Joni and I began sponsoring 13-year-old Mark Wandyaka of Uganda in December of 2011 as a young AIDS orphan in need of quality education. With both of his parents having died of HIV infection and Mark himself living with HIV, he has refused to let his “status” get him down. Today as a 24-year-old preparing to graduate from University, Mark has become our “son”! Not legally, but we have grown close enough to Mark that we call him our son. He has added to OUR lives and given us the honor of caring for him. – BRUCE SONNENBERG

markwYesterday 18/04/2020 I made 24.

I want to celebrate it with all the young people living with HIV. I know many of you face hardships, isolation and discrimination. You have so much you want to do but you are frustrated by the fact that you have HIV. This frustration has made you hate yourself and curse your life. But I am writing this to encourage you reading this, to let you know that you’re not alone. I am here and yes I have faced those frustrations. I have lived with the virus for 24 years now. You need to understand that it’s not your fault you have the virus. Jesus had and still has a plan for you. One way I can prove to you is, think of the ARVs. Do you know that people in USA pay over 7 million shillings every month to get that medication? But see us, we get it for free. Have you ever imagined how it would be if we had to pay for them? So when you face the frustration, please remember that Jesus intends victory for you. In all ways, he seeks to bring up those he loves and we’re Gods children even with the virus. He loves us. He can’t let us perish. Take heart brother and sister. Let’s not hide who we’re from our friends and family. Let’s take the courage to come out to them and let them know our status. Many will leave us upon revealing to them, but whoever leaves you, just know they were not meant for you in the first place. I know it’s difficult because we feel like we’re connected to them in a way, but whoever is not willing to accept us for who we’re is not for me or for you…

It’s my humble request on my birthday to you living with HIV to come out and declare our status to our loved ones.

Because the more we keep quiet, the more it spreads. Let’s aim at eradicating the virus and secure an HIV free generation. Many will look down on us and will never know the sacrifice that we’re making, but our Father in heaven surely will know what we did.

I hope my wish for my birthday will be granted.

#yplHIV #hivfreegeneration