I'm teaching a class, HIV/AIDS and the Christian Faith, at the Baptist Seminary here in Lusaka. I decided to take the class off campus and in to one of the local compounds for a little field trip this week. We went to Ng'ombe compound and learned from a local care giver how this group of volunteers from the community got started and what all they do to minister to the sick in their community. We then split in to two groups and each group was able to visit 3 patients. My group went to visit Lazarus who is HIV positive and has TB. His wife died last year and he is remaining with one child at home who is 10. His son is the one caring for the father since the father can hardly do anything for himself. Thankfully, he can still walk short distances. His landlord came over while we were visiting and told us that when the family of Lazarus comes to visit they take whatever he may have and they don't offer any help. The landlord does what he can to help his neighbor when he is able.
The next patient we visited was Nelson whom I had already visited on a previous visit. See here for story. You may remember the story but basically Nelson had given up and was not wanting to eat. He stopped taking his ARV's as well. He had no energy to do anything and could hardly walk. When we went this week he looked much better. He had started taking his medicine again and was eating. He even showed us how he could stand up now and walk. He said this Sunday he was going to church! The picture below is from our first visit. I did not take another picture of him on this visit.
On our last visit we found that the patient had gone to the clinic so we visited with the sister and mother of the patient. The sister is the one caring for her brother and mother(who was sick with malaria). She lost the one job she had because she kept having to miss work because of her brother. Tears ran down her face as she shared about their hard times. We prayed for her and tried to encourage her with God's Word.
The other group was able to visit a woman with cancer, someone who had a stroke, and a person who was HIV positive. They were able to give out two BGR buckets as well.
As we were leaving the compound here are some of the comments that were made by my students.
"I really enjoyed doing this and going out in to the community and seeing the needs."
"I'm going to start something like this in my community. The ladies in our church can also go out and visit the sick where we live."
"I'm so glad I went today because I tend to forget what others may be going through and today I have been reminded."
The next day I went back out and revisited some of these same patients and gave out two BGR buckets. One went to Lazarus and the other to the patient who was not home. I also bought food for those two men and their families and for Catherine who has cancer(in the other group). I'll write about her in my next post. Please pray for these patients as they lie sick in their small homes. Pray for those who are trying to care for them to have the strength to do whatever it takes to help their relative. Pray for these students to be challenged to do what they can to minister to those they also know who are sick and may be HIV positive.