Sunday, 2 September 2012


At our recent family bible camp for HIV positive families – all the families were paired up for morning prayers.  This was a time before breakfast where we spent a short time together in devotion – taking turns to minister to each other through a prayer, a song, a reading from scripture and sharing what it means through questions and discussion on the text – and finally pray for each other.

We had structured this time with two ideas in mind.  To spend time together with God – allowing one family who has experienced God a bit more to minister to the other.  And to model what family prayers can be like.
The family we met with on the two mornings were Hari and Seema.  Their 4 children.  The older two were girls (9 and 4) and twins the (boy and girl) were 3 years old.  The 9 year old girl was the only one in the family who could read.  Somewhat.  The family is from a district of Bihar which was infamous in my youth for police having blinded prisoners in their ‘care.’  Hari works in a factory in Navi Mumbai.

When you do not know someone – they seem a blank slate. Then slowly the outlines of who they are start emerging.

Over the weekend we spent with this family I was floored by what I found out about the journey they have travelled. 

Things were pretty grim some years ago in Hari and Seema’s home.  They had come to Mumbai looking for a better life.   Though Hari had a job in a factory, money was very scarce.  On payday Hari would go with his friends to the liquor vend and drink a lot of it away.  On most days he would not be able to start his work without his daily dose of marijuana.  Sadly, due these altered states contributed to Hari losing a finger to one of the machines he was working on.  Money was very very tight at home.  Many a day there were arguements and fights.

Then the change took place.  Seema started attending prayers.  She learned about the love of Jesus for her.  She sang the songs.  ‘How wonderful, how amazing that Jesus has given his very blood for me’ said Seema in one of our precious morning meetings as we sat under a mango tree in the green of monsoonal Pune.
Hari changed too.  ‘Since we started going to prayers, everything has changed’ he said with a soft glow.  'I have stopped my ganja that I could not live without before.  All praise to Jesus who has helped our family so much.  Now when I get my pay I come straight home and give the money to Seema.'

He then said  ‘When I fell ill with this disease I started to think about things -and now I have changed'

We are humbled to be part of this journey that our HIV Positive Friends are going on.  The amazing potential that each one - made-in-God's-image has.  We are honoured to hear our friend's stories.  And we need to keep expecting amazing things to happen. Like is happening in the lives of Hari and Seema.

Mother Theresa is said to have made this remark: "Today it is very fashionable to talk about the poor. Unfortunately, it is very unfashionable to talk with them." Sadly this is so much my experience.  So little time actually listening.  Actually hearing what the poor are experiencing.  So much talk from my side about them.  And still this terrible distance.

But then a weekend like this comes around.  And the scales fall from the eyes.

So much to learn.

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