My son, Justin, has a great job. He leads an organization called CARE for AIDS. He and his team partner with churches in Africa to minister to men, women and families devastated by HIV/AIDS. Not only is the work amazing – the story is too.
Justin was a college sophomore when he and a friend were attending the Global Leadership Summit. For those of you with children, I recommend you expose them to activities to expand their world at an early age. For Justin, I think the summit qualified. He could have been the youngest in the audience of 75,000 participating in the simulacast, but his relative youth was not a barrier to the message he heard that day.
Bono, from U2, and Bill Hybels challenged the audience to get in the game on the “single largest humanitarian crisis of our generation.” Stirred by the call, my son and a friend decided, despite their age, they needed to do something. They joined forces with another college buddy to do an exploratory trip. They raised enough support to spend almost a month in Kenya. During their trip, they interviewed men and women infected with HIV/AIDS, politicians, doctors, pastors and prostitutes. They were looking for a way to help.
The vision emerged to partner with Kenyan churches in areas where the infection rates were the highest. Their process involves partnering with a church that doesn’t use their facilities Monday – Saturday. The church building becomes the physical location for the clinic. Justin’s team does the rest – they find, train, manage and pay the staff. They assist clients with their physical, emotional and economic needs. They also do job training and provide spiritual counseling. They decided from the outset, they wanted to use a holistic approach – the slogan they’ve adopted is: Body + Soul.
The results have been staggering! More than 2000 clients have graduated from their program – a success rate of over 90%. Their stories have been rewritten thanks to CARE for AIDS.
These numbers are significant for several reasons: When Justin was asked what his group was doing about the orphan problem in Kenya, his response, “We’re trying to prevent it.” The typical graduate from the CARE for AIDS program gets more than a diploma and job training – they get an average of another 25 years of life. During those years, these men and women can raise their own children – keeping hundreds of orphans off the streets.
Another benefit of what CARE for AIDS is doing is the jobs they’re creating. Currently, Justin’s team employs 40 Kenyans operating 14 clinics. In a country with unemployment over 60%, this is no small accomplishment.
So, why am I telling you all of this? One of many challenges the CARE for AIDS team faces is raising the needed money to not only sustain their ministry, but to expand it. They’ve already identified 42 additional sites for centers. His team on the ground is ready to launch those centers – now. All he needs are the financial resources.
As you think about your year-end giving, would you consider making a contribution? It only takes $1,500 per month to run a center. That’s right – only $1,500. The goal is to raise $24,000 by year end to start a new center. If you’d like to make a donation, here’s a link to tell you more.
Imagine the joy of giving someone 25 years of life – think about how many stories could be rewritten by your gift… now that’s a Christmas present![GLS_Shield]
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