Faithful Friends

A church that loves those with HIV.

In 1991 Sharon Fryer noticed a homeless women living in the alley behind her workplace. Sharon left her some clothes and an umbrella, and was touched when she saw the woman using them.

Buoyed in her confidence, Sharon volunteered at a homeless shelter. When she toured the center, "what I saw changed my life," she says. "A man in wheelchair looked like Holocaust victim—his knees were drawn up and he was wearing what looked like a diaper."

She learned most of these 30-40 people had AIDS. "I went into shock," she says. She worried that she had been exposed to the dreaded disease. Then something else happened. As she chatted with one of the men, he asked her to promise to come back.

"No one ever comes back," he said. Her heart broke.

Twice a week she went to the shelter, armed with nothing but cold sodas, a receptive heart, and a serving spirit. She listened to people's stories, which too often included rejection by church-going parents or sexual abuse by church leaders.

She also shared the ...

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