Many times as we share our stories there is the temptation to leave out some very personal detail. In Issue 31(some years ago) of the Challenge Newspaper Brian Teputepu told his story – but left out one dark secret !
Way back in 1997 I went in for a routine insurance medical...two weeks later I came for my results and my life was transformed on that day.
I had tested HIV positive!
Suddenly my world came tumbling down around me ... Questions flashed in my mind - Will I ever be able to have my own family? How will the world around me treat me?
Suicide was one of the solutions I considered.
In those days testing positive was a death sentence as images of wasted scrawny looking sufferers were common on television and in newspapers. Treatment was not readily available and the community concluded you had loose morals and were suffering the consequences.
In the midst of this emotional turmoil a friend took me to a home group. I had grown up as a Muslim and I was only going to the meeting clutching at straws for something to save me from HIV.
The group shared about a hope and possibility of life in Christ and in my state of desperation and depression I accepted Jesus into my life. From that day I passionately pursued any program that had anything to do with God, including joining the choir (I had always loved music and dancing), and doing Bible school, until I rose to leadership.
All this time I never shared my dark secret ...
In 1999 when I met Leonie, I opened up about my dark secret on the first date (She testifies that God specifically spoke to her that I was the man she was to marry). Many were shocked by our whirlwind relationship, as in six months we got married (just enough time to undergo the required marital counseling). Friends and relatives disputed the decision and I eventually was able to explain to them that contrary to their belief that Leonie had a good "catch"; I was the one who had been given a great deal!
We had a memorable wedding ceremony and I have never looked back.
In 2002 I left formal employment to enter into full-time ministry, first as a general assistant in a local church for a year, before embarking on my first missionary journey to Port Elizabeth, South Africa.
After that we relocated to Beitbridge, Zimbabwe and set up New Bridge Ministries – the first ministry to minister to truck drivers. We created relationships with other ministries such as Multi Ministries that necessitated the distribution of materials such as Challenge – The Good News Paper and many Bibles to truck drivers on both sides of the Limpopo River. Support for the work has come from as far afield as Australia.•