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How to stop AIDS in its tracks

I have worked in the country with the highest AIDS rate in the world (nearly 50%) – Swaziland. Our teams have been there off and on for the last three years. Here is a vision that the Lord gave me based on story telling. The biggest barrier to stopping the spread of AIDS is our inability to t…
By Seth Barnes
By Seth Barnes

I have worked in the country with the highest AIDS rate in the world (nearly 50%) – Swaziland. Our teams have been there off and on for the last three years. Here is a vision that the Lord gave me based on story telling.

The biggest barrier to stopping the spread of AIDS is our
inability to tell the truth. The people
of Swaziland
have been given lots of information about AIDS – what it is and how it
spreads.

AIDS spreads not simply because of promiscuity, but because of teachers sleeping with students in exchange for school fees, uncles raping their neices, and people in authority who do little to protect young people. And then nobody talks about it. The relatives who contract AIDS are pushed into the back rooms to die.

The problem is that there is a
disconnect between what people know they

should
do and what they are
actually
doing. The result is shame. A great monster has entered the Kingdom of Swaziland and is silently devouring
whole families, but no one has permission to talk about it! Shame is its greatest weapon.

When we were children, we loved hearing our parents tell
stories. We all love stories. But many of us never learn how to share our
story. Stories are what connect us. As we’re connected, we’re protected. This happens as we first connect with the truth,
the whole truth. And it happens as we
connect with one another. This
connection first shows us that shame has no power over us, and second it keeps
us on track with what we know we should do.

Secrets keep us from sharing our story. They lock away key facts. Instead, we leave out the most important
parts of our story – the painful, shameful parts. We share only what it is socially acceptable.

The truly courageous person will venture into the dark realm
of pain to unlock the doors that secrets have slammed shut. Swaziland has some amazing stories – Swazis just need to learn how to tell their story to one another.

We need a campaign that challenges a nation to courageously
tell their stories. If people can stop hiding behind their shame, then perhaps they can expose the secrets that have caused AIDS to gallop ahead at such an astounding rate.

I’ve been training a team this week to go over and help them do just that. The Lord showed me that rather than going with answers, the only thing the team brings to the table is their brokenness and their vulnerability. I’ll keep you updated about this dream of ours later.

8 Rules of story
telling

  1. Everyone
    has a story.
    It involves personal
    pain and God’s intervention.
  2. Everyone
    has secrets that keep the story from being told.
  3. Shame
    is the doorkeeper to the secret.
  4. We
    break the power of shame by telling the truth about our secrets.
  5. Only
    the whole truth has power.
    Write it
    down.
  6. Share
    only your story.
    Share it in the
    first person:
    “I.”
    Share how you felt.
  7. Time
    adds new pieces to your story.
  8. The
    proper response to a story is:

    “Thank you.”

Comments (3)

  • Though I agree that “shame” plays a role in the AIDS pandemic in Swaziland, i believe that socio-economic factors such as high unemployment, drought, misogynistic cultural traditions, poor education, weak infastructure and unfavorable geography maintain primacy in the realm of causal variables for hte pandemic.

  • All factors that produce shame and a fear of the truth. The point is that people are kept in bondage to lies and until the lies are exposed, the impact of all these underlying factors can’t be addressed.

  • I remember that guy

    I just wrote in my blog about the similiar topic. How people gradually turn into how they are labeled. People are treated a certain way, and eventually they are blocked into the label people give them. When we are born, we are given only a name, like Henry or something, period. No one names thier child with ( )’s after it, yet that is often what we do to people. I met many Swazi’s with the label of shame. It is perhaps not everybody in Swaziland, but that nation has been plagued with this labeling. Ours is perhaps a mission of giving them a Godly labeling, sons and daughters of love and truth.

Comments are closed.

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Seth Barnes

I'm motivated to join God in his global reclamation project. He's on the move, setting his sons and daughters free from their places of captivity. And he's partnering with those of us who have been freed to go and free others.



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