The Call to Ministry to those Infected/Affected by HIV/AIDS
In August 2002 we became involved with HIV patients by reaching out to our house maid, Laxmi, and her family when she, her husband and two year old daughter were found to be HIV positive. As word of mouth spread, many poor and destitute families began to come to us seeking help.
India has the third largest number of HIV patients in the world-2.1 million people living with HIV. Overall, India’s epidemic is slowing down. Between 2010-2017 new infections declined by 27% and AIDS related deaths more than halved. However, in 2017 new infections increased from 80,000 to 88,000. And AIDS related deaths increased from 62,000 to 69,000. 50 percent of the new infections are among the age group between 15 and 24 years of age. The number of children in India orphaned by AIDS is approaching two million according to UN AIDS 2017 estimates.
Superstitions as well as social stigma and shame attached to the disease add to the problems of poverty and illiteracy. As a result women and children living in India with HIV face huge medical, psychological and social challenges.
In a small yet significant way, God is using Ark to make a difference in the lives of widows and orphans who are affected/ infected by HIV/AIDS.
Ashirvad Family Day
‘Ashirvad’ means blessing! At each Ashirvad Family Day, the patients are blessed as they are received with the love and compassion of Christ. During the gathering, the Word of God is clearly expounded. These who have experienced rejection from family and friends find acceptance in this fellowship and their hearts are open to hear about eternal hope found in Jesus Christ! Most have placed their faith in the Lord Jesus Christ and are living joyfully.
Over the years several have received self support projects which has helped them to an extent to earn their livelihood.