As most of you know, this October we are having our third annual gala. The theme this year is Up Close, and we are so excited to get up close and personal with stories of clients, staff members, families, churches, and entire communities that we serve in Kenya. One of my favorite parts of our program is how we see the ripple effect in almost every client’s life.
To understand how life altering this ripple effect can be, lets set the scene;Imagine you have lost your job. Your spouse has left you. Your family and friends have disowned you. You are left to live by yourself. Why? Because you have contracted a disease for which there is no known cure. A disease that your society despises and deems intolerable. Now imagine that none of this is your fault.
This scenario probably sounds familiar if you have ever been on one of our Impact Trips. It is the story of a majority of our clients- HIV + and excluded from community because of that devastating fact.
Now imagine that you have the opportunity to turn that all around. A church community embraces you, even though they know your status. Counselors and volunteers visit your home, showing the rest of the community that you are loved and valued. Can you even imagine the pure joy… after having been ostracized for so long, to have people embrace you and bring you in?
That joy and love will so easily overflow into your family- your children will see this new community and be part of it as well. Then neighbors begin to accept your family, the church embraces them as well, and before you know it, the entire community is stronger than it was before. Your life as an HIV+ man or woman, has actually changed your entire community. Someone who once was intolerable has now created a ripple effect that helps to tear down stigma and bring a community together.
This is the power of our program, and the power of the love of Christ. To take something that was once outcast, downtrodden and despised and to create good, love and strength!
I am so excited to spend the evening on October 17th talking about all of the ripple effects we have seen in the past year. I can’t wait to get up close and personal with CARE for AIDS clients, staff and families. Come and spend some time with us and get an up close look at this beautiful process!