OM's ministry, AidsLink, provides care and support for people around the globe who are living with HIV. Photo by Ellyn Schellenberg.

Loving the outcasts

Riya* and husband Pranav* (South Asia) have seen God at work through their work with AIDSLink, where they share God's love with those affected by HIV and AIDS.

The couple have been with AIDSLink in their home country since 2016. In that time, they have seen how important it is for people to have a safe space where they will not face any discrimination or condemnation for their HIV status.

‘I want to believe in Jesus’

Riya shared the story of Dhriti*, a young widow she met when she came to the hospital for treatment for an infection, and then discovered she had HIV.

“One staff member and I were wondering what happened to Dhriti, and we are also praying for her. God is very great and amazing – two months ago, Dhriti searched on Facebook and she found my picture, and suddenly she contacted me and said, ‘Hi sister, how are you? I'm here, I'm alone.’

“She has many relatives but her HIV status only she knows. She said she wanted to come to see us, because we know her status. She came and she stayed with us 11 days.”

During the visit, Riya and her family welcomed Dhriti to eat with them and take part in family activities. “One time Dhriti bought chicken and she said it was for her so we didn’t have to share our food,” Riya recalled. However, Riya’s two sons immediately wanted to eat Dhitri’s food with her. “They have no discrimination. She was very shocked, and very happy. I invited her to my women’s fellowship and other meetings and everyone loved her.

“She said to me, ‘Why do your boys and your church members all love me?’ And I shared ‘Because God loves and God said we need to love others, so they love you.’ Later, when we were alone, she told me ‘I want to believe in Jesus, how can I do that?’ And I said, ‘If you want to believe in Jesus, you open your heart.’”

Before Dhriti returned home, she was baptised as a believer, to the delight of Riyaand her family.

Finding Jesus through prayer

Pranav spends much of his time simply talking with people, although he admits that to start with, he wasn’t sure what he was supposed to say. “I didn't know how to work among people with HIV and AIDS. I was really scared about sharing the gospel with them. To start with people were not accepting the Jesus, they just listen to the HIV talks on how not to transmit.”

He started sending out Bible verses to people the team was in contact with, including to Izna*, a woman who lost her husband to AIDS last year.  

In early 2024, Izna’s brother, who is mentally ill, threw a bucket and injured their mother. When Izna took her to the hospital the doctor said that she needed an operation right away but Izna did not have enough money.  

“I told her we would continue to pray for her, even though I couldn’t send the money,” said Pranav. “A few days later Izna told me her mother was more conscious and she started eating her food. She called me and I told her: I'm praying for you. Then suddenly, she said ‘if Christian people come here and explain more, maybe we should understand more.’

“My friend, a church leader, lived nearby her so I texted him [about] Izna’s situation. He went round that evening to her place and that night, Izna and her younger sister and mother accepted Jesus. This story showed me that God is at work in this area.”

Pray for the ministry of AIDSlink and for the workers who show God's love to those who face discrimination and condemnation because of their condition. Pray that those who visit the clinic will come to know Jesus as the reason for the love and care they are shown. 

*name changed

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