How a drug user became a Church leader (story shared by Uncle ACP)

[This is the story of Thangkin Gangte from Village New Moava, Nagaland, India.  Uncle Huolai wrote down the story on a piece of paper and gave it to me saying that I must post it on this platform. Uncole Huolai was part of the facilitation team which visited and did SALT visits in Thangkin's village. Uncle Huolai calls himself Uncle ACP]


Thangkin narrates his story...I was a drug user for many years. I attended many HIV seminars and lectures but I had no will and courage so I could not give up drugs. The underground gangs in Nagaland also showed me the gun and pointed at me to shoot but I could not stop. Wherever I went people were scared of me that I will steal away their belongings.

One day I took full dose of drugs and attended the church meeting in my village. I was fully intoxicated. To my utmost surprise I was proposed to be one of diocese in the church. I was very surprised as why people liked me, how could they appoint a drug user like me to be their church leader and to be the financial secretary of the church. That struck my mind,  I could not stop thinking why I had been selected. After that day whenever I took drugs I would feel guilty that what would people think of me. The fact of people having faith in my ability though I was a drug user made me feel good from that day. Church was becoming more tolerant lately and SALT visits, did they have anything to do with this I thought.

When the SALT team came to my village I realised that if I recovered I could do something in my life and my family. SALT was creating this atmosphere in the community, people could do something and not rely that outsider will come and do for them. 

I was encouraged to go for a blood test for HIV which I had been resisting for many years. My wife was afraid to know the result of the blood test. Whenever a vehicle would come in the village she would think that my blood test result had come. She would start trembling. I talked to her, comforted her that HIV can be treated but she could not be consoled. At last my result came and I happened to be HIV negative.

After that I promised myself that I would leave consuming drugs. Gradually I was able to leave drugs. Now I am happily living with my wife and children in New Maova village. I am so proud to be the village church accountant. 

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Comment by Rituu B. Nanda on September 8, 2011 at 1:03am
Thangkin will be very happy to hear from you. Will convey your message. Thanks! Hope you will share some inspiring stories from PNG.
Comment by Jasper Touna on September 7, 2011 at 8:32am

Dear Rituu; This is a wonderful story you shared, and its all about leaders making the rigth decision or creating simple strategies, like this - involving affected and inffect population to play important roles or make important decisions for the community, regardless of who they are. This make a change in a person and the community as well.





Comment by wiwin winarni on January 13, 2011 at 7:50am

Dear Rituu;


This story likes snow in Sahara for me, that indeed every cloud has a silver lining.  Reading this story making me feel additional courage to continue working and struggling to ensure that our youths and people surround me have better life and access more information and services related to RH and HIV-AIDS.





Comment by Virgilio Suande on January 12, 2011 at 1:18pm

Fantastic story rituu

Thanks for sharing this unique story; There is a strong element of inclusion, trust that has stimulated leadership and change and it is important that we have an extra aye to see beyond a drug abuser.



Comment by Joyceangami on January 12, 2011 at 11:04am
Yes I am so happy thatThangkin Gantes' story  is posted. I got to know him at the FBO TOT on Overcoming HIV/AIDS Stigma an Discrmination (OSD) last August 2010, where he shared his testimony with the Group - who were really challenged to change attitude towards HIV positives and Drug Users. Joyce
Comment by YERUVA ANTHONY REDDY on January 12, 2011 at 10:36am
Congrats to uncle ACP for becoming the church leader and very importantly for giving up drugs and being HIV negative. May your love for the family keep you healthy and get many more miracles done under your leadership. Thanks Rituu for sharing this story.


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