That conversation started my husband and me on a journey back to Africa where we lived for three years in the Johannesburg suburb of Kempton Park. I conducted story hours in an orphanage and after-school programs for vulnerable children in nearby Tembisa. I had begun figure skating as research for an earlier book and was thrilled to find a rink ten minutes from my new home. My two passions quickly meshed. What if a promising young South African figure skater was worried that people at the rink would find out her father had HIV? How would her family be affected? What would that do to her Olympic dreams?
Surely the Church should be a safe place to share our pain and failure and find grace; a place where it is safe to say, “I’m struggling--with depression, with infertility, with pornography, with my marriage or whatever--and not be met with shocked expressions. It should be possible to say, “I have HIV,” and not be judged for how people assume (rightly or wrongly) that I got it. But is it?
On this World AIDS Day let’s remember with compassion our brothers and sisters who are living with HIV disease. Yes, our brothers and sisters. Christians have it too. Christians sin. Christians have unfaithful spouses who bring the virus home. And many who never considered Christ before, get a wake up call when they learn their status and seek the Savior who touched lepers and ate with sinners.
Let’s make World AIDS Day a day of prayer for people living with HIV and AIDS wherever they live.