Across the globe, millions of individuals, families and communities are affected by HIV, the virus that causes AIDS. Due to a lack of education surrounding the virus, many people impacted by HIV and AIDS are often stigmatised. The need for love, kindness and understanding to be shown to those infected and affected by HIV and AIDS is being met by organisations like AIDSLink, a ministry of OM that works to educate people and communities around the world about HIV and AIDS. Additionally, AIDSLink workers and partners help people living with this life-threatening — but manageable — disease gain access to treatment and bring hope, as well as Christ’s love, kindness and acceptance to those who are willing to receive it.
Jeevanam is a Sanskrit word meaning ‘giving life.’ In a rural town in India, just outside the city of Hydrabad, it is also the name of a ministry run by Prashanti and her husband Deva. The couple have dedicated themselves to helping people living with HIV and AIDS. The ministry, in partnership with AIDSLink, is working to ‘give life’ by providing both medical and spiritual resources to those infected and affected by the virus. Five days a week, Prashanti and other members of the ministry visit participant’s homes. Three days a week, the ministry connects individuals and families to medical camps where they can receive treatment to manage the virus. On Sundays, the team hosts a church service that welcomes everyone through the doors. The couple also assists 15 students by giving educational support.
Hope through difficult times
Life is not always easy. People living with HIV and AIDS know the virus makes certain times even more difficult. By introducing people to Christ and giving them a community they can trust and depend on, Jeevanam helps bring hope through tough times.
Daksha* and Anjali* are a mother and daughter living with HIV in India whom Jeevanam is helping.
After Daksha’s husband passed away from an AIDS-related illness, her mother-in-law kicked her out. Finding herself on her own with her young daughter, Daksha moved just outside of Hydraband and found work to support them. It was here that the pair were introduced to Jeevanam and gave their lives to Christ. In addition to visiting the mother and daughter and praying with them often, Jeevanam helps support Daksha and Anjali physically — delivering nutritional supplements and food once a month. The love and support the Jeevanam team has demonstrated to her has given Daksha a sense of community that she hadn’t experienced before and a hope for the future that endures through her most difficult days. “Daksha, when she and her daughter got very sick, would tell us: ‘In Hydrabad we didn’t have anybody, but now we have Jesus. If I were to die now, I know you and your family will take care of my daughter,’” Prashanti said.
Struggles with mental health
Though Jeevanam workers desire to see their beneficiaries experiencing hope, life for those living with HIV and AIDS has difficulties that can be extremely taxing to their mental health.
Now 21 years old, Anjali often struggles with feelings of despair and suicidal thoughts, lamenting about not having a father and wrestling with the virus she lives with.
Through counselling and prayer, Prashanti and the Jeevanam team continue to support Anjali, showing the young woman love and care.
At a prayer meeting, Prashanti shared the story of Daksha and Anjali, and the whole group came together to pray for the mother and daughter as well as the ministry. Although serving with Jeevanam can be difficult at times, and new challenges arise every day, Prashanti believes that everything can be overcome through prayer. She remains hopeful that God sees every individual and extends His love and compassion to them through those who follow Him.
Matthew 18:19-20 reads: “Again I say to you, if two of you agree on earth about anything they ask, it will be done for them by my Father in heaven. For where two or three are gathered in my name, there am I among them” (NIV). Join us in prayer for Prashanti, Deva and everyone else involved with Jeevanam. Pray for strength, perseverance and wisdom for the team. Pray for Anjali and that she will feel the love of God and lean on Him for strength. Please pray for those living with HIV and AIDS, that they will know Christ for themselves and remain strong when faced with hardships.