May 2008: Breaking the Silence
Jesus answered, ‘Neither this man nor his parents sinned; he was born blind so that God’s glory might be revealed in him,’ – John 9:3
Nomvula Shale is HIV positive, but that doesn’t stop her from speaking out! Nomvula travels from church to church in South Africa, defying taboos and the stigma of disease in order to provide words of comfort and assurance to those who are drowning in silence. Yesterday she was at Highway Hospice; tomorrow she will be at King Edward Hospital. Today, she counseled two in the parking lot who were too scared to seek help. What for many would be the harbinger of hopelessness is for Nomvula the key that enables her to communicate and be trusted by all who come to her. Why is she HIV positive? She says: “The Scriptures tell us ‘So the glory of God might be revealed!'”
Nomvula communicates her message to the church, to the government, to the schools, and to the people. She hosts a talk radio show and writes weekly in the newspaper. She leads the HIV and AIDS Desk of the United Congregational Church of Southern Africa (UCCSA), which enables local churches to strengthen their own outreach to their communities. With the aid of Global Ministries, Nomvula and the HIV and AIDS Desk work together to fight the goliath of the AIDS pandemic in Africa, through such things as grants to purchase life saving medications, funds for a home-based care project, a new house at the Cebelihle Children’s Home and new accommodation for the Siyabathanda (“We are loving them”) ministry in Noodsberg. The silence about HIV/AIDS needs to be broken – Nomvula shatters it. In a world in need of hope and direction, Nomvula lives her life the way that God wills the church to be.
Rev. Scott Couper works with the kwaZulu Natal HIV and AIDS Desk of the United Congregational Church of Southern Africa (UCCSA) in Durban, South Africa.