Dave, 68 / California, USA


We got kicked out of our church. We got kicked out of our small group. The pastor was in visiting me when the doctor told me, and he told his wife. And so we ended up having to leave the church, and then about a year later we walked into our small group that we go to, and they said, “The Pastor says you’re not allowed to come here anymore,” and kinda just shut the door in our face, you know? So it made us very leery of churches, and it wasn’t what we thought God was all about.

I started going to this church that I go to now. It’s Saddleback Church.  And um, I started going on mission trips with ’em. When you go out it’s just like seeing a shrink or something.  You see people in worse shape than you’re in, you know, and it makes you go, “Oh! I haven’t got it so bad.”  You know what I mean?

We started an AIDS ministry in our church. I have about 100 people in my AIDS ministry, and probably 30 of ‘em are infected. And 70 people get ‘em back and forth to the doctors, and grocery stores, and shopping, and take ‘em to movies, just visit ‘em, hug ‘em, let ‘em know they’re human.

I do a lot of public speaking. When I finish talking I’ll go, “In this hand here if you could make me whole again not with AIDS…” and so on and so forth, “Or this hand here, I have the walk with Jesus that I have now? This hand here, every time.”  So I get a lot of comfort out of my religion.

And then in my small group, my support group that I have every Monday, when you get a whole room of people that all have AIDS, they’re like, in a different world, because nobody understands you outside of somebody else who’s going through what you’re going through. Not their family or anybody else. And so they just love coming to support group, you know what I mean? So I’ve had that support group now for almost 10 years. The age of the people in the group is, um, 15 to… 74? And I’m gettin’ a lot more older people because of Viagra.