By: Sidney Lungu
In 1999 I wanted to join the Zambian army. I was dropped on the day of departure without any reason, and this caused me to be suspect of the possibility that I might be HIV/AIDS positive. (An HIV /AIDS test is compulsory when you want to join the Zambian army) Everything changed immediately when results came from the hospital. I tested positive of the deadly virus.
In 2000 I went to college where I was studying Agriculture Mechanics. I got very sick. My friends kept telling me to go for a HIV/ AIDS test, because of the many problems I was having, such as my deformed finger nails; painful bones; constant cough; diarrhea, along with other body problems. Staying at the college created many challenges. The college was far away from my closest relatives. And I was bothered with a question: Who is going to bury me If I die?
I decided to go to church, though I was a backslider. I backslid because I was bitter towards God. I felt that God failed to heal my two sisters and my brother who died within the period of three years. They all died from HIV/ AIDS related problems. I had no problem with my immediate elder sister's sickness, but the third sister from me -- I remember blaming her for the sickness as her fault because she was a prostitute. I wish I had not blamed her for that.
I was seated at the back of a very big church. The preacher was busy preaching. I do not remember the message very well because there was a lot going on in my mind at that time. The message finished without my getting anything from it. Immediately when the preacher left the pulpit, a gentleman went up front. I heard every word that man said. "There is somebody who is going through body pains, including diarrhea and coughing. This is full blown AIDS. God is saying this disease is not leading to death, but that the glory of God may be seen in this. Let such a one come up front.”
I did not go up front because of the stigma and discrimination attached to HIV/ AIDS. Fear and pride kept me from going.
When time came for me to go to college, I struggled ... until I searched for that same man. When I found him, he said, "Yes, you are the one." He asked me what my plans were. Because he was with a pastor friend, I told him I was planning to have an HIV/AIDS test done. If found positive, he recommended I come out in the open and advocate for positive living with HIV/AIDS. They counseled me on how to do it in a Christian way. Then I left for college.
It was towards our final examination in August 2001 - I went to Copper Belt province of Zambia where I had some relatives, and no one was ready to stay with me because of my condition. I remember my elder brother commenting on someone who appeared HIV, advocating for positive living with HIV/ AIDS. My brother's response was: “He is positive alright. Positively dying!"
It was very tough for me. I decided to stay by myself in a one of the compounds. There I got very sick to the point of death.
One day I decided to have a HIV/ AIDS test at a nearby clinic. The test came came out HIV positive. This was February 2002. I was asked by the Home Based Care Centre to help sensitization of HIV/AIDS patients. I worked for four months, then left for Eatern Province where my mum said, “My son, you have lost a lot of weight. What is wrong? Let’s hope that you have not come back here to be buried just as your siblings.”
I said, "Ahh - no mum."
I went to my small house and laid down there. I could see where they were seated; hear what they were saying. I heard mum talking to her younger sister and some other ladies who came to visit. ”He died a very young man” ... implying I was also dying just like my two sisters and brother.
Inside the house on my own mat, I started wondering, Does she know that I am HIV positive?
I could not stay with my brother and mom any longer. I left for Chipata town. I started renting. One day I decided to open up to my good friend about my status. He said nothing much. His concern was about the lady I was planning to have a family with. I told him I would disclose my status to her when the right time came.
My good friend was also going through some challenges. His job was terminated, so we were engaged in a lot of drinking and drug abuse.
One day during one of the HIV/AIDS workshops, I disclosed my HIV/AIDS status, and one lady who happened to know me and the family of the lady I wanted to marry -- she broke the news to them.
When the workshop was over, my fiancé asked if we could meet as usual. I agreed. When I saw her she was not herself. I knew that something was bothering her because her eyes were swollen. When I inquired, she told me that she was told about my HIV/AIDS status. I told her that I was not trying to hide it from her but I hadn't quite known how to break the news to her.
She told me how she came to know of my status and how the family had decided on the matter -- that they wanted her to go to school and have no more relationship between the two of us. She told me how the family wanted to know if we had sex before. She answered, "No." When I asked her why she didn’t tell the truth, she told me that she was afraid of the consequences.
As she was telling me all this, in my mind ... I was thinking: This is my last day on this earth. I will take my life. But I told her to go for an HIV/AIDS test as well so she could know. We parted around 6:00 p.m.
Soon thereafter I received a call from a friend saying that we should meet. My plan was to throw myself in front of a moving vehicle after drinking and smoking so that people would think it was an accident.
That night we began drinking, but I never got drunk. When I shared to my good friend that my relationship with my fiance had been broken off, he could not handle it. And because he was so upset by hearing the sad news, I decided not to tell him of my plan to commit suicide.
The area where I was staying was very dangerous. You could not walk a distance of 200 metres without meeting with deadly thugs. Between 1 - 2 a.m. I decided to walk to my house, which was about 2km along the Tamac-road, called Great East road, which goes to Malawi. Amazingly, I walked to my room and met neither thug nor vehicle at that suicidal hour.
The next morning, around 8 a.m., I heard a knock on my door. When I opened it, there stood my fiancé. She gave me a letter. It was addressed to me. It read: Dear Mulamu (brother in law). As a family we believe and will stand with you in this situation. Doubting God is as bad as witchcraft. So can you come for prayers? I broke down in tears because I had almost taken my life night the night before.
When I reached the elder brother of my fiancé, he sat with me to counsel me. His question was obvious. He wanted to know if we had shared sex. I answered him, "No," because I didn’t want to complicate issues.
I was prayed for that very moment. The feeling that I got from that experience was powerful. The body pains that I had disappeared. Instantly I felt lighter and good.
He asked me to go for another HIV/AIDS test, which I was not ready to do because it was not yet time.
I started avoiding the family of my fiancé. I felt like they were putting too much pressure on me.
One day my fiancé invited me to attend a revival meeting at her church, because her father has a ministry. Someone was preaching that day. Bricks and planks were used as chairs. I was sitting in a corner of the structure. The preacher‘s message was: "God is the same yesterday, today and tomorrow. What God did in the past, He is doing now and He will do tomorrow."
The preacher got my attention when he said, "Nowadays we have lifted HIV/AIDS above the name of God, as though He can't heal us of this terrible disease. That is wrong because He surely can!" I felt a connection to that preacher -- such that before he could finish his sermon ... I was already on the altar!
I do not remember the hand of the preacher touching me, but I could see a hand which was not human touching my forehead. Also, behind me were stretched hands towards me which were like the one on my forehead.
Immediately I fell into these hands. I was made to lay down on something that felt like a mattress. Then I heard voice inside me saying, “I want the glory for what I did.”
I replied, "For what? “Healing me of HIV/AIDS?"
He answered, "What I did in you. Tomorrow go for an HIV /AIDS test."
I tried to reason with Him. "Why don’t you allow me to gain weight, as that will make sense when I talk about it in the open?"
The same voice said, “I say go be tested tomorrow! Go!. The way you look at things is not the same way I do."
That was the end of the discussion. He also commanded me not to say anything to anyone before the test. Remember, people in the physical were observing me crying and rolling to and fro. Some thought I had broken one of my body parts because I was rolling on top of the bricks and planking. I finally stood up -- shook the dirt off my clothes -- sat without any sign of pain of injury. People were waiting to see If I would go limp.
At midnight God visited me again in my room. He took me to the Book of Acts, chapter 12. I never went to sleep again.
Monday I went to the clinic. I looked for a psycho–social counselor but there was no one. I waited for a while. Finally a counselor arrived. I told the counselor why I wanted to do a test. He made me fill out a form. I wrote in the reasons why I wanted to do the test. I wanted to know if God had healed me.
Several minutes after taking the blood samples, he called me in for results. The way he was acting, I felt the results we still going to be the same: AIV positive still.
I heard a voice inside me saying, "Whatever comes out of this will give God the glory."
The counselor said ... "Sir - very few people of your age group are HIV negative so congratulations. You are HIV/ AIDS negative! I cried ... then shared with the counselor all of what had happened.
He give me the test results and the official form stating I was no longer an AIDs victim. I took it to my father-in-law. He hung his head low and cried. I went back after three months and again was tested. Again the results came out negative.
Why, me, I wondered? I had been so bitter at God for not healing my two sisters and my brother of AIDS. This is what God said to me later: "I healed you because I want to heal many other sisters and brothers through you."
I now live to testify of what the Lord has done to me. I believe many have questions. I will be in position to answer some of the questions in the book that I am writing: HIV/AIDS - WHERE IS YOUR STING? I believe God has a lot of lives He's going to touch from this deathly HIV/AIDS virsus He healed me of.
I am Zambian, currently living in Botswana. I am a father of two sons.
God is using me as an international speaker and author. Forums in which I displayed my public speaking ability include school systems, churches, business and farmers conferences and families. These are the different catagories of topics I speak about:
I want so much for my book to be ready by the end of this year. Its purpose is to share the glory of God for what He has done for me and to help encourage others to trust God for their healing so that they TOO will glorify God. By the first of December 2012 if possible. I am asking God for financial assistance from any well wishers for the book to be ready by then. Once the book is published, I'll share how people can obtain a copy of it.
I can be contacted at: email@example.com
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