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    July 17

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Comforted by God's power

Added 16 May 2010

by CHERYL HAREWOODSHE WAS sexually molested by a family member when she was just six years old. At the age of seven she was frequently undressed and her private parts fondled by her primary school teacher.By the time she was nine, and left in the care of a family friend, she further suffered sexual, physical and verbal abuse by older men. When she entered secondary school, after attending eight primary schools, young Patricia became a cold-hearted, angry, radical teenager, who did whatever she could to protect herself from those who sought to take advantage of her.A school dropout by 16, and pregnant at 18, Patricia was suddenly faced with health issues, including spinal, hand and neck pains.And, as if her life was not filled enough with challenges and let-downs as a child, she would have to weep bitterly over her son’s lifeless body. The mother was confronted by the bloody tragedy just three years ago: the second of her three sons –25-year-old Jason Hinkson –was murdered. By then, she had received the heartbreaking news that she had contracted the HIV virus – the result of one of eight blood transfusions for her severe anemic condition.Today, Patricia Forde Hinkson, who was born in Trinidad to a Barbadian mother and Grenadian father, and who came to Barbados when she was 15 months old, has sought to change everything about her life – even her name to that of Faith.A born-again believer, she claims her faith in God has resulted in “healing from the HIV virus”. Now, she takes one instead of seven pills daily, and visits the clinic once every six months, compared with twice a month. Even in the midst of her pain and discovery she had the HIV virus in 2004, Patricia found love. She would walk down the aisle on August 31, 2008, at her side her husband Hallam – the man who married her despite her HIV status, and vowed to love, protect and support her, come what may. As a tearful Patricia sat to share her story with the Sunday Sun, she wanted to make it clear that she was reaching out to young people and hurting women.She also hoped her story would turn the drug addict, prostitute, homosexual, and those “facing life’s difficulties” to God – who she said“has been her constant source of strength”.Patricia, who came to Barbados in 1963, was first confronted by incest through her aunt’s children who “often interfered” with her.“At the age of seven, when I entered primary school, one of the male teachers would pull down my panties and fondle me,” Hinkson recalled.By the time she was eight, a 19-year-old cousin made her his target for further sexual abuse. She told no one of the sexual molestations.At eight years old, Hinkson had already attended five schools, because of her mum’s constant moving.When her mum wentoff to greener pastures in the United States, she left Patricia with a friend.The sexual abuse started all over again – this time by older men.  A radical Patricia emerged at secondary school, and by aged 16, she was a dropout.“By then my mother had returned, but I had already started looking for love in all the wrong places. She was unable to show me love, because she too was abused,” said Patricia, who never met her dad.  “After my daughter was born, things got worse. Her father disowned her,” said Patricia.By now a lover of parties, Patricia met another man, who fathered two of her three sons. That relationship soon died.At 23, she met a 41-year old man and within a year they were married. Sadly,that turned out to be another abusive relationship.Within a year she was back on her own.When Patricia gave birth to her third son before her divorce was final, she also suffered verbal abuse from her former husband who accused her of infidelity while they were married.“That was never the case,” she said.Fed up and hurt after this relationship too ended on the rocks, Patricia was next involved in a three-year same-sex relationship, a life she later regretted living in front of her children.“I knew it was a phase. I never saw myself as a lesbian. I just had no love for men,” she explained. Her desire for a better life took her to Canada; but even there bad luck seemingly followed. She was robbed of her possessions; ended up a hostel; and her daughter was sexually molested.Then in 2000, she was arrested and imprisoned for a month after threatening her employer because of ill treatment.Back home, she returned to church – a place she had left because of discouragement. Today, now sold on God, Patricia wants others to learn from her mistakes – and for believers to be real. “We give our lives to God but we still carry baggage,” she admitted.“I’ve been through a lot, but God has been good in spite of it all. “We in church need to stop being hypocrites and tell people that we messed up before, and we mess up sometimes because the flesh is always fighting against the spirit.”“Too many Christians make others believe they never had issues before meeting Christ. The church is just a hospital.”The former morgue technician, who hopes to make it in the field of beauty, thinks believers ought to show more love and compassion.“In church there is a lost world going to hell in a ham basket. People turn to drugs and all forms of addiction because they don’t know who to turned to,” said Patricia, who became a member of Restoration Ministriesin 2004.It was there she found love from pastors and church members.Love also came from others at the clinic.“I can’t sit back today and worry about people pointing fingers at me,” said Patricia, who went from 180 to 152 pounds after the blood transfusion.“They don’t know what I’ve been through.”Pressures and stress caused her to give up her job and she is yet to pay for her son’s funeral arrangements.Her husband,who describes her as his tower of strength,also gave up his security job to nurse her whenher spinal condition became unbearable.Going to the clinic has been an eye-opener.“I’ve met all kinds of people. Those who wantto ostracise, shun or discriminate against me would have to shun the person on the ZR van;in the hospital; the church; the restaurant and even their friends who are too scared to say they are HIV positive. Many people we come into contact with daily have the HIV virus.“It is through Christ that I am victorious. I know I am healed by the power of God,” said Patricia, who now has great respect for abstinence. Had she known better then, the 47-year-old said she would have charted a different course for her life.“I’ve learnt that life’s difficulties, and even HIV and AIDS, do not find people because they are promiscuous. HIV can happen innocently.“If my story can help anyone, I’ll be happy.“I am not interested in what people will say, only in the saving power of Jesus Christ. God looks beyond our faults and sees our needs.“None of us knows what will happen to us. I want to tell young people and the church to trust God,” she said.Now a devout prayer warrior, Patricia also believes too many Christians are seeking titles, rather than God.“I am not interested in titles, only in how much another believer cares and loves humanity.”She and her husband – a former cocaine, marijuana and alcohol addict – possess a deep love for the lost.“We thank God for everything he has done in our lives. We pray together, encourage others,and want to help those who are broken and need encouragement,” said husband Hallam, who stressed that when he and Patricia got married, God miraculously provided everything for them debt-free. “My dream is to see unity in the church,” declared Patrica,who plans to write a book about her life and God’s transforming power.

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