I sometimes feel like a broken record. (Does anybody even know what that means anymore??!!) You know, when the needle is stuck in the groove and keeps repeating the same thing over and over and over again.
“Worldwide we have done such a great job of scaring people re HIV/AIDS that we now have people scared of PEOPLE! And the only way to change this is to educate, educate, educate.”
I cannot even count how many times I’ve stated this obvious fact…on my blog, on facebook, on twitter, at conferences, among friends, wherever!
And how many times we’ve asked for prayer for how to change things here in Ukraine! Lord, send us some like-minded Ukrainians who see the same need. And, Lord, direct us to useful information…knowledge plus practical.
Is our God faithful?
Does He answer prayer?
Well, yes. But not necessarily on my time schedule. And not necessarily in ways that I would expect.
He is God, after all.
I cannot even express the joy and expectation for great things I have felt since a meeting at our flat earlier this week. Initially we were meeting to discuss some summer camp thoughts. We shared what we do, and others shared their expertise. And hearts opened and raw emotion flowed freely. (Thankful over the years to be considered a safe place for many to pour out their hearts — praises, frustrations, sins, whatever.)
And then Traci Heim (Project Hopeful) and Viktor Grachov (Positive Heart) joined the discussion. (We were scheduled to meet with them after the camp meeting.) Traci had questions about the system here… and the next thing you know…real answers for real situations bubbled to the surface and I am confident that a group is coming together to tackle the serious stigma of living with HIV/AIDS in Ukraine.
There is palpable fear in revealing one’s status here.
So, what do moms need to know before even leaving the hospital? Who is offering emotional and spiritual counsel to these women…in a world where you don’t dare tell your situation? In a hospital where HIV+ mothers and their children are separated for long lengths of time, unlike the other moms. Where the clergy tells the women that it’s their sin and God is punishing them. Where suicide often seems the only answer.
Please, please, please pray with all of us as vulnerable people consider their potential role in boldly fighting back against stigma while also compassionately coming alongside others who have been recently diagnosed.
This is huge, my friends.