HIV and the Church

Posted by Trent Armstrong

Jeff knew he was going to be late. He rushed home after coaching his son’s soccer practice, then headed straight back out. The Saddleback Men’s event, Man Up, had started an hour earlier, but Jeff thought he could catch the end. Even if he only got 20 minutes in, he felt it would be worth it. Plus, there were free hot dogs.

Jeff arrived at this outdoor men’s event as Pastor Tom Kang was finishing the message. With the smell of grilled hot dogs still in the air, Jeff heard Pastor Tom giving some final announcements. As Jeff walked across the grass, he listened to the details of the upcoming men’s Wilderness Retreat, and thought to himself, ‘This is exactly what I need.’

Jeff had been out of work for several weeks and was feeling the financial and emotional pressure to find a new job — fast. He thought that he could use the time away, in the outdoor air, to get refreshed and refocused on God. He had a lot of questions for God about his future, and the retreat would be the perfect opportunity to meditate on those questions. Jeff took a retreat info card from a volunteer. Jeff thought that God had led him to church this night to hear about this opportunity, but as he read, he realized a problem: he had already made plans that week in June — the retreat would have to wait. 

Jeff took a deep breath, frustrated, silently venting in prayer. Pastor Tom continued his announcements from the stage, moving on to talk about the next big men’s event — a PEACE trip to Rwanda to help serve churches in the areas of Orphan Care and HIV/AIDS. He encouraged the men to support this PEACE trip in at least one of three ways: prayer, financial support, or going on the trip. Tom explained that two spots still needed filled, and he asked two men to step up that night. Jeff realized that he didn’t need to leave disappointed. But fear began whispering in Jeff’s mind. Unemployed and with no job prospects on the horizon, how would he find time and finances for a trip to Rwanda in the middle of his job search?

He didn’t know how or why, but he felt God pulling him to at least sign up for the trip. Taking a leap of faith, Jeff joined the line with a dozen other men who were signing up. Most people in his life were advising Jeff to use every waking moment to look for a job. But Jeff knew that God wanted him to be part of this trip. He had the time off work now — there might not be a better opportunity later.

That night, Jeff prayed with his wife, and they made a decision that even if he were offered a job before the Rwanda trip, he would not back out. The next day, he received the call: he was selected to go on the trip.

With the trip quickly approaching, Jeff needed to raise support immediately. Although asking for help felt out of his comfort zone, Jeff crafted an email to his friends and family and clicked send. Within the next 24 hours, Jeff’s account for the trip filled up. Jeff was the last man selected for this PEACE trip, but he was the first to see God provide every penny he needed.

The PEACE trip was a catalyst for Jeff’s involvement at church. Jeff returned from the trip, inspired to continue serving. In August, Jeff took his wife and his youngest son on a one-day PEACE trip to Baja, Mexico. Jeff continues to seek God concerning his career path, but through this step of faith he has found a place to serve in the local church and get his family involved. Jeff believes that it is through serving and building relationships that he will find God’s purpose for his life. 

Although Jeff still has not settled in to a new, full-time job, he enthusiastically shares how God is faithful and will continue to meet his family’s needs. Jeff is a man on a mission, a mission to serve God and others, even in the midst of trials. Although his faith is being tested in this difficult season, Jeff believes that God is always good and will provide the right opportunity at the right time.


If you would like information on going on a global Orphan Care or HIV/AIDS PEACE Trip, email

Add a Comment
  • Mail To
//Recent Posts