Meet Bryncia

This morning we are thrilled to introduce you to our newest team member, Bryncia Milam. Bryncia joined the team as our Development Coordinator at the beginning of August. 


I’m not sure that I can't articulate how excited I am to join the CARE for AIDS team, but I’ll certainly try! I am humbled that God would invite me into the great work He’s doing through this organization. 

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I am a proud Atlanta native- I grew up a few miles south of the city in a large family where my love for art, music, and good southern cooking emerged. At a young age, my family instilled the value of hard work, serving others and what it meant to truly "love our neighbors as ourselves”. I still vividly remember my aunt politely forcing us to spend our weekends serving the elderly in our community. We were always reminded to do our best to love others despite their social or economic status. Later in life would I realize how these experiences would shape my ever-growing passion for service.

After High School I felt the Lord compelling me into a very specific calling; to serve at-risk and marginalized populations. Afterall, my own personal life story reflected many similarities to those I was called to serve. My life is a testament to God’s transformative grace and how He could completely change the trajectory of a life. I eventually went on to complete my Bachelor's Degree as a non-traditional student at Agnes Scott College. I served in a variety of organizations throughout Atlanta and even had a unique opportunity to serve in Seoul, South Korea as a part of an International Studies course.

A great part of my journey was the last 4.5 years, serving as the Volunteer Services Program Coordinator for Wellspring Living in Atlanta, GA. Seeing so many young girls and women who were once hopeless find hope again is indescribable. My work with Wellspring solidified my calling to inspire and engage other servant leaders to be change agents in the world. What a blessing! Who knew God would allow me to continue on this journey as He led me to CFA?!

I have been inspired to serve at a greater level- personally, spiritually and professionally. The CARE For AIDS current and future vision for global impact is phenomenal. I’m honored to be a part of this work. I can only hope to make a small imprint in the story and continue to see lives changed!

Care for the Orphan

This morning’s blog post is from CARE for AIDS Donor Engagement Director and recent Impact Trip Leader, Jessica Jetton.


Meet Sharon. She is a double orphan, meaning both her mom and her dad have died of HIV. At VBS she danced, laughed, jumped, sang, ran, colored, and just was a kid. As the kids were enjoying a snack, she walked up to me and grabbed my hand and smiled the most beautiful smile, despite many missing teeth. She leaned close and with all the courage she could muster, asked me to be her sponsor. The desperation she felt rocked my heart. She shouldn’t have to ask this of me at 10 years old. Her parents needed a program like CARE for AIDS years ago when they were dying. She shouldn’t have to grow up as an orphan bouncing from one relative's house to another.

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On one hand, I am thrilled to see she joined another friend today at the church, but on the other hand, I wish with all my heart her parents could have been part of the CARE for AIDS program. It’s times like this when I look into the eyes of Sharon, and thousands of others like her and ask, where was the church when her parents were dying? Jesus called us to care for the sick, the widowed and the orphaned.

I thank God for our staff stepping into these families that are sick, left out and in need of a tangible representation of Jesus. Will you say a prayer for my sweet precious little new friend Sharon? I prayed over her and know God sees her and cares for her more than I could imagine. I’m believing that through God's mighty hand we can equip parents like Sharon's to live a life beyond AIDS, instead of the grim alternative.

Don't Ration Your Mercy

This morning's post is by CARE for AIDS intern, Anna Wilke. 


If you know me, you probably know how much I love the band Johnnyswim, and it’s a lot. Johnnyswim just came out with a new song called “Ring the Bells.” I loved the song right off the bat, but about the two hundred and seventy-third time I listened to the song, one specific line stood out to me. It says “mercy won’t be rationed here” and it got me thinking, how often do we do this? How often do we let our pride and sinful nature get the best of us and neglect to show others the mercy we were shown in Jesus? How often do we lose opportunities to show the world the overwhelming love and extravagant mercy of our Father by withholding mercy from the people in our lives who need it most?

Mercy is a display of God’s abundant nature. Mercy triumphed over judgment when Christ died for sinners, to rescue us from the condemnation we surely deserved. That same mercy triumphs still as our Holy Father looks at us and sees the faultless and unblemished image of His perfect Son. It was and still is the most extraordinary display of mercy in history. We are sinful people and we absolutely do not deserve the goodness and love our Father shows us, but each and every time we stray He relentlessly calls us back to Him and shows us incomprehensible grace and mercy.  When we understand the wildness of God’s never-ending mercy, we will be compelled to live it out in our own lives.

If we believe what the Bible says is true, we are made in the image of God and called to live like it in the world. It should change the way we view others and how we treat them. We all mess up daily and more often than not, we know when we have. Most of the time we don’t need someone else to tell us we have made a mistake, so why do we feel like we have to correct others when they mess up? Jesus, the one we are supposed to be modeling our lives after, didn’t throw the Bible at people and embarrass them when they were wrong, so why should we?

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 Bob Goff talks about the perfect example of this mercy in his new book, “Everybody Always.” When Mary visits the tomb after Jesus’ resurrection she thought Jesus was the gardener and rather than call her out or correct her, Jesus simply said her name, “Mary.” He simply showed her mercy. Should we understand Biblical doctrine, know what the Bible speaks to the world, and seek to live our lives for our Father’s glory? Absolutely, but we should be showing mercy as well. So the next time someone you know messes up, don’t correct them or make them feel bad about it, show them a little glimpse of the mercy God shows us every day. Don’t ration your mercy, give it away freely just as our Father abundantly gives it to us.

Is HIV actually still a problem?

“Is HIV actually still a problem?” This is the question I get asked more than anything else. I don’t fault the asker because it isn’t a problem we hear much about. But, as my friend Kevin Scott says, “The way we view things changes how we do things.” At CARE for AIDS, we can’t expect someone to respond generously or urgently to our work unless they have a right understanding of the state of this epidemic.

Each of my trips to Kenya seems to have a central idea that presents itself over and over again. In my recent trip, I was reminded constantly this disease has not lost its teeth as many might seem to believe. HIV still has the ability to strip a person of everything and reduce them to nothing. There are few things like it in the world. To lose your health, livelihood, marriage, and all social connections because of a disease is unfathomable, but it still happens everyday.

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I want to introduce you to Elizabeth. I sat in her home and listened, in disbelief, to the story of how her life just disintegrated around her. It was obvious she was highly educated because she spoke perfect English, and she had been employed at a local hotel. But, her employer suspected she was HIV-positive, so she was let go from her job. Due to an infection she contracted, she began to experience extreme weight loss, and at her lowest weight, she weighted 77 lbs. Her husband said he could not be with someone so sick and skinny, so he left Elizabeth and their two kids and married another woman. He was convinced she would die very soon. In a short time, she lost her health, job, marriage, and any semblance of dignity or value she had left.

I know this sounds like a bleak picture, but her story wasn’t over. Thanks to the attentive care from our staff, she has resolved any medical issues and has already gained 50 lbs. Unfortunately, her ex-husband, who was convinced of her imminent death, has already passed away. Her confidence is shaken to say the least, but she is learning who she is in Christ and what she is capable of with Him - two things she seemed to have forgotten.

Elizabeth’s story is not an isolated experience but representative of countless stories I’ve heard just like hers. This story is not meant to diminish the progress we have made in the fight against HIV globally, but a reminder that this ugly disease is alive and well in East Africa where many people are still suffering in silence. This disease and those living with it like Elizabeth still deserve our best attention and effort.

So, to answer your question, “Yes, HIV is still very much a problem.”

Imperfect

This morning's post is from CARE for AIDS intern, Anna Wilke. 


By now you have probably all seen Chris Pratt’s MTV Generation Award speech, I personally have watched it several times. Rule nine, the final rule in his speech, specifically stood out to me. It says, “Nobody is perfect. People are going to tell you you’re perfect just the way you are, you’re not. You are imperfect. You always will be. But there is a powerful force that designed you that way, and if you’re willing to accept that, you will have grace. And grace is a gift. And like the freedom that we enjoy in this country that grace was paid for with somebody else’s blood. Do not forget it. Don’t take it for granted.”

In this rule Pratt talks about grace and compares it to “the freedom that we enjoy in this country,” and just like men and women have laid down their lives in defense of the freedom of the people of the United States, Jesus laid down his life in order to ensure grace and freedom for everyone who believes in Him. When Jesus died for our sins, He gave us the freedom to choose the grace He has made available to us. When we choose to accept this gift of grace that our Father has freely given to us, we are cloaked in it and that is all God sees when He looks at us. He sees people cloaked in His grace as perfect, and that gives us freedom.

Our freedom in Christ is wholly dependent on His grace. The grace our Heavenly Father has given us allows us freedom from the eternal consequences of our sin. This grace gives us the freedom to forgive those who hurt us, and to love others unconditionally, things we could not do before. So as we approach the Fourth of July, a holiday devoted to celebrating the freedom we enjoy as a country, let’s remember the freedom we are freely offered in Christ.

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