Malawi SDA Pastor tells youth: ‘Love is not blind in the face of Aids’

While scientists have shown that there is a degree of truth in the old adage that love is blind, Malawian youth in the Seventh Day Adventist (SDA) Church have been told love isn’t blind in the face of HIV/Aids pandemic, and have been urged to go for voluntary testing and counseling before getting married.

A study by University College London shown that the researchers found that both romantic love and maternal love produce the same effect on the brain.

They suppress neural activity associated with critical social assessment of other people and negative emotions.

But National HIV and Aids Director at the Malawi Union of the Seventh Day Adventist Church, Pastor Dennis Matekenya told a youth forum organized by the Michiru SDA church in Blantyre, Sunday that when it comes to Aids, love should not be blind.

“Loving blindly in today’s world is foolishness,” said the clergy.

“Gone are the days when a young man and woman would be in a relationship without knowing their HIV status,” said Pastor Matekenya, referring to the Bible on Ephesians 5:15-17 where it is advising the faithful to live like wise people.

Matekenya said the youth are the window of hope for Malawi which is why they needed to know their sero status if the fight against the pandemic is to be won adding that knowing their status would help in planning for their future.

Pastor Matekenya cautioned girls against trusting men saying being a religious person does not reflect his or her behavior.

“Aids has no respect for any person, even a pastor or a church elder can be infected by the virus. When you have a very religious boyfriend, that is not a prerequisite to trust that he cannot have Aids,” cautioned Pastor Matekenya.

Matekenya advised the youth to develop a culture of testing for HIV even when they have not indulged in any promiscuous life.

He advised the young Adventists to refrain from pre-marital sex even if they tested HIV negative.

Pastor Matekenya said the Church strongly advises all couples getting married to go for VCT before officiating at the altar.

He observed that a good number of youths are complying to calls for HIV testing saying most of them come back to the counseling pastor to report that they have had a VCT.

“It is only when young people have formal weddings that we have an opportunity to counsel them on HIV and Aids, but another opportunity arises when we conduct youth meetings such as these,” Matekenya said while encouraging youths to have formal weddings.

Ruben Ndeule, one of the participants hailed the forum saying it is an opportunity for the youths to discuss issues affecting their livelihood.

Michiru SDA church Pastor, Felix Namakhuwa said training the youth in line with Biblical principles has proven a success.

“Train a child the way he or she should go so that they become good citizens and prepare them to enter God’s Kingdom,” advised Namakhuwa.

The youths constitute over fifty percent of the Adventist Church’s national and international membership.–(Additional reporting Nyasa Times)

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