“For I am certain that nothing can separate us from his love: neither death nor life, neither angels or other heavenly rulers or powers, neither the present nor the future, neither the world above nor the world below – there is nothing in all creation that will ever be able to separate us from the love of God which is ours through Christ Jesus our Lord,” Romans 8:38-39.
No disease will separate us from God’s love. To a dying person, these words give unspeakable hope, especially to one dying with AIDS. In a society where the man in the street treats all HIV/AIDS infected people the same way as lepers were treated in the time of Jesus, society stigma ostracize AIDS patients even within their own family units.
These must be the sentiments of the Henan Christian Council/TSPM in producing a booklet on HIV/AIDS prevention. The title of the Foreward is “Nothing can separate us from the love of God”. For besides providing basic information on HIV/AIDS and how to prevent it, this booklet also includes scriptural truths from the Bible to comfort, encourage and give hope to the patients as well as to their loved ones.
According to statistics released by China’s Ministry of Health, the World Health Organization (WHO) and the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS), by the end of 2007, the number of HIV+ people in China is 700,000, out of which 85,000 are AIDS patients.
Centrally located Henan province, being the most populous agricultural province of China, is also one of China’s top five areas hit with HIV/AIDS disease. According to statistics, 98% of those who “sold their blood” to illegal traders in Henan, are infected with the AIDS virus, and the mortality rate is increasing alarmingly.
The HIV/AIDS Prevention Booklet attempts to address the Health Ministry’s concern of inadequate AIDS education by providing some basic information about the disease. The main content of this booklet are facts about the disease, its harmful effects and its channel of transmission, as well as its prevention and control measures.
The other part of the booklet contains selected scripture verses of encouragement highlighting God’s love for us. These Bible verses remind us that God is always with us, accepting us unconditionally even when the world rejects us. God’s love for us is greater than death.
The HIV/AIDS Prevention booklet is for everybody: victims of the disease and their loved ones; Christians and non-Christians. It is easy to understand, convenient to carry around and best of all, it is free-of-charge.
Those who have read the booklet penned down these comments:
“..(From this booklet) AIDS patients can know Jesus and know that there is a God who loves them forever. I hope that more people will read the booklet and will support the work of AIDS health workers and cherish their own lives. I hope we can give our love to more people and bless them with God’s love…” wrote Wang Xiaojing, a high school student.
“This booklet is like light in the darkness. It is like an alarm bell emerging in a society where morality is asleep and crime is spreading endlessly. It also shows that Christianity in our province is ‘country-loving and church-loving’. I believe it will inspire and enlighten all readers to have an overall understanding on HIV/AIDS,” wrote Huang Shengzan, a 22 year-old Christian.
“Because I didn’t know HIV/AIDS in the past, I seldom prayed to God about it. In the future, AIDS will be on my prayer list. I will also try to share the Gospel with AIDS patients if I have a chance,” wrote Mao Aixin, a high school student.
“I haven’t been educated on HIV/AIDS in the past. I benefited a lot from the booklet after reading it. I wish I can circulate it among my friends and make more people cherish their lives. I also wish more people will be concerned about the disease and take preventive measures, and that more AIDS patients will be cared for. May the world be filled with God’s love! May people’s hearts be filled with God’s love!” wrote Zhang Junfang, a young Christian.
“I am thankful to the Henan Christian Council and to the United Bible Societies for this publication. This booklet helps me know the importance of life,” said Zhang Xiao.
“May God’s blessings be with all his servants who contributed to this booklet,” said Sun Xincha.
The above booklet is published by the Henan Christian Council/TSPM with the support of the United Bible Societies.
Written by Ms Pamela Choo
for United Bible Societies, China Partnership
This story relates to Project No: 71202