HIV and the Church

Written by Katie Sallee and Ashley Eure

Laurence is a 17-year-old girl living with HIV in Rwanda.  Laurence’s parents died when she was just two years old, and she was sent to live in an orphanage. For fifteen lonely years, Laurence didn’t have access to the care she needed, and at times, the painful skin condition she developed from her disease kept her out of school and isolated from other children in the orphanage. 

Laurence lived depressed and without hope.  Because of her age and HIV positive status, the orphanage claimed she was “unadoptable” - that no one would want her.  Laurence couldn’t see an end to her loneliness.

However, that is not how Laurence’s story ends.

Five hours away from the orphanage, a woman named Kabibi also lives with HIV.  Kabibi lost two children in the Rwandan genocide, and though she heard God whisper that she would have a family again one day, she couldn’t see how that was possible without a husband.  She asked God, “Will you make me laugh like Sarah?”

Through the Global HIV&AIDS Initiative and the Rwanda Orphan Care Initiative, Kabibi learned about Laurence, one of the last children left in an orphanage, and her heart broke.  Kabibi knew God had redeemed her pain so she could redeem others, and she decided, no matter the opposition, she could be a mother to Laurence.

As they met for the first time, Kabibi embraced her new daughter.  Tears streamed down both of their faces as Kabibi told Laurence, “I’m going to be your mother.”

After years of living without a family, Laurence saw that she could finally have a home with a mother who loved her deeply. She decided to go with Kabibi.

With the help of a local Rwandan church and Saddleback sponsorship, Kabibi has been able to  adopt Laurence.  Just a few days ago, Kibibi went to the orphanage to get Laurence.  At last, Laurence left the orphanage and came home to a family of her own - to a mom who will love her and make sure she gets the HIV care she needs.

Half of the children who lived in orphanages in Rwanda when we began matching orphaned children with loving families two years ago now have a family of their own. Together as a church, we can reach the goal of zero children living in orphanages in Rwanda.

Did you know you can sponsor a Rwandan family who is willing to adopt a child like Laurence? For just $38 a month, you can bring a child out of an orphanage.  Please visit for more information.

Add a Comment
  • Mail To
//Recent Posts