In 2008, the burden a missionary in Togo, West Africa had for the many people she saw suffering with HIV and AIDS for years became so poignant that she had to do something. She started PRAYING and gathering others who had the same compassion and desire to pray. For a year they met every Friday at 1 pm and just prayed, and planned according to how God was leading them. God gave this small group clarity and vision for starting a ministry that focuses on prevention and education by teaching groups, individuals, patients, families and churches. And God expanded that to building a Center one day which would provide counseling, testing and treatment as well as education and support. This small group became the first (and only so far) Board, a number of 7, including the missionary. Then so many others asked if they could help and members of the group expanded to 40 plus the 7 board members, totaling 47. Prayer continued and planning. Property was acquired through gifts as well as funds for education of the four-pronged ministry focus. The team was divided into 4 groups: 10 adult teachers, 10 youth teachers, 10 counselors and 10 home care workers. Professionals came and taught each group. Churches were chosen as the primary target audience as Friend Indeed desired and strategized that churches should be the place of refuge for PLWHIV and a place of understanding and compassion and hope to their families as well as to HIV+ individuals. All the Pastors of the Kpalime region were taught. A vehicle was acquired for the ministry and used to go out and teach and counsel in the Kloto region of Togo. All were visited except around 10 (out of ~40) as funds were depleted. Friend Indeed Association was born when this status was sought and gained with the recognition and official approval of the Togolese government. Prayer continues the focal point and Prayer Retreats for the Board have been held every Fall since 2010. Weekly prayer meetings are ongoing. General Assembly meetings are held with all members of the ministry quarterly where victories, blessings, prayer requests and strategy meetings take place. Counseling continues at the mission hospital where many members work, providing pre and post-HIV test counseling. As funds permit, visits to homes, with a benevolence ministry will be developed and continued church outings will be done, focusing on the regions who beg Friend Indeed to come who haven’t been reached yet. To meet the ongoing continuous needs of the ministry, a restaurant has been planned for in partnership with the hospital and fundraising is ongoing. It will provide a sustaining means of support for the ministry and a gathering place for patients, families and employees to enjoy a good meal and fellowship together. An event for fundraising for the restaurant is taking place June 21, 2014 and is a fun run, the first annual Run for Togo, to be held annually after that. A Center is also being planned which will provide education, counseling, testing, treatment and micro-enterprise training for women affected by the devastating disease, which will affect the future for them and their families.
The FRIEND INDEED ASSOCIATION exists to TEACH the body of Christ and the community to understand what HIV is and is not, how to PREVENT it and how to have HOPE, modeling COMPASSION and using the Word of God to teach principles of love, hope and care for PLWHIV and giving SUPPORT in practical ways to them and their families.