Feedback from Participant at the Churches, Channel of Hope Training. 02/2010

I am going to try and explain to you why I did the training.... My training with CABSA is just the beginning of a journey for me, actually the FOUNDATION of my journey...

Just more than 5 years ago I was horrified to find out I was HIV infected by my husband.

I had so many questions at the time, I was on an emotional roller coaster. Given the circumstances, I was very angry with God. I spent many hours crying before the Lord, asking Him why me??? I do not want to expose my husband, so I prefer not to discuss the circumstances around it.

I started searching for answers and healing, especially looking for "validation" as my family and friends became almost non existent. I then attended a spiritual retreat with Rhetha McPherson Ministries and while listening to her talking, I heard someone say "HE STRIPPED YOU, TO EQUIP YOU:"   At that moment I realised  that our Father actually gave me a very powerful tool to use and decided to change my thoughts of dying of aids, around to thoughts of living with aids for God, and I know as long as I have the Fathers heart and my relationship with Him is alive, HE WILL keep my body healthy for me to be able to be a small part of His Hands and feet...... 

Sadly I realised that none of our churches in our community, has a support / care centre for HIV infected people, because this topic is not addressed in church and people still distinguish between "innocent" and "guilty" and because of this, people are afraid to reach out for help, for love - because they fear rejection. I myself needed support - I also wanted to feel "validated" as my close friends and most family pushed me aside because I chose to stay with my husband, rather than leave him.

I now believe and know that AIDS is the single greatest opportunity the church has today to show the size of its heart and to demonstrate the unconditional love of Christ.

I want to change the world around, so that everybody, regardless of race, sex, illness will experience the love of Christ. 

So I started phoning around and searching the Webb for an organisation that could provide me with the skills and information, to get me started, but nowhere did I find the "compassion" and "hope" in the program when looking at the course outlay.  The most training provided is informative and is all about abstinence and safe sex and healthy life styles.

A friend in our prayer group put me in touch with the CABSA website!  She said I would find all I need there and more on the website....I started reading through various topics on the website and realised that the foundation of their training was based on Christianity and the love of Christ towards others! I immediately knew this was it!!!! I had to attend this training - this was almost 2 years ago. When I enquired it was already held that year in some country in Africa and they were not sure when the next one was to be held. I completed the necessary documentation and ensured they received it! Almost a year had gone by, and in the meantime I have been visiting aids orphanage on Saturday's to play with the children and extend loving arms to them - by doing this I could give them what I had so much of and receive what I needed so much of - UNCONDITIONAL LOVE!.... it became therapeutic for me.

Few weeks ago when I received the e-mail from CABSA I was overwhelmed, anxious to attend, but I was financially restricted and had to pray and ask Father to provide for me - which HE did without any effort !   When the sponsorships came in, I knew the Lord has opened this door for me - there was light at the end of the tunnel for me, I knew that I knew that I knew, THIS IS THE OPPORTUNITY FATHER IS GIVING ME TO SHINE HIS LIGHT OF LOVE in this dark world of war and hatred and judgement.  Once again, once we started the training, one of the very first topics we discussed was to "be the light" of the world and to shine for HIM - to me this was confirmation again that I was where I had to be.  Then one of the facilitators, an awesome man of God,by the name of TUNDE spoke to us and said "You are all here because God intended it for u to be here" - well, at that time I felt like falling flat on my face before the Lord and crying out to Him and thanking Him for the opportunity, for entrusting ME, MY LIFE me, my life, in the loving hands of these facilitators.

 The foundation of this training is LOVE, the unconditional LOVE of GOD. When I started searching for training on/in HIV and AIDS I asked myself the question, what is it that I as an infected person wants to know or hear when attending a course like this?  What do I want to hear from people who teach on this topic???   I want LOVE, I want ENCOURAGEMENT and I want HOPE!!!!!! I found these components in the training CABSA provides.

1. My impression of CABSA

 Very well structured, comprehensive and reliable love based, non discriminating, informative, endless resource of HIV and AIDS related topics.  CABSA to me, for me is the "mother ship" of information, the structural "base" of my HIV and AIDS knowledge, and a trustworthy and reliable "hand" at any time if I might need one.

2. Am I going to implement what I have learned?

Yes mam!!  The training has given me the extensive knowledge and skills on facilitating -  now its up to me to put those skills to work. I will start by stepping out and extending my arms and hands to those who are needy of such and encourage to be the voice for those who are afraid to speak - I will take the first step - I will encourage the youth thru school visits, support groups that there is hope for all of us and that we as Christians need to be aware and sensitive to the ones around us - one of our friends might be fighting a battle of his own knowing he/she is infected but afraid to reach out for help due to the stigma attached.

3. How I benefited from it?

Wow, the fruits of this training will be endless - this training was the "pushing hand" I needed to enable me to step out and admit my status in front of all the participants after the training and at the same time experience the unconditional Love of God surround me - there was no judgement, no condemnation. It felt like coming home after a being away from home for a very long time......

 There is so much work to be done in the midst of this HIV and AIDS pandemic - the harvest is big, but the workers are few, We as the church should embrace AIDS, the way Christ embraces us.

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