New York City
Ronnie Adams helps at one of CBF's New York City ministries for local children. Stretch Ledford photo
New York City-based Ronnie Adams responds
to HIV/AIDS with relational ministry
By Ronnie Adams
CBF Global Missions
As I was departing the hospice care after a prayer for him, I told my dear friend Leslie, “I have to go to a meeting out of town for a week.” Barely able to talk, his once 240-pound, 6-foot-5 frame was now less than 100 pounds. He, with great effort, shifted in his bed, took my arm pulled me close and said, “I may not be here when you get back.” I put my hand under his head, leaned down and looked in those once piercing brown eyes and said, “That’s okay, Les. I know where you will be.” With that he smiled, closed his eyes and went off to sleep.
Leslie had lived with AIDS for many years. As horrible a diagnosis as it was, it did awaken in his soul to a desire to find something meaningful beyond the temporary security of substances that robbed him of most he held dear. He found a relationship with Christ and became a regular member of our Bible study and other spirituality groups at Housing Works, an AIDS service center in New York City. His artistic and writing gifts were once again becoming important to him as he became a leader as he lived out his faith.
Even after his AIDS-related diagnosis of a life-threatening cancer that would eventually take his life, Leslie would speak often of his assurance of salvation, life beyond this earthly existence and the power of forgiveness.
I am privileged to be a member of the CBF Urban Team and be able to share hope and see it grow in lives of persons living with HIV/AIDS. I see the power of forgiveness and restoration that a relationship with Christ offers and the hope that endures to the end.
On this World AIDS Day when we light candles to remember those that have died of AIDS, I will remember Leslie and I will know by faith where he is!
About Ronnie's ministry:
Ronnie is a pastoral care volunteer for Housing Works, the nation’s largest housing provider for people living with AIDS. He leads a Bible study on Sunday mornings and participates in special holiday services. Ronnie serves in a similar role at Harmony House, Volunteers of America’s 54-bed apartment building for those with HIV. At Miracle House, a short-term residence in New York City for persons visiting their loved ones with AIDS or cancer, Ronnie leads a weekly morning breakfast and support group.
“The relationships I develop [in these places] give opportunity to minister to individuals and families through counseling, meeting needs, doing hospital visitation, and unfortunately, memorial services,” Ronnie said. “The meetings I lead help me meet people and develop relationships for witness and ministry.”