This morning’s post is from a two time Impact Trip participant and champion of the CARE for AIDS cause, Sarah Norton.
It is crazy to think how one night, and meeting one person (or in this case three), can change the trajectory of your life. In October of 2011 I had the privilege to hear the stories of Duncan, Cornel and Justin, and the overarching story of God working in Kenya through an organization called CARE for AIDS. Fast forward almost two years, and I have now been to Kenya twice to see first hand the lives that are being changed through CARE for AIDS.
Going to Kenya with CARE for AIDS was never going to be just that…a trip, an experience, an adventure…that I could check off my bucket list, or refer back to as “that one time when I was in Kenya.” God had a bigger plan for me; He had more to show me, more to teach me. God took me back to Kenya.
In June of this year, I headed back to Kenya with a team of six people for Impact Trip 2.0. The title of “trip leader” was a bit daunting to me, as I was just so grateful for the opportunity to go back to a place that is forever etched into my heart and soul. I graciously accepted the role, and had the opportunity to serve alongside some incredible individuals. I knew to expect great things based on my previous experience, but as scripture says, our God is able to do immeasurably more than we can hope for or imagine.
As we walked up the stairs to the CARE for AIDS office in Kenya on Saturday morning, I was anxious to see the faces that awaited us. Would some of the same people be there? Would they remember me? Our team joined the CARE for AIDS staff for their morning meeting and gave us the warmest of welcomes. Yes! There were some of the same people! And YES! They remembered me! And not only that, they were so happy to see me, “You came back! You remembered us!”
“You remembered us.” Here I was thinking they may not remember me, as they thought the same thing. How many times do we face something challenging or difficult, thinking there is no way we’ll ever forget. But as life happens, we get busy, distracted, or just older, we do forget. We forget the faces, the smells, the feelings; oftentimes we forget because they may not be pleasant memories. Victims of HIV/AIDS are often forgotten. Overlooked. Shunned. CARE for AIDS seeks out the forgotten. Not only are they not forgotten by their church and community and offered a chance at new life through knowledge, skills, and healing, they are not forgotten by their Heavenly Father Who offers new life through His Son.
Isaiah 43 is such a beautiful picture of how God has not forgotten us: Bring my sons from afar and my daughters from the ends of the earth—everyone who is called by my name, whom I created for my glory,whom I formed and made…See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland.
My hope and my prayer is that I will never forget those that I encountered in Kenya through CARE for AIDS; that God will use me to share their story that others may not forget them as well. He is at work, and has done a work in me through my time in Kenya.