Churches gather to learn HIV/AIDS prevention

By January 1, 1970

Ukraine (MNN) — Ukraine has one of the highest rates of HIV/AIDS infection of all industrialized countries.  In fact, the issue is of great concern in all of the former Soviet Union.

A gathering of 130 church workers and volunteers from around the former Soviet Union came to Ukraine to learn how they can help.  The program materials were a joint effort
between Russian Ministries and Samaritan’s Purse and the goal is two-fold: to learn preventative measures and to learn how to handle new Christians that have already been infected.

Sergey Rakhuba of Russian Ministries said they present all the information they need to mobilize their church and to train other people. “The materials that we presented, that we developed together with Samaritan’s Purse, will be multiplied and many people will be prevented from getting HIV/AIDS because they will start living more moral lives.”  The program is a culturally adapted version of the Samaritan Purse program called Prescription for Hope.  It is being well-received.

Many churches have already been doing things with HIV/AIDS.  Now, they have very specific
materials and a main resource for expanding their ministries.  The government may not have the funding to do such programs but Rakhuba said that’s where the church’s army of volunteers comes in.   The training they got at the conference is enough that they can offer their knowledge at local schools and universities.

Rakhuba said there is a larger Kingdom purpose to it all because every sin-issue is an opportunity to share the Gospel.  The programs will “help them to use this as
an opportunity for church to reach out to those who are touched by HIV/AIDS and also to get more involved in communities- you know, do more work of outreach.”  He called it social
evangelism and said that prevention programs will be presented with a chance to accept Christ.

“We believe this is the best way to fight this horrible disease,” said Rakhuba.

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