their community.) Community members and leaders alike agreed that this program was a huge success because it was done in such a way that eased people’s fears. The testing was done in the context of a four-day seminar on HIV/AIDS education and counseling from a Biblical perspective. Solomon, a community member in Kandaria, said, “We discussed such issues as when you are married to be faithful, and when you are not married to be pure as God intended”. He went on to say how the marriage counseling session was so helpful and encouraged community members to invest in their marriages.
When it came time for testing, all testing and counseling was done confidentially and every one of The 410 Bridge leadership counsel members and their wives led the way by being the first people to be tested that day. Over 300 adults attended the seminar and over 600 children were ministered to while their parents attended the seminar. The community was greatly impacted in this small first step. Those that tested positive will have much needed follow up treatment, and hopefully the seminar will be a move in the right direction toward prevention.
The amazing impact of this program made me ask the question… “What problem do I see in our world that seems too big make an impact?”
There is nothing too big for God to handle, so what is He asking you to make a difference in today?