HIV and the Church

Growing up in Texas, football is a way of life. 

And like millions of other Texas boys, I immersed myself in football, so much so that I would play football in the house.   In 2nd grade, I was running through the house and my mother Connie said, “Dewey, stop throwing that ball in this house!” 

I was deflated until one of my relatives, whom I loved dearly, said, “Connie, leave that boy alone.  One day that ball is going to pay your bills.” 

The words, “One day that ball is going to pay your bills” became like beautiful background music that would play over and over in my heart. 

During practice in high school, the brutal south Texas sun would try to rob me of my destiny, but I would continue to hear those encouraging words.

In college at Brigham Young University (BYU), in the face of fierce competition to earn a starting spot on the football team, those words gave me unbreakable determination.

My senior year at BYU was to be my biggest year; I was one step closer to making it to the NFL.  The prophecy of my relative would finally come true. 

You ever receive a phone call and you know before you pick up the phone that what you’re about to hear is bad news?  I picked up the phone and heard that my relative, whom I loved so much and who’d inspired me with his words, had died. 

Complications from HIV/ AIDS took his precious life.

Sadly, he isn’t the only member of my family to die or to be infected with this terrible disease.

Four members of my family have been infected.

As a Christ-follower and pastor, I’m joining Rick and Kay Warren at the 2012 International AIDS Conference, first, because I want to learn how to make a difference.

Second, I’m going because Jesus would go.  And Jesus would be a source of love and hope to those suffering with HIV/AIDS.

Third, I’m going because I want Jesus’ people, the Church, to follow Rick and Kay Warren’s example, and be Jesus’ hands and feet to people in need.  The Church can make such a big difference.

Pastor Derwin


Derwin Gray is the founding and lead pastor of Transformation Church, one of America’s fastest growing churches.
twitter: @derwinlgray

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