Our mission at CARE for AIDS is simple but requires endless work and many hands. Our supporters are a huge part of all we accomplish.
Each client, staff member, and donor at CARE for AIDS is a unique and meaningful piece of our ministry, and together we make something truly great. We want to take the opportunity to spotlight a young couple that has mobilized their community to make a huge impact.
After their trip to Kenya in 2013, John and Kylie White began to rally their family and friends to support CARE for AIDS, and they have raised nearly $50,000 to support a center in Sinai. We sat down with them to hear more about their story.
How did you first get involved with CARE for AIDS?
We had been praying and researching organizations in Africa for 2 years. We were on a family mission to find an organization to get behind through giving, prayer, and going. God had put big buckets of shared passions (the unreached, marriage, and the orphan crisis) that were guiding our giving and serving, but they felt like three isolated passions. In 2013, a close friend invited John on an impact trip. He took our five-year-old son with him and came back raving about the organization. We then went later that year with our seven-year-old daughter and took some friends with us. We soon realized CARE for AIDS was a ministry weaving together all of our shared passions by serving the "untouchables" of the community, restoring the whole family and marriage relationship, as well as preventing hundreds of orphans through each center every nine months. It was an instant fit and completion to a three-year process of finding a place to plug in and invest as a family.
How did you decide to include your friends and community in supporting the center in Sinai?
After going twice, we realized God was calling us to support a center. Our first response was to put our heads down and cover the cost personally each year. After getting started, we realized that we were not engaging other families just like us who were looking for a place to serve and plug in. With a step of faith, we put the challenge of raising money for the center out to friends, family, and social media. Within weeks we were halfway funded, and a few short weeks later, completely funded for the year. It was amazing to see other families rally around the vision and get excited to plug their families into the heart of this mission. We even had a close set of friends, who traveled with us in 2013, step out and start to support their own center with their community. I realized how small my faith was to try and do it on my own and exclude so many others who were itching to get involved!
How do you involve your children in your giving?
We used to write a check to our church each month that the kids never saw nor understood the implications of. We decided as a family that we wanted to press beyond just check-writing to life-living with a partner ministry. We wanted our kids to experience God outside of America and to have their hearts and talents invested in a ministry. We realized we needed to take them, even at a young age, to experience what CARE for AIDS is doing. We wanted it to be a memory not a concept. For our first trip, our kids raised over $1,000 in one yard sale and two weeks of selling necklaces. For the trip we have coming up in 2015, our eight-year-old daughter is doing a presentation on CARE for AIDS and Kenya for her 3rd grade class, and the students will be writing encouraging notes to our first graduating class of clients at the center we support. It is such a blessing as a parent to see your kids' hearts pricked for the things God's heart beats for. They are tangibly loving and serving the "least of these" and taking their own initiative to pray and give of their own money to our family mission. I am so honored to have such an exciting adventure as a family for them to plug into.
What is your favorite memory of your trip to Kenya with CARE for AIDS?
One thing that has always stuck out to me was a comment made at a graduation we attended. The client said his diagnosis of HIV was like gold to him, because without it he wouldn't have met Jesus and had his life turned around from death to life through the program. It was such a reminder of how God uses our suffering for our good and for His glory. Another highlight was when we cooked dinner with a client family, seeing the kids rolling out dough as the adults cut vegetables and talked. The kids were running through the alley and playing tag. It was the most beautiful picture of community... it didn't matter that our family was American and theirs was Kenyan, we were just doing life together.
What advice would you give others who want to include their families and friends in their giving?
I would say put your "yes" on the table for God and take the next step. As we put our small obedience out there for God, He keeps expanding our influence and writing our adventure into His story. The more we said yes to each next step, the more joy we found. Step out, live a life that doesn't make sense to those around you. Find other families that want to be part of the journey! There are so many fun and creative ways to get involved with CARE for AIDS. We can think of no better legacy for our family than to have a mission and purpose to live out in front of and alongside our children. What a beautiful story God writes with our small steps of faith!