Barry’s Secret Journey
Barry Haarde, born in 1965 has spent a major portion of his life in secret. A secret life from the rest of the world because of fear at what others would do or say about his condition. A condition that has been labeled the modern-day leprosy, the HIV/AIDS virus, bringing with it unprecedented paranoia and fear in our country of God-fearing citizens. Barry and his older brother John Haarde, both born with severe Hemophilia A, a hereditary blood coagulation disorder, contacted the HIV virus from tainted blood in the 1980’s. Hemophilia patients required continual blood transfusions that at the time left them vulnerable to a disease that was yet unknown and carried with it deadly irreversible maladies.
Barry, John, and their sister’s husband Joseph P. Grant all hemophiliacs, contracted this dreaded disease. Each faced overwhelming odds of living not only with the possibility of death’s grip always right around the corner; but faced the unwarranted stigma and hatred of a yet misunderstood social virus once labeled an immoral consequence by the general public. This misperceived stigma was the blatant curse of this disease spawning from it a dark lonely secrecy often as horrific as the disease itself. Instead of the kindness and compassion they so desperately needed from others they were faced with the potential rejection, ridicule and paranoia from a confused overzealous public multitude.
When faced with the grim possibility of what others might say or even do if his condition was exposed like the young 13 year old Ryan White, also an AIDS infected hemophiliac who died in 1990 after facing fear, discrimination, and prejudice, Barry chose secrecy. Hemophiliacs were unsurprisingly associated with HIV because of their ties to tainted blood transfusions. So Barry lived a somewhat isolated life of quiet desperation and fear for over 25 years.
During this time, Barry became very adept at hiding and avoiding the truth for fear of losing not only a prestigious position with a well known company, but the potential loss of close friends that might not understand his secret affliction. Many a time the contemplation of death plagued his thoughts, either as a result of the secret affliction or even by his own hand. It was not until the passing of his brother-in-law Joseph in 1990, and then his brother John in 2007 not from HIV, but rather Hepatitis C causing liver failure, did he begin to feel the prodding to go public for the sake of his “Brothers.”
An avid cyclist despite his secret affliction, Barry had his public debut as a result of a cycling race and an article written about his Hemophilia and HIV. This opened a floodgate of many years of pent up fear, hurt and confusion. This Molotov cocktail of emotions gradually began to be replaced with a growing deep understanding of his relationship with the only one who could truly set him free – Jesus Christ. This personal journey with Christ is now bringing freedom and joys the likes he has never known before.
Beauty for ashes is now his God given destiny that speaks to all those who hear his testimony. He traded in secrecy and fear for the only hope that could set him free. He now plans to devote the rest of his life helping others to the freedom that can only found in this spiritual journey no matter what their malady might be. Light is being shown into the darkness of fear, disappointment, hurt, confusion and lies to produce freedom in the many lives that have been ravaged by this dreaded modern day leprosy called AIDS.
The ripple effect of this revelation spans even into the lives of those who face their own hurts, habits or hang-ups as Barry now gives his testimony of being set free from the bondages of his secret affliction. His powerful testimony has not only brought light into his once dark secret loneliness, but radiates a powerful sense of humility into those who are being blessed by hearing his words of hope despite their own overwhelming circumstances.
As part of the Blood Brotherhood Initiative in Houston, Texas, Barry now soberly and fearlessly proclaims, “I am a 3H club member, Hemophilia, HIV and Hepatitis C.” He actively participates in an AIDS ministry begun by his colleague in truth Kay —- at Fellowship of The Woodlands. This is part of a major small groups movement to bring light into the darkness and set the captives free.
Barry shares his personal journey online at http://gnbm.org/?p=588 produced by Good News Broadcasting & Multimedia –GNBM.org an online ministry dedicated to spreading the good news of Jesus Christ around the world through modern multimedia technology.
Barry concludes his digital testimony with these powerfully poignant words:
“AIDS is the leprosy of our age and presents enormous challenges as well as opportunities for followers of Christ. The church possesses the largest labor force on the face of the earth and can have an enormous impact in the lives of those affected by HIV/AIDS. We need only to depart from the path of finger-pointing and judgementalism to bring the love of Jesus Christ to the millions of those whose lives have been swept up in the enormity of the global AIDS pandemic.” –Barry Haarde
Short URL: http://gnbm.org/?p=588