Tuan (TN): Good morning Rev. Latimer. It's an honor to talk
with you. I'm gonna start this interview like all the others.
I will begin a thought with "God opens doors..." and I'd like
you to complete it.
Stacey (SL): Okay. TN: "God opens doors...
SL: ...to afford all of us opportunities, and gives us free
will to pursue or not pursue." TN: Tell us about your position
with The Balm In Gilead, Inc.
SL: I am the Black Church HIV/AIDS Network Coordinator. I
recruit churches to join The Black Church HIV/AIDS Network.
This is a network that consists of ministries that have stepped
forward as leaders throughout the African Diaspora by establishing
AIDS ministries. The Balm In Gilead has provided assistance
to over 15,000 churches, ministries, and non-profit organizations
through out the United States. We provide venues for churches
from all over the nation, as well as Africa and the Caribbean,
to come receive training from the nation's experts, share
ideas, network, and become empowered with knowledge, and be
refreshed by the spirit of God to go back to the communities
where they serve, to make a difference in this pandemic.
TN: I recently read a column by a right-wing conservative
journalist who made some very negative remarks about The Balm
In Gilead. He couldn't see how this organization could even
use a scriptural reference as its name. How do you respond
to such comments?
SL: When I first started, I used to get frustrated by such
comments. But I understand now that opposition comes any time
you are bold enough to walk in that which God has called you
to do. The anointing sent by God gives you strength to press
through hurtful and discouraging opposition. We have to understand
that man can never see the whole picture; that's for the Father's
eyes only. Some people will never see the good in who you
are, or what you do, for it takes the mind of Christ to find
good in... Yet, even if the entire world is against you, God
is expecting an excellent work in that which he has called
you to do. For, him alone being with you is more than the
whole world against you. His Spirit rises up a standard for
the work. When we go too far left, or too far right, or began
to think that we are the ONLY RIGHT mission, we can lose sight
of the great move of God in the north, south, east, and/or
west; a move crucial to life and living. We'll never see,
or understand the whole picture till Christ return. So, I/we
continue to do what God has called me/us to do, knowing I/we
will be victorious in my/our service to Him.
TN: Seeing as you aren't a "church pastor" but serve in a
different paradigm of ministry, how do you stand up to scrutiny?
SL: God often uses simple things to confound the wise. He
has endowed us with gifts to bring him glory and honor. In
his own way, He also makes room for these gifts. We must understand
just what and who the church is, along with the responsibilities
God has charged her with. Some of us are lost in our understanding
of this divine concept, due to years of media exploitation,
as well as our own highlighting and ongoing acknowledgements
of shortcomings, struggles, and down falls of members and
leaders in the church. But God is and has always been doing
great things for us, in ways we know not of!! Our only example
or measuring tool should be Jesus, and his measure of love.
I see myself as a leader, not because of what people call
me, but because of what God has called me to do in such a
time as this, and he is who I chosen to listen to instead
TN: What can the church do more effectively in regard to
HIV/AIDS prevention and education?
SL: Become more informed. Hunger for greater knowledge and
understanding. Through divine orchestration, information is
out here for our use. The Bible is our guideline. Yet, we
must study to show ourselves approved unto the Lord, a workman
needing not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth."
This is a must to walk in the truth of God's love in such
changing times! Religion and tradition alone will never afford
us the liberty needed to express the true love ethic of Christ!
TN: What can individuals do to get into the struggle to prevent
the spread of HIV/AIDS?
SL: Find a church, community organization, or answer "the
call" God has on your life in this hour, and get involved.
Do what you do with passion, compassion and purpose. Understand
that opposition and hard times will come. But be not weary
in your well doing. God WILL provide the means, and the way;
as he makes room for you, your talents, and gifts. Your faithfulness
will meet a bountiful harvest. Not because I say so, but because
God promised it! Stay encouraged and remember why you wanted
to get involved in the first place. Know your calling! Know
that your work fits into God's big picture, and is much needed.
We are all in this together, and we need you doing walking
in his purpose for you.
TN: In light of the current HIV/AIDS statistics in the African-American
community, is there a Balm In Gilead?
SL: Oh yes! There is a Balm in Gilead. There is healing provided
by the great physician! The earth is the Lords and the fullness
thereof. God uses who and what he wants to sustain us, orchestrate
healing in us, and in providing restoration to those in need.
He has showered us with great promises that are sure to come.
All we have to do is believe HIM! We must walk with confidence
in his word and we will not fail, because he will not fail.
God says there is a Balm in Gilead! He said it and that settles
TN: I close every interview with this question...if you had
45 seconds to address the entire world, what would you say?
SL: WOW...that's a BIG question! I would trust God for a
word that would bring healing to our land, a word that would
not exclude ANYONE. I'd pray for a word that would give strength
to the weak, comfort to the broken hearted, love to the loveless,
and assurance to those who feel powerless over principalities
and powers that have them held captive. It would be a word
perpetual in healing as it goes out. And when all has been
said, all would know that the great I AM IS!