“Why do you work for CARE for AIDS?” I get asked that question a lot. Most times it is accompanied by a somewhat quizzical look. I guess that people think a Vanderbilt degree would be better utilized in a more lucrative position or career. However, when I came out of school two years ago, there was only one place I could imagine myself working and that was with CARE for AIDS.
So, you may ask, “How did you know?” It started five years ago next week when I attended a conference in Chicago called the Willow Creek Leadership Summit. Basically, it is a conference that helps the local church be more effective here and around the world. That particular year, Bono gave a compelling interview about the church’s role in the global HIV/AIDS pandemic. I was there with a friend of mine Zach Fallon, and we were captivated by the presentation. Yet, at the end, we found ourselves asking, “But how?” “What can we actually DO about it?” So, with our youthful zeal and passion, we began to lay the groundwork for a trip to Kenya in the summer of 2007.
Nine months later, myself, Zach Fallon, and Josh Titus were on a plane going to Kenya with very little direction or purpose except we knew we wanted to capture footage surrounding the issue of AIDS as it relates to the local church. The short 5-minute documentary that resulted was hardly what we had envisioned, but God had other plans. Through God’s divine intervention, he had arranged, just weeks before our departure, for us to be escorted throughout Kenya for a month by two Kenyan guys, Cornel and Duncan. We didn’t know them from Adam at the time but a good friend of a friend spoke highly of their character and their interest in HIV/AIDS. Without knowing it, God had intersected us with the two men that would become the co-visionaries and future country directors for a new non-profit called CARE for AIDS.
If God hadn’t already done enough to bind my heart to this cause, I really believed two things to be true, and I saw these manifested in the vision of CARE for AIDS, and I still see them manifested today.
- First, if I really believed that the church was the hope of the world, then why would I not do everything in my power to make them more effective in their ministry? Why would I not resource them, train them, and equip them to reach more people with the good news of Jesus Christ. I saw CARE for AIDS as a unique opportunity to mobilize local churches.
- Secondly, Jesus came to heal the sick, feed the hungry, and help the orphans and widows. The people living with HIV/AIDS are all of the above, the outcasts and lepers of our generation. I know for a fact that if Jesus were alive today in the flesh, he would spend his time with these people. He would care for them and love them, and then ask them to come follow him. I wanted to be a part of a ministry that was imitating that same model, and I believe CARE for AIDS does just that.
So, people may still ask, “Why do you work for CARE for AIDS?” and I can say that I have been an eyewitness to lives and eternities being changed, and I couldn’t imagine a higher calling or a more challenging one for a 23-year-old guy from Atlanta, GA. I look forward to sharing more of my story with you in future posts.
In the meantime, you are going to hear the stories of a few other guys who God has handpicked to be part of this incredible story. Our team is going to take this first month of the new CARE for AIDS blog to answer the question, “Why am I a part of CARE for AIDS?” I hope the stories will encourage you, inspire you, and even move you to join in the CARE for AIDS journey with us.