Five years ago, I became a seriously disturbed woman. Through a single magazine article about AIDS in Africa, my attention was captured and a sense of shock, horror, and doom awoke within me.
How could there be more than 30 million people infected with a lethal virus, and I not know even one of them? How was it possible that there were 12 million children orphaned by this horrible virus, and I couldn't name a single one? Those questions sent me on a search to discover God's heart for people infected and affected by HIV/AIDS; within a very short time, I became seriously and permanently disturbed.
Once I became disturbed, I became passionate about ending AIDS in Rick's and my lifetime. We are not content to merely manage AIDS, any more than we're content to manage cancer, TB, or malaria. Our goal is to wipe it out.
So you may ask: Where's the message of Jesus in all of this social gospel stuff? The answer lies in the life story of David Miller. Rick met him two and a half years ago at a conference in New York. After the meeting, this rough and tumble man who had served in the Marine Corps approached Rick and told him, "I've had AIDS for 20 years. I'm a member of ACT UP in New York, and have been arrested over 200 times protesting drug companies and the government's response to AIDS. Where was the church when I needed help?"
Rick responded by asking for forgiveness, saying, "I'm sorry for all the hurt and pain that has ever been caused to you in the name of Christians or Christ." David jumped backwards, shocked by the apology. That day, they spent hours together talking, and Rick invited David to our upcoming Global Summit on AIDS and the Church. Much to our surprise, David accepted.
At the summit, David accosted anyone who came ...