Living with AIDS

Paula had an excellent morning in Chris Nissen on Friday. It was pouring with rain but she really wanted to go and visit some of the women. At last, after over 2 weeks of not seeing Dina, she found her curled up in bed recovering from a very nasty bout of gastric flu! Dina was so pleased to see her and they had a good chat. Many bridges were built and it was so good to hear from her why she has been so upset lately. It is amazing how easily an action or words can be misconstrued and misinterpreted so as to cause offense. Paula was also able to advise her about her diet, the drugs she was trying to take and her busy lifestyle. They prayed together and then Paula set about trying to catch up on Dina's busy 'visiting and caring' schedule that she had had to drop during her illness (typical Dina! always thinking of others).

It was also so good to go and visit Lorraine. Praise God, she is back home in CNP with her little daughter. Lorraine is a typical example of someone we would describe as 'living with AIDS' rather than 'dying of AIDS' as we so often hear people say. Her story is remarkable. We all thought she would be dead 2 months ago and all the practical preparations (particularly with regard to her little girl) had been made. However, she is a strong Christian and has received so much prayer and she is still soldiering on, giving all the glory to God! She is extremely weak and frail and I found her in bed watching TV with her daughter running around. My heart really went out to them because I could only try to imagine how I would be feeling with a 16 month old Joel running around! The daughter is obviously bored, quite hungry and teething all at the same time. All Lorraine can do is try to lift her into bed with her, to try and get her to calm down. It was heartbreaking! Her house is incredibly clean, but she can't manage to day to day upkeep of life like cleaning, washing, washing up or really caring for her daughter. This upsets her and she is really trying to get out of bed as often as she can to do some things. She also feels guilty that her husband has to do so much after a long day at work, and the fact that she can barely even lift her daughter up let alone play with her or cook her a meal. Again, Paula was able to chat things through with her and we now have another of the women looking out for the daughter during the day to check she is warm and fed. I am also looking out a couple of toys for her and some healthy cereal style food to be going on with (the sort that only requires added milk or water). Again, we are so aware that this is only a drop in the ocean, but we feel that we must start somewhere. On Tuesday I am going down at 7.30 am to take her to hospital. She was going to walk the equivalent of 8 miles in her condition, with her baby! It was good to talk and to pray with her. Please keep praying for those who are so weak and vulnerable. Pray too that her amazing witness will speak volumes as she lives with this terrible disease.

This morning of visiting has confirmed in my heart that this is what I should be doing on Friday mornings. I can see the good that solo visiting is doing and I can also see how much more could be achieved if I commit myself to this. Please pray that I will be faithful to this commitment and that much fruit will come as a result. I would love to spend time visiting the women who come to my cell group in particular. It would be so great to eventually help some of them to learn to read and write. I am also feeling convinced that I should give Bibles to all 5 of these women. They have all shown such enormous commitment to the group and to God and yet only 1 of them has a Bible, and this is a very old fashioned Afrikaans version. The new Afrikaans translation costs around 5 pounds. If you feel you want to contribute to my little Bible fund, do let me know. I can't wait to bless the women, even if they can't read. We can read to them!

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