Karen Plummer hurried to the window in time to see her husband, Angus, hurrying down the stairs to find what the policeman wanted. All of the girls who stayed in our home had troubled pasts, and brushes with the law were common. What problem brought the policeman this time? A few minutes later, Angus came in the office with the policeman and a slight young girl. It was just barely perceptible, but they could tell the girl was pregnant. The policeman explained to us, “This girl was in trouble with the law. Instead of sending her to jail, the Sao Paulo Health Department ordered us to bring her to you at Recanto da Paz (Oasis of Peace) to see if you could help her.”
After living promiscuously on the streets when barely in her teens, Elaine ended up with a baby at 16 years old. Unable to care for her, her mother stepped in and was raising the baby boy. Elaine soon began running with the same gang as her three brothers, using drugs and clashing with the police. Like her husband and three brothers, she tested HIV positive. She was a desperate girl who needed help to sort out her life.
Despite her stubborn rebelliousness and negative attitude, the other girls were patient in their offers to help Elaine. For several weeks, she sat in on the Bible studies the girls had each day, but said nothing. One day, she surprised them with a thoughtful comment on the day’s scripture. Not long afterward she prayed—a very short and simple prayer, but a prayer nonetheless.
Hope for Elaine
As her baby gradually grew inside her, so did her relationship with God. One morning, about four months after she came to live with them, she lingered behind when the girls left the Bible study. Her eyes glistened with tears. Suddenly she started sobbing, “I’m such a sinner, Pastor Angus. There’s just no hope for me. How can God ever forgive all the bad things I have done?” Angus assured her that God not only could, He would. All she had to do was ask. She was crying so hard her words were inaudible. But God understood. When she lifted her head afterward, the tears still shone, but a smile on her face had replaced the loneliness and hurt that was there before.
Day by day, they watched her bad attitude and rebelliousness fade. There was a drastic turnaround in her life: she was kind to the girls, and spent lots of her free time reading the Bible. She shared one prayer with them—that God not let her baby be born HIV positive as her husband and friends had warned her might happen. They told her that an abortion was the easiest way out of her problems. Fortunately, she knew deep inside that abortion was wrong, and sought advice elsewhere.
Elaine was so happy about the change in her own life and the joy she had in knowing Jesus Christ, she decided to share the change in her own life with her husband, now in jail. Each time she broached the subject, he scorned and refuted the idea, just as she had done at first. Elaine grieved about this. Later, she learned that he died in prison. In the face of these hard, discouraging situations, she found comfort and strength in the Lord.
When it was time, they took her to a special hospital that was equipped to cope with her HIV status. Her baby’s birth, which should have been a happy, joyful time, was clouded by bad news. Elaine grieved when she learned that her baby tested positive for HIV. She had prayed so often, so hard, for her baby to be born without the virus. “Why?” she kept asking. She couldn’t understand. But her faith didn’t waver, even when she received news that her brother had just died from AIDS.
She stayed at the Recanto another month and then returned to her mother’s home. By this time, she was a strong Christian, and devoted mother to her two sons. She joined a church and then found a job there, running a videotape ministry. Some months afterward, when she took her baby boy in for a blood test, she discovered that he was no longer HIV positive. God had heard after all!
Elaine has been HIV positive for almost 15 years now and still has no signs of AIDS. She calls Karen and Angus frequently to thank them for helping her turn her life around. Today, she has a job at Wal-Mart, attends church regularly, and cherishes the two young sons she’s raising. She thanks the Lord each day for leading her away from abortion.