Wednesday, June 15, 2011

More Lessons from Summit...TRUTH

I haven't written in over a week.  Usually that means that life has been super busy or that there is something weighing on my heart that I just can't put into words.  While this week was really busy it is the latter of the two that has kept me from writing.

This lesson is one that is full of HARD truths...truths that this girl is still working and processing through...but truths none the less.

No beating around the bush this lesson is about HIV/AIDS.  There are countless children around the world languishing in orphanages and on the brink of death due to HIV/AIDS.  The first hard truth is that we have the ability to make a difference in their lives. 

Summit was not the first time that this subject had come up in life.  In fact I remember over a year ago when I stumbled on this family who had just gotten home with their HIV positive daughter.  I remember thinking they were super heroes and maybe even a little crazy. I mean who does that kind of stuff...and what about their other children?

But then (because I happen to like researching things) I found Project Hopeful, and From HIV to Home, and Positively Adopted where I began to learn the truth about HIV/AIDS and adoption.

Here are some of the truths I have learned:

  • HIV is spread through sex, drug needles, and birth
  • HIV is NOT spread through saliva, sweat, urine, tears, or feces
  • HIV is NOT spread through kissing, hugging, shaking hands, sharing food or utensils, toilet seats, and pretty much anything else you can think of besides sex, needles, and birth!:)
  • HIV is NOT spread through casual household contact
  • Without treatment HIV is fatal.  With treatment people with HIV are living almost as long as the average person (Need to be convinced?  Click here)
  • No one has contracted HIV through casual house hold contact in the last 17 years (Wondering about blood spill accidents click here)
  • In America HIV is no longer considered a fatal disease but instead a chronic illness
  • HIV is considered easier to treat than diabetes
Part of the reason that there is such a stigma around HIV/AIDS is because of the fact that we are simply uneducated ( I know I certainly was). It is time for us to educate ourselves and love some of the people who need it most. While the stigma is America is still very much alive it is nothing compared to the sigma that remains in some other countries.  Each time I think about the precious orphaned children in other countries who battle this disease I can't help but to think of the stories about the lepers in the bible.  They were such outcasts that they were forced to live outside of the city.  Others considered them so dirty that the lepers had to shout "unclean, unclean" as they walked among the people.  The HIV/AIDS stigma is very much like this in other countries where innocent children are kept in complete isolation or shipped off to live in institutions where they receive no interaction.  I recently stumbled across the picture of the most beautiful blond headed, blue eyed 12 month old girl living in Europe who had spent the first 11 months of her life in a Plexiglas crib completely isolated from anyone else because she was HIV positive.  I just can't help but to think that Jesus walked among the lepers of his day...he even touched them when no one else was willing to touch them.  Can you imagine just the sensation they must have felt when he touched there skin that most likely hadn't been touched in years.  I am certain that they knew he loved them immediately with his touch.  How many lives that have been wrecked by this disease are out there just longing to be touched.  Remember...we are his hands and his feet and they will know him by our love.

What does this all mean for me personally?  To be completely transparent and honest I am not sure.

I am not sure what God is trying to teach me and tell me through this but I am certain he is up to something.  Just consider the ways he has brought it to the forefront of my mind...
  1. Read about it over a year ago on a blog
  2. began doing a little research and found more blogs which led to more questions
  3. a sweet friend at church brings me a book to read called Dangerous is all about how God was calling the author to love and minister to people with HIV/AIDS
  4. Go to the summit and hear this amazing mother of 14 speak about her experience adopting children with HIV
  5. This one is crazy...Nathan and I happen to love watching Army Wives and would you believe that one of the main characters and his wife on the show just adopted an HIV positive little boy
While the Lord may not be calling us to adopt a child with HIV I know that he is calling me to love people here and around the world who are struggling with this hurtful disease.  I know that he is calling me to lay the stigma and the unfounded fears to the side and love wholeheartedly exactly the way he loves me.

Now that you know the truth...what is he calling you to do???

I will leave you with some pictures of some of the most beautiful families and children that have been blessed through HIV adoption...

These are a few of the children who are currently waiting to be adopted...



1 comment:

Kristie Mannery said...

Wow Jenna, eye-opening! I had know idea about some of the facts you listed. I don't know what God is doing in your life but you're an amazing Godly woman and full of ispiration for all!