Here is Story #2 from Drinking from the Same Cup:
Noel Kenny is the senior leader of Liberty Church Campuses, which are in three locations: Inner City Dublin, Bray, and a new venture in Clondalkin. Noel is also a member of the Assemblies of God Ireland (AGI) National Leadership Team.
In the late eighties, early nineties, nobody knew what to do with the epidemic that was now upon our community and my family. The word AIDS carried with it shame for families and a death sentence for those who had contracted HIV.
I saw many young men and women devastated by the news that they had the “virus”, a killer in our midst.
I remember the confusion around these words: how do you catch it; everyone afraid to shake hands with someone who might have the virus.
Nobody, no government agencies seemed to have answers or know how to combat the fears, the topic or provide support and care that was needed by so many.
We lost so many of our young men and women to this “virus”. I also remember ACET entering the scene, people like Terrie Colman-Black and Moyra O Neill [an ACET care worker], tenacious and tender. Their approach to our community was nothing short of genius: kind hearted, understanding, vigorous and very practical.
I remember that ACET helped start “Friends Remembering Friends” – a service that was on once
a year to commemorate our loved ones who had passed away. This gave us as a family – we had lost two brothers – and as a community a chance to grieve together, cry together and laugh together.
I remember the quilt group doing art work, sewing, having cups of tea while remembering loved ones and producing community art, another incredible avenue of practical grace released into our lives.
My prayer back then was that somehow God would bring people into my brothers’ lives that would tell them the message of hope that is found in Jesus.
My prayers were answered: the Lord brought people from ACET into their lives. They were literally Jesus with skin on: they embodied the love of God, bringing hope and comfort to us as a family, and dignity and respect to my brothers.
I believe that ACET has been a huge help to communities and churches in the area of education, training and equipping people to love and care for people affected. They have been like a tireless army seeking to eradicate the effects of HIV.
Keep raising the bar! ACET, you are great.