HIV and the Church

Posted by Ashley Eure

After his wife died suddenly, Bovic, a father of two sons living in Kigali, Rwanda, didn’t know how to move on with his life. Most of the time he felt tired and sick. He felt his body wasting away.

Deborah, Bovic’s neighbor, was a member of a local church that had taught her how to care about the sick and the hurting in her community. When she heard about Bovic’s loss she made a point to visit him. 

Bovic, a Muslim at the time, was skeptical at first, wondering what would motivate Deborah to reach out to his family. However, Deborah continued to visit Bovic and his two sons, encouraging him regularly and bringing food. She eventually asked Bovic if he had ever been tested for HIV. Bovic didn’t know anything about HIV, and he certainly hadn’t been tested. Deborah’s church offered free HIV testing, so she brought Bovic and his two boys. Bovic learned that he and his sons were HIV positive.

Bovic was afraid for his children and for himself. Pastor Straton, pastor of the local church says, “I remember the first time I met Bovic. He could see no future for him and his children.”

The family found refuge in the church. The church community embraced Bovic and his children in their darkest time. They helped them get connected to the right medication, and Deborah continued to visit and pray for them.

Overwhelmed by the love of God expressed through the church, Bovic gave his life to Jesus, starting on a new path of hope. Thanks to proper treatment and the support of friends and church volunteers like Deborah, Bovic and his sons are thriving. Bovic now ministers to others in his community who are living with HIV, sharing the hope and encouragement he received.

Bovic says, “At the time, my family and I were in such a bad situation, to the extent that, if you saw me you could easily think that I would die at any time. Finding out that my children and I were HIV positive, we wondered who would help us. [The Church] has been a really great help in my life.”

Bovic still remembers Deborah’s encouragement. “She said to me, whatever happens, God is here and life will go on. From then on I saw a big change in my life. If we had not taken this medicine, my children and I, we would not be alive today.”

Click here to WATCH Bovic’s full story, or LEARN more about the Rwanda Healthcare model.

You can help churches in Rwanda learn how to reach out to their communities and start HIV ministries on a Rwanda HIV&AIDS Initiative PEACE trip. Email or call 949-609-8555 for more information.  

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