Tuesday, September 30, 2008

JO'BERG AIRPORT ON WAY TO HYDERABAD, INDIA



Tuesday - Sept. 30th -- I arrived at Joannesberg Airport and I am about to board in about 20 minutes for my journey to Dubai first - -I will arrive there at 12:10 am and then I connect to another flight at 3:45am which gets me into Hyderabad, India at 8:00am. Hoping I can catch some sleep. The airport here is really looking nice -- they are doing it over for 2010 when South Africa will host the World Cup for Soccer!

Monday, September 29, 2008

HYDERABAD BAPTIST CHURCH - Back to India



I am leaving in about 9 hours to the airport in Durban, South Africa to fly back to India. I will be traveling from Durban to Johannesberg to Dubai to Hyderabad, India. I am supposed to arrive on Wednesday morning the 1st of October. On October 2nd -- I have the privilege of addressing over 5000 youth at a rally at the Baptist Church in town. My Friend Trevain sent me a couple pictures of the big banner they have outside the church. I will finish that evening and will fly back to South Africa on the 3rd in the morning -- arriving back in Durban on Saturday afternoon. I am speaking at Oasis Church on Sunday morning. Kind of crazy -- but an open door to speak into the lives of some young people. A miracle that God would give me such a platform -- please keep me in your prayers.........

REST IN PEACE


If you look at the woman in the beige jacket in the center of the photo - -her name is Victoria. She is the woman in a few photos down on the page where I was praying with Wickus in her little room in Princess Settlement. That was on Sunday, September 21st in the afternoon. On her bedside table I saw the medicine that she had -- it was vitamin C and vitamin B -- no ARV's -- Wickus brought her to the hospital on Monday September 22nd. He was told from the doctor that she had a bad cold. She was discharged 4 days later. She came to visit church on Sunday, September 28th and was seated outside afterwards to visit with a few people before she was brought back to her room in Princess Settlement. She died in her sleep that night at 9:30pm. I just got the news from Pastor Cyril.

Even her own sister did not know what was wrong with her -- she left this planet without the people closest to her even knowing that she had AIDS -- It was confirmed later that is what she had. So much farther to go regarding Stigma and this disease. May Victoria Rest In Peace.

PRINCESS SETTLEMENT



Getting a chance to speak with some of the folks from the Settlement -- hearing about some of the struggles they face. Wickus, Linda and myself in the bottom photo -- and My new friend Martha, her brother and myself getting a chance to visit (Top Photo). They were cutting up vegtables when I arrived in order to prepare them for the people in the Settlement. They were donated from the Church.

PRINCESS SETTLEMENT





After church a brother named Wickus was talking about working with some people in a settlement who were sick. I asked the pastor if he would take me after service and after lunch. So he said yes -- we got in the truck and went on our way. Wickus took us to a Settlement called the "Princess Settlement." Such a funny name for that place. It was at this place that we encountered many who were sick. We had a chance to speak with individuals about their situation, pray with them and hear some really challenging stories. There are plans to put up a structure to have an ongoing outreach to the people there. A metal container would serve well. It could be set up for the equivalent of about 5000 South African Rand which is about 700 US Dollars -- A.G.A.P.E. was able to put a down payment of 500 SA Rand towards the purchase as an incentive to move forward. The needs are great. Thank God for people who are willing to step up to the plate and just start -- Brother Wickus is one of those guys. So glad to partner with them!

DAVIDSONVILLE CHURCH



I had a chance to meet Pastor Cyril from Davidsonville Church of the Nazarene at the Pastors Conference. He invited me to come and speak at his church the following Sunday.

NAZARENE DISTRICT PASTORS CONFERENCE - Jo'berg, SA



AIDS - Am I Doing Something?

SOUTH AFRICA



I arrived in Johannesberg, South Africa on September 10th and have stayed with Praise Nkosi and his wife Gran. One of the first things I did was I had a chance to address the pastors at the District Conference for the Nazarene Church. I was given about 40 minutes to share about HIV/AIDS. It was a good meeting -- so much to try and share in such a short period of time. There was a good response. I connected with some key people and was invited to share at another Church. The first picture is of Pastor Bedwell, who is also the District Supervisor, introducing me and then some shots speaking and the response of the people.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

A REFUGE FOR YOUNG BOYS


This was a home that I visited -- I won't share the name or the location. All of these young boys are living with HIV/AIDS and are being taken care of by a gentleman and a very small staff. He has dedicated his life to seeing that these kids have a good life. They are treated at a local clinic with medications and attend school just like anyone else. They are always living in fear of stigma -- if the neighbors in the community find out that there are kids living with HIV near them -- they would protest and have them thrown out -- so many issues that we don't even consider. I am grateful for my time with them and pray God's blessing and protection over their lives!

A SONG - A STORY - A NEW FAMILY (Cont'd)


A SONG - A STORY - A NEW FAMILY!



On Sunday evening, September 7th, I was asked to sing at Hyderabad Baptist Church in their evening service. It is a very large church in town and one of the Pastors David Golopolas had invited me. I sang a song and they were very appreciative and expressive! I felt blessed and from their response -- so did they. Pastor David (First Photo in Center to my left) asked me to join them the following night as he wanted me to address the Youth Group. September 8th - I did come back on that Monday night and shared my testimony and it impacted quite a few people. David told me there was something about my story that was really hitting the people in this area. He and the congregation wanted to pray for me that God would continue to use me for His service both there and around the world. I felt completely embraced by this church.

Before I left, David asked me if I would consider flying back up to India for a Youth Rally that they are having on Oct. 2nd. I said if you can raise the funds for the ticket -- I will come. So on Oct. 30th I will leave for Hyderabad, India from South Africa -- arrive on the 1st and rest -- speak on the 2nd and then fly back to South Africa on the 3rd. I know it sounds crazy -- but when you feel you are supposed to do something -- you just do it! Pray for that event and for the Youth!

Peace.....

PASTORS CONFERENCE 2009

I had the privilege of meeting the Project Director for the state of Andhra Pradesh for the State AIDS Control Society aka APSACS. I asked him if he would consider doing a joint awareness program with the Christian Community and he agreed. I was so grateful that he took the time to meet with me and also thankful to Dr. Joseph Samuel for setting up the meeting. Trevain introduced me to the Bishop of the Methodist Church and also I had a chance to meet with Pastor David Golopolas from Hyderabad Baptist Church and a couple other Pastors who head up Pastors Associations. All of them were favorable to this HIV/AIDS Conference that we are setting for February of 2009.

We will be hosting it at a hotel in Hyderabad and look forward to bring both awareness and also the mandate that God would like us to move into this area of ministry with love and compassion! I am thankful to Rick & Kay Warren for hosting the Global Summit in the USA and providing an example of how the Government and the Faith-Based Communities can work together -- I believe the Lord planted that seed in order for this to come together! Thanks Rick & Kay!

Sept. 3rd AFTERNOON SARPABARAM PROGRAM



We drove through the village to another location where we came to the Sarpabaram church that was waiting a long time for us. There was a scheduling problem and these people had been waiting for us since 11:00 am and we didn't arrive until 1:00 pm. I felt terrible. The church was a very small place that was packed -- I could not believe they got that many people in one room. I had a chance to share part of my story of living with AIDS with them and also to get a chance to pray for some of the people. They really loved to worship and it was a lively group for sure!

Sept. 3rd UPPADA PROGRAM


After a journey down towards the coast (very beautiful) and into a village setting we came upon a group that were waiting in an unfinished building. This was a group where at first most of the people were staying away because they heard it was an HIV/AIDS meeting and they didn't want to be near us or be associated with us. But after I had a chance to sing some more people in the village started to come. We started and there was about 8 people and by the end there were about 30 people. This was a big step for them. I applaud their courage and also the work of the local pastor who set things up.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

The Crisis in Orissa!



This pastor came to the Pastors Conference and travelled nearly 600 kilometers to be with us. He is from Orissa, the place where the Christians are being persecuted and in some instances, killed. I felt honored to meet this young man. Trevain and I were in the car when he got a call from one of his friends in that location and they were asking him to try and get more airtime added to his phone. He was in the middle of a field and could not get back to the city to get to his family. He needed to be able to try and contact them by phone and his airtime was running out. It is different in the states -- most people have prepaid phones. Anyway -- to be that close to the people who were suffering there and then to meet this brother was a real eye opener.

Pastors Conference KAKINADA



Here are some of the nearly 50 Pastors that attended the Conference on HIV. It was on a rooftop of Brother Nobels home. It was a powerful time -- an honor to address these men of God.

The Seat Of Mercy




Trevain interpreted for me again in the evening at the Pastors Conference. After visiting the first village and then the school -- we ended on a rooftop with nearly 50 pastors. I had a chance to share the message that I give called "The Seat of Mercy" -- it is basically what I believe to be God's heart toward those who are infected or affected by HIV/AIDS. Actually it runs deeper than that --it is the place that as Christians we should reflect the love of God -- barring judgement, knowing that "...no one is righteous, no not one." Rom. 3:10. I ended the service singing the song Wonderful Cross. It echoed throughout the evening, throughout the village -- up to a starlit sky -- the words explaining how God showed his love by dying for us on a cross to pay for our sins. There was a real change of heart that took place.

Pastors Conference - KAKINADA


(Left to Right) Trevain Raj Kumar -NeoLifeMission Trust, Mr. R.S. Raj - Director of the Ministry of Social Justice & Empowerment for India (an honor that he came and joined us all the way from Delhi) Myself (representing A.G.A.P.E. - A Global AIDS Perspective Enterprise) and Brother Nobel. We had a pastors conference where I got to address the Pastors from a biblical perspective regarding "The Seat of Mercy." It is the place I believe God has called Pastors and Leaders to address the issue of HIV/AIDS. Nearly 50 Pastors attended from all over. We met on Brother Nobel's Rooftop.

School in Kakinada (Sounds like a song!)



I had an opportunity to visit a school where Mrs. Nobel, is the Head Mistress. Mrs. Nobel is just in front of me in the picture. A couple other teachers are to our right and a pastor friend accompanied us. I have some really cool video of this experience - The kids went wild when I pulled out the camera - but it is really time consuming to try and upload it -- perhaps I'll do a movie night in a few towns when I get back to the States. They learn in a one-room school house - with pieces of wood that look like the top of a bench that just sits on the floor -- all of these kids are in that one room.

A Journey By Overnight Train to KAKINADA




This was an HIV Awareness Meeting that took place in a Village called Karakuduru -- After an all night train from Hyderabad to Kakinada (we slept in bunks 6 to a section) we arrived in Kakinada and stayed with Brother Nobel & his wife and children. Brother Nobel is a retired police chief who dedicates himself to sharing the gospel in his town and in nearby villages and outlying areas. In fact, he told me the next time I come he is going to take me to a place where you have to hike up and over a moutain to get to a village to see this tribal group of people. Also -- there is a place called Hope Island where you travel by larger boat and then because it gets shallow -- you have to jump down into another boat and they take you to shore -- I told him - I'm IN! Next trip. He set up this meeting for this wonderful group of people -- who presented me with their traditional flower leigh.

This meeting was atteneded by villagers in this area -- many were infected -- some learned about the disease -- we prayed for almost everyone -- so humble and beautiful. I had fun with the kids afterwards and their animals -- I hope to load some video for you.

Prayers Of Hope & Healing




At the end of the conference, we prayed for each person for Gods' healing power in their life, that they would walk in what they learned and that they could be an example for others. Breaking down stigma, showing love and compassion where there isn't any -- blessing others. Always a powerful time. They each were given a certificate of graduation and a parting gift. The gift was really ours to receive!

Sing A New Song



Sandeep & Ammiel lead worship during Diagnosis to Hope Conference -- I had the chance to join them on a song -- They did a great job and I had fun with them!

D2H - Positive Communication



James D'Costa, from Jeevan Sahara Kendra in Thane (JSK) shares his testimony of living with AIDS, translated by Trevain Raj Kumar from NeoLifeMission Trust. James along with Tevain, was invaluable to me and this conference. His organizational abilities and willingness to step up to the plate was wonderful. I had the privilege of meeting James 3 years ago at a conference in Mumbai. Soon after I had felt that God had a call on this mans life and I wanted to support that if I could. I have enjoyed watching James grow and pouring into his life when I am in town. His story hear encouraged many who heard.

D2H-Photo



Diagnosis to Hope -- Session Two -- Applying Faith to HIV/AIDS. I was teaching the class along with Trevain Raj Kumar who was translating my English into Telegu which is the local language in Hyderabad, India. I have learned so much for all the times I have had to be translated into another language around the world. A reminder that we need each other! Those who attended are HIV positive -- some living with AIDS -- learning that they are not their diagnosis -- we do all the doctors say, take our meds, eat well, rest but ultimately we are who the word of God says we are!

D2H - Photos



Trevain Raj Kumar adjusts the sound levels for Dr. Sujai of Nireekshina Clinic, who taught the Opening Session of Diagnosis to Hope Conference in Hyderabad, India on August 30, 2008 -- Accepting the Facts of HIV/AIDS. His wife Dr. Lavanya also taught the class! So thankful for their particpation and contribution to the ministry in this area in their city!

Diagnosis to Hope - PHOTOS


This is the poster for our first conference in Hyderabad!

Monday, September 15, 2008

DIAGNOSIS TO HOPE

This conference, Diagnosis to Hope, was created out of the stages that I went through in my life and broken down into 6 sections. A.G.A.P.E. (A Global AIDS Perspective Enterprise) was the main sponsor of the event and partnered with Nireekshina Clinic run by Dr. Sujai & Dr. Lavanya and also with Trevain Raj Kumar of NeoLifeMission Trust. We started on 29th Aug. and ran through the 31st Aug. We were able to house 27 particpants and their children for 3 days and give them each a bible, meals, 3 days seminar, a certificate for graduation and a parting gift of set of sheets for their bed. It was a powerful time and we experienced the Love of God in very powerful ways as people were really set free from much stigma in their lives. This was a major event for many of these individuals who have never slept anywhere than their home -- they were treated very well they said! We hope to do an annual conference in Hdyerabad.