Sadly, an estimated 38.4 million people are living with HIV worldwide 1.
For over 20 years, SIM has led more than 40 projects in 14 countries to address HIV-related issues and bring hope to affected individuals and families.
In a rural village in northern Thailand, one young girl’s life was changed and filled with hope despite the devastating circumstances she faced.
Fang had been born HIV positive, and her mother had passed away and she did not know her father. In her early teen years, Fang became very unwell.
A small church in the community was aware of Fang’s condition. They wanted to help but felt ill-equipped to show their love in a tangible way because they knew little about HIV and its associated risks. They were connected with the Hope for Life (HFL) Thailand team who they invited to become involved.
SIM’s Hope for Life Fund projects in Asia and Africa are holistically caring for orphans, vulnerable children and adults impacted by HIV & AIDS. The projects are built on local partnerships that seek to respond to challenging circumstances by bringing hope and enabling people to live a transformed life.
The first time the HFL Thailand team visited Fang, they sat on the veranda with her and the church pastor and his wife. The team was relieved to hear that she had been to the doctor and was on the appropriate antiretroviral medication (the medicine for HIV). Fang was frail, only weighing 22kg.
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The team was thankful for the opportunity to encourage Fang and partner with the church to provide training and knowledge that would help them to support Fang’s family. Within two months of the team’s first visit…
Fang’s health tragically deteriorated further. She was bedridden, her heart was failing and she was fading in and out of consciousness. There were hospital visits and discussions with medical staff, but that wasn’t what changed everything.
On one particular visit, Daeng, HFL Thailand’s Project Director, knelt close to pray with Fang and when she opened her eyes and looked at Daeng, she called out, “Father.” Fang, a fatherless child felt searched out and found by the love of her heavenly Father. That was in July 2016. Within a week, Fang was eating and taking nutritional supplements – even able to walk again!
A member of the HFL team, Jacqui, shared, “We saw her gain weight and gain energy and gain brightness. And as that happened, her character and her personality started to come out, too.”
Six weeks later, Fang sat and passed a school exam that enabled her to rejoin her classmates in school a few weeks later. She graduated from middle school and she was baptised by her church. Over the following years, she thrived within her church and community, and was an amazing testimony of God’s holistic transformation that is possible where there is love and hope.
Sadly, Fang died of a brain infection related to HIV in early 2020. But the five extra years she experienced because of God’s radical grace, her local church and the HFL Thailand team, allowed her to experience Jesus’ transforming love and impact her community.
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1 World Health Organization (WHO), 2021
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