It was my first time to attend a conference on HIV and AIDS such as ICAAP or the 10th International Congress on AIDS in Asia and the Pacific and this time it was held in BEXCO, Busan, Republic of Korea last August 26-30, the eighth country I have visited.
God has been gracious to send me there. I just sent an abstract which was fortunately chosen for a poster presentation. At first I have no intention of going there for two reasons, my project has no budget for this trip and I do not want to incur another absence from my class. But God obviously wanted me to be there, the budget was provided from another health project and I found out when I returned that our class was canceled!
Only few people were interested to know more about my poster which was about churches as channels of hope for PLHIV but still felt glad and blessed to share it with them! I went there not just for the poster, our counterpart office in Korea asked me to do a skills building workshop on "Channels of Hope" with my other colleague and friend. It was well received by the people who have attended and all I got were all very positive feedback! One participant even thought that now he just found the missing piece in the puzzle of this ministry! I kind of agree with him because what I learned and realized from participating in this conference was I guess....all the works for HIV are meaningless unless God is included. It seems almost everybody is missing the whole point. Christians are also very few. Well this is just my opinion though that's how I see it.
One thing was sure, God did not fail me for He was there I know during my whole session and trip. But the good news ends here because I have to admit that I failed Him once again the night after that victory! Yes and I am very sorry. There were so many attractive guys out there and I fell into one. In conferences like this, I have learned that gay men are everywhere and it's easy to meet new men from different places and make friends with them. What drew me to him aside from physical attraction was his religiousness and the spirituality he shared with me then later on in our conversation, I found out he's married to a man too. And then it happened. I knew God has forgiven me but I still feel very bad about myself. Thankfully, God has spoken to me this morning through the message at the Sunday service. He reminded me of His love and presence. Truly I can no longer live without God even in the midst of this SSA struggle but still I have to do my part in this process of change. I am so glad Jesus came for all of us. It's only by His grace that I can humble myself before Him whenever this sin or any other sins I make happens.
With the exception of that peccadillo, the whole trip was generally great and blessed. We were able to visit places and bought some good stuff for friends. Busan is a nice city to visit. Food is good too and the Haeundae Beach is a nice venue to relax, talk with friends. It's a beach beside a busy road of the city. Nampo market is a place where you can buy clothes, shoes, accessories and other gift items at a reasonable price though I must say they are a bit more expensive compared to market places in Bangkok. Places can be reached by a metro train but if you are going to a nearby mall like Lotte Department Store, a taxi with GPRS navigation will do at a affordable price. Korea is a well industrialized beautiful country I surmise. But the best thing happened of course were the new friends I met from this event and the fellowship. God is always good no matter what so all the praises be upon Him!