India (MNN) — Be prepared: for the next few days, you’ll be hearing a lot about “Love Moves.”
Together with PIONEERS USA, we’re taking a look at what happens when the love of Christ compels believers to act.
Put simply, love moves because faith without works is dead, according to James 2.
“Rani” exemplifies how life changes when it intersects with Christ and how His love propels broken people forward in new hope.
If you were to meet Rani a couple of years ago, you probably wouldn’t recognize her today. In the past, Rani was defined by her disease: HIV.
“She had HIV: it meant she was worthless,” explains Danny Anan, Global Projects Coordinator for PIONEERS USA.
You might think with the world’s third-largest HIV-infected population, understanding about the disease would be widespread in India. Instead, ignorance runs rampant.
“Her family rejected her,” shares Anan. “Her community stigmatized her and was constantly reminding her that she…[was] a lower class of person now because she had HIV.”
Rani’s husband, who infected her with HIV, died shortly after discovering he had the disease.
“She was then hit with this ‘double stigmatization:’ not only was she an HIV victim, but now, she’s also a widow,” Anan says.
As highlighted each year on International Widows Day, widows are outcasts in Indian society. As described here, a woman essentially has three options when she loses her husband: death, re-marriage to a brother-in-law, or exile.
For Rani, the bullying and exile eventually became too much.
“She had a cup of pesticide with her, and she thought, ‘I should just drink this poison and die.'”
“It just kind of stopped her in her tracks, and made her not go through with trying to kill herself,” says Anan.
The Lord had better plans for Rani’s life than she ever could have imagined. Today, Rani is starting to discover what those plans are, with the help of PIONEERS and its in-country partner.
Love moves forward
Initially, Rani was told about the love of Christ by a PIONEERS in-country ministry partner, who also helped meet Rani’s daily needs.
Then, a PIONEERS missionary started a tailoring business. The business hired Rani, giving her both a self-sustaining income and a place to belong.
“Through the love that they have shown and the grace that she’s received from all these other women, she’s even able to forget that she has HIV,” shares Anan.
“She’s really found a lot of new hope and a lot of new life through the love she’s experienced in this PIONEERS business.”
Rani is the “poster child” of PIONEERS’ Love Moves initiative. With your help, PIONEERS wants to accomplish four major goals in 2016. Helping HIV-infected individuals like Rani is part of one goal, and we’ll uncover the other three in the days to come.
Tomorrow, we’ll hear from Middle East refugees helped by PIONEERS.