Thursday, February 23, 2006

Paul and Lana Duda, along with Dr. JoAnn Butrin and Pam Frey conducted a two-day HIV/AIDS Training of Trainers Seminar in Trinidad, January 20-21,2006. Merle Ali, host and coordinator of the event, did a tremendous job overseeing all aspects of the training.

The culture, climate, and people in Trinidad are very warm and we enjoyed trying many of the tasty dishes prepared for us. We ate Roti (curry dish), Doubles (warm sandwich made with pureed chick peas and other tasty things), and shark and bake (fresh shark meat fried and put on a toasted round sweet bread). The picture below is the shark and bake. There were many wonderful toppings to put on your sandwich, making it hard to get them all on one sandwich.

During the seminar many topics were discussed on how the church can respond, minister, touch, and encourage those suffering with HIV/AIDS, as well as their families. All agreed that we need to reach out to hurting people that have a disease without a cure, with a compassionate touch, our example being Jesus. One excellent example in scripture is "The Good Samaritan" found in Luke 10:25-37.

Reverend Paul J. Duda, Director for the Latin America and the Caribbean Commission on HIV/AIDS taught the strategic planning session of the seminar. His focus was on good planning to get us to our goal of ministering. There were brainstorming sessions and many good ideas on how to start a support group at the local church level, as well as sharing on what was working in local churches. Paul served as a missionary to the country of Ecuador, South America for over 13 years. He currently is the Director of Special Projects for Latin America and the Caribbean. Paul travels to Ecuador and throughout the region. He is in the construction stages of a 500 seat sanctuary in Quito, Ecuador. Pastor Alberto and Silvia Ospina are the national pastors of the work. Please visit the website: for information, bios, and resources for HIV/AIDS. We look forward to receiving your emails with comments.

Reverend Lana Duda shared on the stigma that is associated with HIV/AIDS and how to minister to suffering people without alienating them. Lana well understands the affect of stigma on a family. A close family member suffers with a brain disorder. She can relate with others on how the stigma associated with the brain illness causes alientation, pain, isolation, grief, and loss of productivity. Lana is the mother of three sons. She holds a Bachelor of Business Administration in Management from Evangel University in Springfield, Missouri and is currently enrolled in the Masters of Education Program at Global University.

Dr. JoAnn Butrin signed the Global AIDS Partnership booklets she authored at the seminar for the attendees. Dr. Butrin brought a wealth of information to the seminar and was warmly received by all who were in attendance. Dr. Butrin was a missionary to the country of Zaire, Africa for over 14 years. Later she became the director for HealthCare Ministries, traveling to many countries around the world with teams of volunteer health professionals, offering physical and spiritual care. She has authored three books concerning health care in developing countries and ministry to persons with AIDS. Currently she is the director of Assemblies of God World Missions International Service Ministries. She still lectures in many locations around the world on Community Health, AIDS, Christian Relief and Development and Singles in Ministry.

Web: Dr. Butrin has a Blog at:

Counselor Pam Frey lives in Mexico with her husband Butch and two chihuahuas, affectionately called "my two boys." She holds a counseling degree from Assemblies of God Theological Seminary in Springfield, Missouri. Pam is the mother of two grown children. Before working in the ministry, Pam worked in law-enforcement. She brought out many great ideas on counseling, encouraging those involved in a counseling ministry to be "good listeners." Pam is standing beside the Global AIDS material that was given out at the seminar. If you would like to order this material, go to and click on the link to Resource and Development Ministries (RDM). There you will find prices and ordering information.

The island country of Trinidad is a lovely place to visit. We enjoyed our stay.