The Evangelical Bible Church we attend has an outstanding HIV & AIDS ministry, which focuses on two core aspects of addressing the issue: prevention & support.
The After School Program (which we have highlighted in previous blogs) is the “prevention” ministry, where we share significant time with the children & young adults in our community.
Home Based Care is the “support” ministry, which focuses on loving & supporting people who are HIV positive. Five ladies from the church serve in this ministry & between them they look after 45 people in the community (mainly women and a few orphans) who live with HIV. Each of these ladies is assigned a number of people to look after & often visit them on a weekly or fortnightly basis.
Last week Kate & I were fortunate enough to attend one of these Home Based Care visits.
We visited the home of a lady in her mid forties who was both a mother & grandmother. We were also joined by another lady (neighbour) of similar age. Both ladies have HIV however are receiving ARV treatment. One spoke Otjiherero, one spoke Afrikaans, & we spoke English! We were very thankful of our Home Based Carer who accompanied us & spoke all three languages.
The house we entered was very basic (as are many houses in the poorer part of Windhoek). It did have electricity but did not have running water. Three generations appear to live in the one house. People are unemployed, money is scarce & life is tough.
Finding a source of income is a pressing issue. Our host spoke of her desire to start a business, and then of her frustration when the small amount of fruit that was growing on her tree was stolen during the night; she was hoping to sell this in order to buy some food for her own family.
We stayed for around an hour. During that time we exchanged greetings, shared stories & read the Bible together. Both ladies then told us of the difficulties they faced in daily living & offered some prayer points. We then prayed for them & brought their requests before God.
They told us how much they appreciated our visit & we told them how honoured we were to be invited into their home.
In addition to these regular home based care visits, each HIV & AIDS client receives practical support from the church. On this occasion both ladies needed assistance to purchase electricity credit from the local shopping centre (about five kilometers away). We drove them to & from the shopping centre & the church assisted with some cash to help purchase electricity.
We had been warned to be careful (but not anxious) at this particular shopping centre. We decided to stay with the car while the ladies were purchasing their credit. Kate wisely reminded me that the doors of the car should be locked even though we were sitting in it.
Shortly after locking the doors, three men approached the car & one of them tried to open the driver’s side door. Uncertain what their intention was (steal the car, steal whatever they could grab, assault the driver as he was white & sitting in a car???), however they did not get far as the door was locked. I thank God for prompting Kate (who in turn prompted me), as the outcome might have been ugly. White faces in a black disadvantaged neighbourhood are an easy target.
We were privileged to meet these two ladies & share in their struggles. Life is difficult enough without having to deal with a deadly disease on a daily basis. It was great to see the church reaching out in a very holistic way as they try to address the spiritual & physical needs of those suffering in the community with HIV & AIDS.
“My body & mind may waste away, but God remains the foundation of my life, & my inheritance forever” Psalm 73:26