Hunger Heroes

Since 2013, CARE for AIDS and Feeding Children Everywhere have partnered together to provide hundreds of thousands of nutritious meals to clients of CARE for AIDS. This Saturday, YOU can join us in packing a quarter of a million meals for our clients in Kenya. 

Join us this Saturday for the CARE for AIDS Hunger Project at the Georgia World Congress Center in downtown Atlanta. Its not too late to sign up-- we want you to be a hunger hero! 

Witness

It has been a lifelong prayer of mine that God would make me a witness to his work. This prayer was overwhelmingly answered during my trip to Kenya last September. It is hard to believe it has almost been a year as the lessons God taught me are still so fresh in my mind. Those who know me have heard me say that this trip to East Africa changed my life, and that is nothing short of the truth. I believe my heart is in a better place and I have such a better understanding of God’s work through us on this Earth since returning.

Experiencing the Lord in Kenya was like experiencing the Lord for the first time. The raw emotion of watching our staff love and care for our clients in the CARE for AIDS program is something that has been imprinted on my heart forever. God taught me five specific lessons during and after my trip that I want to share with you.

Be bold

We all have comfort zones and going to Africa probably doesn’t fall within the parameters of many of them. Stepping out definitely seems scary and certainly comes with struggles but by stepping out of our comfort zones, it allows us to see just how much we can learn. All too often we go about life the same way, which results in us missing what God has for us. Immersing yourself in a different place, culture, and situation allows you to view things differently. My trip to Kenya taught me just how beautiful the world is, every nation, every tongue. God is working on this Earth and it was a blessing to experience his work in such a pure way. If I hadn’t have said “Yes” to his call, I would have missed one of my greatest blessings.

Reach the marginalized

I once heard it said that “Your love for God is permanently capped at the amount of love you have for the people in society who you like the very least.” There is an incredible stigma in Kenya against individuals with HIV/AIDS. The disease is viewed as a moral hazard and individuals who have it are often dismissed from their families and communities. While in Kenya I watched as our staff worked to identify these outcast individuals and care for them like no one else would. Our staff on the ground in Kenya are the absolute heroes of our mission and it was an incredible joy to watch them be the hands and feet of Christ reaching those who were the most marginalized in society, just like Jesus would.

Find your joy in the Lord

If there is an adjective I would use to describe the clients  I had the opportunity to spend time with, it would be Joyous. I think as Americans, we think that all people affected by poverty in Africa are sad, but it is quite the contrary. The individuals I got to know had such a spring of joy within them. It is clear that they found their identity, worth, and purpose in the Lord and did not allow their lack of possessions to stifle their faith. It was such a privilege to visit a few of our clients in their homes and I strive daily to remember their example of running fearlessly to God for every source of joy and fulfillment.

Worship unapologetically

While worshiping alongside the rest of our team with the members of the Gachie Deliverance Church in Nairobi, I understood Worship for the first time. I have always understood singing to praise the Lord and worship through studying his word, but this was different. Each person was absolutely filled with the spirit of Christ and worshiped him the best they knew how. The members of this church lifted every bit of talent the Lord gave them unapologetically. It was so refreshing to see a church body so focused on lifting their song that the pitch, tone, or technicalities of the music were not the primary focus - God was.

Treasure your time

If you have been to Kenya, you know how inevitable it is to get off schedule. Things moved slower, people talked more, and rushing to the next activity simply didn’t happen. It was evident that these people knew that time was a treasure and not to waste it worrying about what we were doing next, but to enjoy the present. Slowing down allowed me to witness the beauty of the country and it’s people constantly, prompting pauses to thank God for his love frequently throughout the day. Since returning home and adjusting back to a fast paced world, I try to slow down each day to remember my friends in Kenya and what they taught me about the treasure this life truly is.

I am forever thankful for Kenya and the affect it had on my life and cannot wait to return! If God is calling you to step out, I encourage you to join one of the CARE for AIDS Impact Trips in 2018. Seeing the work of CARE for AIDS first hand was such a privilege and allowed God to make me a witness to the great works he is doing in and through the Heroes of our mission in East Africa.

Lean

This morning's post is the third in a series from summer intern, Anna Wilke. 

Do you ever find it easier to have faith that God will answer the prayers of your friends and family than to believe that He will answer your own? I certainly do. I think it is a lot easier for us to have faith for others than it is for us to have faith for ourselves, and that is why it is so important for us to have deep, Christ-centered community.

Community is not just surface level friendships, community is knowing others and being known by them, community is encouraging and uplifting friends in times of need, community is a place to belong and be strengthened, and community ultimately pushes us closer to Jesus.  God has designed us to be in community with one another and we are better off as a result. We see examples of this community throughout Scripture from the Israelites, God’s chosen people, living and worshiping together, to the 12 disciples who not only lived in community with Jesus but were also surrounded and spurred on by each other. The Bible calls us to live in this same kind of community with other believers.

Community is life-giving and necessary for Christ-followers because we are better together than we are on our own. We are all smaller parts of one better whole: The Body of Christ. Romans 12:4-5 says, “For just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function, so in Christ we, though many, form one body, and each member belongs to all the others.” One of the main duties of the Body of Christ is to each other because we can not function on our own. We are to love, encourage, and spur on our brothers and sisters and often times this means lifting each other up in faith and prayer and reminding them that our Father is good even when they are hurting. We are called to “be devoted to one another in brotherly love” (1 Cor. 12:9).

Often times society tells us that we are better off on our own, that being completely independent is more admirable than relying on each other, but God has designed us to lean on each other as we experience the highs and lows of life. As we lean on God, He often answers our big and expectant prayers with other people. When we open ourselves up to these people our own faith can be strengthened. They are our people to lean on.  So let’s be the people that can sacrifice our pride and independence, the people who are there for each other, the people who lift each other up and encourage one another to be expectant. Let’s lean on each other.  

Our Father is Good

This morning's blog is the second in a series of three from our summer intern, Anna Wilke: 

In considering expectation, I think a common question is what do we do when we feel our prayers go unanswered? What happens when we feel we are waiting endlessly or in suffering and no one is listening? In these heartbreaking and difficult circumstances it is even more important to have faith in God’s character and the promises He has made.

First we must embrace that in His faithfulness God always hears and ultimately answers our prayers.  We are assured of this in 1 John 5:14. At times it is easy to miss an answered prayer because we find His answer disorienting. Circumstances can change, health can deteriorate, financial difficulties can arise, difficult relationships can develop. In situations like these we feel overcome with pain and confusion, but what could be happening is God is answering our prayers, we just expected the answer to look and feel differently.

There are many things we will never know on this side of Heaven because our understanding is sorely limited.  God’s knowledge is complete and in His infinite wisdom, He knows what is best for us. God answers our prayers with eternity in mind and we have to remember that He has a good plan and a purpose for everything in our lives.

Most importantly, we must have faith in the goodness of God and in His love for us. Our Father is good. He answers prayer from His eternal perspective with what He knows we need.  These answers may not always “line up” with expectations born of our limited perspective. Our Father loves us immeasurably and knows what is best for us. Our Father is good. Romans 8:28 says, “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose”. We have been assured that God is working for our good in all circumstances even if we don’t understand them. We must remember to keep our faith in the character and promises of our God beyond what we can see and feel. Our Father is good.

Expectation

This blog comes to us from our Summer Intern, Anna Wilke.

Recently, I have been thinking a lot about being completely confident in and expectant of God.  Our God is all powerful and surpasses our understanding and I think we forget that all too often. We lower our expectations of God to a level we can understand and when we do we leave very little room for Him to move in the miraculous. As the body of Christ we are called to know who our God is, to know that He is capable of more than we could ever ask or imagine, to trust that He has our best interest at heart, and to expect Him to move in our lives. 

As I think about expectation, I am reminded of the women in Mark 5 who touched Jesus’ robe and was healed. This woman had been bleeding for 12 years and the Bible says that she had been treated by doctors for years but her condition had only gotten worse, so when she heard about Jesus she knew if she touched Him she would be healed. When Jesus walked by her in a large crowd she pushed through the crowd, reached out and touched His robe and was immediately healed. When Jesus saw her He said, “Daughter, your faith has made you well; go in peace and be healed of your affliction.” She was freed from her suffering immediately and it was her expectation, her faith, and her pursuit of God with desperation that lead her there. This woman knew that Jesus was her only option and she expected Him to move in her life.  

Just like in this story, there were always large crowds around Jesus, but that didn’t mean anything. Those same crowds came and went, the same crowds just went home and later shouted “crucify Him,” because just being around Jesus didn’t change them.  You can be around Jesus and not receive anything, but it has nothing to do with Jesus because He is the Son of God in flesh, it has to do with our expectation. There were always people who stayed back and reached out to Jesus in faith and expectation, and those were the people who received something from Him. They were the ones who truly knew who Jesus was and were expectant of Him and they were the ones who were blessed. So instead of just being around Jesus, let’s be the people who reach out to Jesus is desperation and humility. Let’s pray big prayers and believe He will move in our lives because He is ready and willing to bless us. Let’s be expectant of our God.