December focus on HIV/AIDS
THERE IS HOPE1
As each sibling died, Agnes took care of their children. “They had no one else” she explains. The partners of her brother and sisters were either already dead or disappeared when the sickness came. So last year, Agnes a widow, found herself responsible for 13 children – seven orphans, three children of her own, and three children from her older daughters.
Then she herself became sick. The symptoms were familiar, weakness, vomiting, diarrhea. “I thought my whole family was bewitched”.
Agnes dragged herself out of bed to seek help from a local Pentecostal pastor, Cosmas Tembo. Cosmas had been trained by World Vision as an AIDS caregiver and counselor. He persuaded Agnes to go to a health clinic, a 15 minute bus ride away. Agnes had to lean on the Cosmas’ shoulders as he helped her on to the bus. At the clinic she tested HIV positive. Cosmas reassured Agnes that there was hope.
“He started encouraging me. He told me that there were plenty of others who were HIV positive but were using Anti Retroviral Therapy and were living OK”, she says. “He said I could too, but I must take it consistently.”
That day was the start of a firm friendship. Cosmas began to visit Agnes’ home every other day. Through his resources he was able to give Agnes’ family extra clothes, blankets, food, and mosquito nets. Agnes began her Anti Retroviral Therapy. She soon began to feel better and found some work. “There’s encouragement. I have a new lease of life,” she says.
They call it the Lazarus effect – people suffering from AIDS literally getting up from their deathbeds and living again.
THINK ABOUT IT
Although Agnes` life has been filled with pain, she finds hope in the love and care or those around her, including Cosmas Tembo. We all possess resources that can bring hope to others. Who is around you that’s HIV+ that needs hope? What talents or resources do you have that could bring hope to and bless these people? What could you actually do? Write some of those things down and ask God to help you use your talents and resources to show His hope to these people and bring life.
LIVE IT OUT
As you have thought about people who are in need of hope, encouragement and life – now find ways to live this out in action. Some ideas are:
- Act upon some of the ideas brainstormed above.
- Visit someone coping with HIV/Aids. Bring baking and stay and talk with them so they don’t feel so isolated.
- Pray for Agnes and her family.
- Pray for others like Agnes all over the developing world.
As you are doing your Christmas shopping or are walking around, think of those who are working in the stores this season. They are immersed in the consumerism side of Christmas and have to deal with grumpy shoppers. Consider this:
- Get to know the names of the people working in the stores. Smile, be polite and wish them a sincere Merry Christmas.
- Pray for retail staff and clerks later when you’re at home and ask God to reveal the wonder of joy of what Christmas should really be all about – Jesus Christ’s birth.
- Who is alone that you could invite over for Christmas dinner or over the holidays so they aren’t having to be alone during this time of year?
See December’s full justice post with all the details here
Drop by next Friday for another post with prayer focuses and………. MERRY CHRISTMAS!
1 ~ ‘There is Hope’ story from World Vision