World AIDS Day 2017: Hope Claimed!

 Today, December 1, is World AIDS Day, a day aside to build awareness and raise funds for care and cures. 

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AIDS devastates people all around the world. According to the World Health Organization, greater than 70 million people have been infected with HIV and about 35 million people have died of HIV. Globally, 36.7 million people were living with HIV at the end of 2016 and 84,000+ of those were in Malawi.

Just like with hunger, this issue is NOT faceless. This is something causing immense struggle for our community in Malawi BUT we have HOPE!

At the Grace Center, we have an AIDS support group who meets on our campus. They do not let their diagnosis determine their outlook and are some of the most positive and giving individuals on our campus! They give more back in the fields than any other group and make a direct impact for good! They find support in the time together, food they receive, power of prayer, and giving back; what an example for our children to see! 

 Our fields are worked by Grace Center employees and local community members who volunteer time for their use of our resources. NONE work as tirelessly or with as much passion as the AIDS Support Group. 

Our fields are worked by Grace Center employees and local community members who volunteer time for their use of our resources. NONE work as tirelessly or with as much passion as the AIDS Support Group. 

Additionally, we have several children in our care at Patricia's Home and Timothy's Home who are HIV positive. Through consistent medical care and diligent attention to their nutrition and medication our children, despite their diagnosis, are joining many HIV+ people around the world with average life expectancies compared to their peers! This is HUGE! Jesus came for us to have life and have it abundantly and we are thrilled to see the quality of life increasing for our HIV+ children! 

Nation-wide there is estimated to be 530,000 orphans in Malawi as a result of AIDS. 

One of our own children was even HEALED of HIV! Eunice and Kumbukani's mother was HIV+ and at birth both Eunice and Kumbukani were HIV+ as well. After coming to our campus, they were prayed over and Eunice was completely healed of HIV! Kumbukani's transformation has been one of spirit even though he lives with HIV, his mind and soul have been renewed and his attitude is the proof. Again, see the HOPE their lives portray? 

 Eunice's transformation continues! 

Eunice's transformation continues! 

We want this hope to be the norm and not the fear and pain which are associated with hospital care and testing in Malawi. Sadly, countless women are truly afraid of hospital care due to the poor treatment and lack of respect and dignity given to them during labor and delivery. As a result, many give birth at home and their children become HIV+ when medical care could have prevented this tragedy. 

When surveyed this summer here is what a woman in our community in Malawi had to say:

“Because of the great number of people who are treated so abusively at clinics, lots of women deliver their babies at home.  They don’t want to face the embarrassment and poor treatment at the clinic. But with delivering at home you don’t get your blood tested and you don’t prevent diseases from passing to your child.  If you need extra help with the delivery, it’s not available.”

We will NOT stand for this. The hope that we have tells us that settling for care that is less than available, adequate, and appropriate for our people is NOT the way! We are excited to address this deep need with our maternity center!  Follow the link below and read more about your role in making this happen today! 

 The Maternity Center is under construction! With the clinic in the final stages of registration it will not be long until we can make this dream a reality and address the quality of maternal care available to our community. 

The Maternity Center is under construction! With the clinic in the final stages of registration it will not be long until we can make this dream a reality and address the quality of maternal care available to our community. 

Meeting and loving people with AIDS for the first time is one of the things our team members have to process and start to understand in their hearts. God sees the hurting and struggles and shares unending love and that reality is life changing for those experiencing this type of pain for the first time. 


When we were walking away from Patricia’s home, after meeting Janet for the first time, Sydney told me that she is HIV+. This kind of shocked me because I have been so scared about HIV and AIDS in the past, but this little girl who I just fell in love with is HIV+. I feel like if I had known that before holding her, I would have looked at her differently.
— Anna Stock 2017 Team Member https://cohcommunity.org/circle-of-hope-blog/2017/8/23/annas-malawi-diary

Every night for a while now Kumbukani and his sister, Unice come eat with us. A couple of days ago Kumbukani was tested positive for HIV and his younger sister Unice tested negative. It is still unknown the details of what is wrong with Unice. I don’t think Kubukani has been told he has HIV but I am sure he realizes he is really sick. He is so sullen! Tonight, he saw a video of himself dancing at our welcoming and he laughed the most pure and precious laugh and smiled. In that moment, I realized what a truly heavy burden has been placed on a small, innocent child. (June 26, 2013)

I understand that people suffer from diseases everywhere and there are millions of children suffering from all kinds of illnesses globally and even locally in Texas. However, for me Kumbukani represents the uniquely personal devastation of knowing one of these children. He is not a number in a statistic. He is not just a child in a picture. He is not a story from Africa. To me, Kumbukani is so much more than all these titles represent. He is my gift of heartbreak from God. You see, I am thankful for my brokenness because in my weakness God is powerful and his grace and love flow freely into my broken heart and direct my, now searching, eyes. My eyes are directed upwards…
— Kaitlyn Miller 2012 Team Member https://bootsbiblebackpack.wordpress.com/2013/08/

Posted on December 1, 2017 .