In 1995, John, then aged 28, left his country in South East Asia to get a better job. After one year, he had to apply for a new work permit. Besides all the other paper work, he had to take an HIV test. He was speechless when the doctor told him that his test was positive.
Without telling anybody, John travelled back to his home country and found a job where no one knew his status. He started drinking to forget his problems, but after nine years, he realised that his life couldn’t continue like that.
Since he never felt sick, he assumed that he was healed from the virus. He went back to his hometown where everybody was glad to see him and he moved in with his cousin.
In 2005, John became so sick with a high fever that his cousin had to take him to the hospital. He was treated for lung disease and lay for four months in a bed in his cousin’s house until he was so weak that he could barely walk or breathe.
Back in the hospital, a doctor saw his skin diseases and tested him for HIV. Obviously, the test was positive and his CD4-count was 1 (healthy people have 500-1000 cu mm).
He was in the very last stage of HIV, called AIDS, and knew that he was close to death.
John told his cousin everything. That day, the news spread through his hometown. People rejected him and forced him to leave. When he got so sick that he fell into a coma for five weeks, no one would come to visit him in the hospital.
One day he saw his very first visitor standing at the end of his bed smiling at him. He didn’t say anything, but returned with the same smile the next day. After visiting every day for eight days, John knew who the man was. It was Jesus.
John asked Jesus:
- I’m still so young; please give me my life back.
- I’m so poor, to survive I will need some money.
- Give me a chance to serve people that have no more hope, maybe in a hospital.
- If you grant me this then I will go to church.
One week after waking up from the coma, John was able to leave the hospital. He got the right medication and was even able to start farming on a piece of land that his father had left for him. As he began to make some money, the desire to go to church became stronger.
One day he visited a church and during the worship, a warm feeling overcame him and for the very first time, he cried.
He has found a new family in the church, people who have embraced him even though they knew about his HIV status. With Christ in his life, he realised that “THERE IS HOPE”.
*Name changed for security purposes.