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HIV & AIDs and Integral Mission

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Over 90 people from 30 countries came to Chiang Mai to hear and share about HIV & AIDS - a ministry that challenges us in so many ways. Its effects touch so many of our "traditional" ministries. It truly does need an integral and thoroughly Christian perspective to address the multitude of challenges facing not only each individual but also their communities.

Passion and com-passion have to walk together. Our first contributor brought both. Raised in a Christian home, Gracia spoke of her rebellion against her parents' standards and the utter anguish of being raped. "I thought that was the worst day of my life .. but it was not". That came when Gracia was diagnosed HIV positive and was dramatically confronted by a whole range of issues, about family, health and life itself.

Gracia was found by, and found, the God of compassion in the middle of all this - "By His wounds I am healed". Her passion is now to help her fellow-sufferers.

Delegates from high-incidence countries in Africa spoke about how HIV & AIDS can trap women between life-threatening infection and economic ruin. Others from Asia described the challenge facing orphans. Issues of denial, stigmatisation, testing and protection were debated professionally with passion - but case studies and delegate experience properly intruded with com-passion as well.

 

Together with case studies, devotions and small-group sharing, we had plenary addresses on

  • An assessment of trends in HIV & AIDS care
  • The role of the Church and Christian volunteer
  • Prevention and social consequences
  • Care and support programmes
  • HIV & AIDS as a development issue
  • Advocacy and resource mobilisation

One agency that sponsored the participation of several of its partners commented that the consultation "was of enormous benefit ... some of our thinking on 'integral' development and HIV & AIDS has been transformed." One delegate said it was "a goldmine of knowledge, expertise and people ... with great fellowship". Another valued the ability to share good practices and inspire one another to greater heights".