‘Susie, what are you going to do about it?’
I heard Godâ€™s audible voice that morning in January 1993, so clearly that it changed my life forever.
At the time, I was a nursing sister, running an HIV clinic in a London hospital. I had gone for 2 months to Zimbabwe to research the effect of HIV on the nation. One day I found myself in a small village on the Mozambican border. I was accompanied to a hut where, in the darkness of a corner, I saw a woman dying of AIDS. She was lying on the bare floor, in filthy conditions, because of a lack of water. To my shock, I suddenly noticed that the left side of her face had been eaten away by herpes infection.
This infection, common in people living with HIV, is easily treatable with simple medication. But for a woman like this, born into poverty, without access even to a paracetamol, the consequence was a degrading death. I was so angry. As I held her in my arms, I angrily cried out in my heart: â€˜God, what are you going to do about this?â€™ It was then that I heard his voice, gentle and clear: â€˜No Susie, the question is, what are you going to do about it?â€™
That moment was the start of a new journey. My husband and I moved to Zimbabwe 2 years later. Whilst my husband worked as a pharmacist at the District Hospital, I established a community-based programme of orphan care and home-based care and support of families affected by HIV. I trained local Christian volunteers to run the programme. By the time I returned to the UK in 1998, around 6,000 orphans were being supported and cared for ensuring they had hope and a future. Out of this experience came the vision for The Bethany Childrenâ€™s Trust: to mobilise individuals, churches and businesses in the UK to â€˜hold up the armsâ€™ of those on the frontline of caring for children at risk.
Over the years, BCT has worked with projects, similar to the one in Zimbabwe, in 8 countries. We are now seeing whole families and communities being powerfully impacted as people in the UK link with those overseas to bring healing and transformation.
Please help us hold up their arms in whichever way you can.