September 20, 2012
This past year I got well acquainted with the song “Africa” by Toto because a friend of mine loved it and danced to it everytime it came on. Now, if you’ve ever watched the music video, it’s absolutely ridiculous, but the beat is contagious. I will admit I have joined in more than several times belting to the 70s rock song melody. When Justin called me in 2007, after their team returned from Africa that first trip, I remember him starting to vision cast something also quite contagious. He told me about Cornel and Duncan and their passion. He spoke of Kenyan churches and families and their hospitality. He said their team wanted to start a nonprofit that would support a ministry in Kenya for those with HIV/AIDS. So I joined the dance and began helping with paperwork and learning about what a 501(c)3 organization even was.
It’s been almost 5 years since CARE for AIDS became incorporated, and it’s amazing to see what God has done! When I spoke to Justin in 2007, I was also a college junior but studying at Georgia Tech here in Atlanta. Justin and I went to high school together at Landmark Christian School, and I knew to trust his leadership even from our experiences in high school. After helping with the initial start of CARE for AIDS, I became highly involved in a campus ministry at GT, Christian Campus Fellowship, and had the opportunity to travel to Spain and study Spanish and do college ministry there. I fell in love with the culture so much that I changed my major to International Affairs and Spanish and continued to grow my love for international cultures.
My passion has always been seeing individuals find hope and understand the incredible worth that God has created them to be. Post graduation, I began to work for a nonprofit in Atlanta, City of Refuge, directing the children’s program for children living in under-resourced communities, many homeless. I also began my Masters in Professional Counseling with a Trauma Specialization at Richmont Graduate University. In the past few years, I have met the most beautiful people with such stories of grace. When we truly listen, we will always hear the echoes of the divine.
And, my story has brought me back to CARE for AIDS. I have come on as the Operations Manager, continuing to be involved in the structure that Nick has built, including donations, communication work, social media, Impact trips and event planning. I’m so grateful for all I’ve been blessed to learn along the way. I now am able see behind the scenes on how work is being done, saving lives, but, as importantly, valuing healthy living. I’m so excited to continue to work for an organization that models dignity and respect to every individual with the love of Jesus Christ. The CARE for AIDS ministry follows such good practices of community development and understanding basic needs. Because of my passion for counseling and development, you’ll most likely hear more about how CARE for AIDS continues that compassion. And, of course, you should always check us out on facebook: CARE for AIDS and twitter: @CAREforAIDS.
On a personal note, I have had many a dream of going to Africa. I will get to experience my first taste of Kenyan culture in December, and I could not be more thrilled. Watch out, you may even see some dancing. “God bless the rains down in Africa.”